Uncommon Sense with Audrey Stephenson of Therapy Geek

Did you know that one of the key factors in children’s success, in terms of socialisation and confidence, is the happiness of their mother? Isn’t that wild? Or that language development and behavioural challenges are both impacted positively by the accessibility of the father?

I am regularly approached by people who want me to work with a child with emotional and behavioural challenges. Unless the child is suffering from trauma – in which case I will refer them to a specialist – I find that the key is to empower parents to learn new ways to support their children, and themselves.

With the numbers of those with ADHD skyrocketing and appointments for testing having long waiting lists, parents need support to recognise that they themselves are often the answer to helping their children.

This is not an atmosphere of blame – this is about learning to communicate with your child in a way that invites them to share what is really going on. So many of us were raised to ‘buckle down and get on with it’, and this means we don’t always have the right communication skills for our children in the modern world. It’s also true that most parents won’t have an appreciation of the developmental changes taking place in their child’s brain and what that means for behaviour and processing.

If you are comparing your child’s behaviour with how you were brought up, it’s likely that you will use your experience to interpret this as ‘behaving badly’. You may even feel that your child is being ungrateful or disrespectful in the way they behave and communicate. You’re not alone in this.

Remember that parents don’t have to be perfect. What we do need to do, however, is to be bigger than our children. We don’t have to pretend it’s easy, but we need to hold responsibility to face our fears, with support and compassion, and to address our own unmet needs. Doing this will mean that our children’s needs won’t infuriate and overwhelm us, and make us either resentful or overly accommodating. So stop holding your breath, drinking too much coffee and red wine, and speak to someone. We rarely get hurt, or heal, alone.

Contact Audrey Stephenson for a free consultation.