By Megan Yarnall, MA, MFTC, LPCC
Every day is busy, whether you have one child, or three children, or more. It can be difficult to schedule in time for yourself, or dedicate the money to yourself instead of your kids. However, what happens when parents don’t make time for themselves? In fact, much of the work that we do with teenagers ends up involving their parents, whether that means family sessions or parent sessions.
This happens for a few reasons, but one of the most important is that a family is a system. One family member’s behavior, whether parents or siblings, affects everyone else in the family, visibly or not. Family members feel each other’s stresses, take on each other’s joys and worries, and celebrate one another’s successes. Therapy for a struggling or stressed teenager is helpful, but counseling for parents is just as important.
The ways that a parent’s counseling can help a child are plentiful, but most focus around one thing: when you are taking good care of yourself, it better enables you to take care of your children. Let’s look at a few reasons why.
- If you put in the work to take care of yourself and understand your behavior, priorities, goals, and emotions, your child will have a great role model to learn from at home.
- If you are clear on your values and priorities, you can better decide how to effectively teach these to your children.
- Examining your own behavior or anxieties can help you better understand your children’s behavior, motivations, and thinking.
- Challenging your perspective as a parent and exploring the lived experience that create your values can help you understand your child’s position and experience in order to better relate to them, relieving tension and making room for negotiation, fair play, respect, and a closer relationship.
- When we’re stressed, we all tend to have a shorter fuse. By better understanding your stressors, you can work with your child with more patience and feel more comfortable talking about emotions with them.
Parent counseling is not about looking at your children’s behavior or how to change what they are doing – instead, it gives you the time and space to explore your values and how you can use those to direct your parenting and understand what kind of support your children need. When a parent can give a meaningful response that acknowledges emotions and experience, rather than saying “because I said so,” parents and children can better relate.
If you have questions about why counseling for parents is just as important as therapy for teenagers, or are interested in your own therapy as a parent, please reach out to us. We’d love to chat!
Learn more on our Counseling Services for Parents page