Parenting Support

I would like to offer a safe and supportive space for you to share your parenting hair pulling moments. This space is for any challenging moments with your children that you would like to reflect on, to gain a better understanding and maybe find a different way to manage the situation. Please join me, and other supportive, non-judgemental parents on my Facebook Group ‘Compassionate Parenting UK’

Do you find yourself snapping at your family or finding yourself wanting to escape anywhere? The toilet will do! Do you sometimes feel rage, anger, and other overwhelming feelings? You know you want to be kind, supportive and always there for your children but sometimes it feels like you are at breaking point?

I have found myself experiencing mummy guilt after losing my calm. In the circumstances, I think good enough parenting is enough. At first, I was trying to be creative, calm, attentive etc. I’m still trying my best to be those things, but it is hard. Screen time has definitely increased, and my creative/crafty ideas have dwindled. I don’t know how many times I’ve said ‘I’ll be with you in a minute, I’m working sweetie’. I’ve had to take the pressure off where possible, we have enough stress to cope with don’t we?

It’s hard not to compare, especially with social media. It’s easier to walk our own path with our families than try to walk in the shoes of other families. Each of our situations are unique to us. 

I’ve found myself juggling childcare, trying to build my business following the corona crash and trying to make my new home feel liveable! I feel like I’ve been working harder than ever! I know I’m not alone with this. 

As a nice little over share – I have a horrible eye sty and a cold sore to thank for all the stress. More self-care required!

Babies cry and sometimes you do not know why, toddlers can hit, shout, wee themselves, hold their breath, ignore you. Older children can withdraw, ignore, and refuse. Teens can be a whirlwind of emotions and often a disconnect in your relationship occurs. 

All these evoke a response from you and its often difficult to stay calm and kind. Sometimes we can react with anger or frustration and this often leads to bad feeling, loss of control and an escalation of the situation. Firstly, give your reaction some thought. What was your childhood like? How did your parents respond? How did that make you feel? How has your day, week, month been? Do you need some support or space? Its ok to take 5 minutes before you respond. Your children can reflect on a situation from as young as 2 years old! 

Sometimes, it’s really useful to take a moment to think about what your child is asking for. 

Yes, they are trying to get your attention, yes, they are trying to find some control in a situation, but they are not attention seeking or naughty. If they are labelled with these terms, they will internalise this belief. They are asking for something. The most likely reason is that they are asking for connection. With you! Their safest person. The person that they look to for guidance, support, and empathy. Sometimes this is hard when you are experiencing your own emotions, exhaustion or other difficult experiences. 

Firstly, ensure that you have some support. Do you need a break, can someone help with this? Do you need a space to talk things through? 

The next step is to try to understand your child behaviour, thoughts, or feelings – Why might this behaviour be happening? Reflect on your connection. What has changed recently? How much time do you spend together without any other distractions? Do they need some suggestions or emotional support? 

Even if you stop what you are doing for 1-10 minutes to go over to them and ask ‘how are you? Would you like to show me what you are you doing? Can I join you? I love you, could I have a hug? 

Connect before they start to feel a disconnect. Look out for the early signs. You know your child, and you can tell when they need you. Sometimes we just need to translate their request and talk about the behaviour, rather than punish the child. Your first response might be ‘not again!’ Or ‘what are you doing’ ‘stop being naughty’ or ‘don’t do that’ but before you respond. Ask yourself, when was the last time we did something fun, loving or creative together, do they need something? Ask them!

If you connect with them, they will know you are there and interested. They will feel secure in the knowledge that they can ask you for anything and they will not get into trouble. They will not act out as much. You will all feel more relaxed. If they do act out, it is an opportunity to learn together, a moment to reconnect and work together to find out what has caused the situation. Not a moment to punish or blame. Punishment and blame can create a disconnect in your relationship and communication, and your child may withdraw from you. 

It is undeniably hard at home at the moment for everyone, especially those of us with children. We are all adjusting and trying to find ways to cope with what is going on. Be kind to yourself, your children, and your relationship. 

If you are finding alcohol more tempting during this time, if you feel you’d like some non-judgmental support around this, or you’d like some more information about what we offer then please visit www.FreeSpiritsRecovery.co.uk 

Here are some gentle parenting books to help you feel empowered as a parent and learn to feel more compassionate towards yourself and your family. 

  • Love Bombing – Oliver James
  • Nurture Shock – Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman
  • The Gentle Parenting Book – Sarah Ockwell-Smith
  • Unconditional Parenting – Alfie Kohn

Join me on Facebook @alisonsoncounselling on my group @‘compassionate parenting uk

Or if you would like some 1:1 sessions with me please contact me on info@alisonncounselling.co.uk

Published by alisonhollingshead

I am a BACP registered counsellor, psychotherapist and supervisor based in Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme, and online.

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