Parental Guidance and Support

MomDadSonBecoming a parent is a significant developmental milestone in the life of an adult. As often said, “Your life will never be the same again.” I have found that one’s love and devotion for their child offers great motivation for an adult to grow in ways they may have never thought possible. The responsibility to mold a new life is both exciting and scary for most of us.

Our goal in handling everyday situations with our children is to be a “reflective parent.” A reflective parent is one who acts and makes decisions based upon the individual needs of the child and not upon their own impulsive emotions. Our children can often be triggers for hot button issues from our own past that we have not fully resolved. We can also unconsciously use our children as a means to express dissatisfaction with our co-parent (for e.g., I think my spouse is too strict with our child, so I overcompensate by being overly permissive or vice versa). Reflective parents recognize these over and under reactions and can put them aside to make the best decision for their child and family based upon the reality of the situation.

The following are examples of topics that I can help parents sort out:

  1. Developmentally appropriate expectations for their child. Is what you are expecting of your child realistic, based upon where he/she is in their developmental progression?
  2. How to understand and manage developmentally expected challenging stages and behavior (e.g., “terrible two’s, puberty, teenage years). For children with special needs, I can help parents sort out how the neurobiological challenges of the child interface with these developmentally expected periods.
  3. How to talk to your child about difficult topics such as strangers, loss/death, adoption, fears, separation/divorce, bullying, puberty, sex, etc. in a developmentally appropriate manner.
  4. Help the parents work as effective partners in parenting their children. This is crucial for a child’s emotional/relational development.
  5. How to prepare a child for a new sibling and integrate the younger child into the family.
  6. Managing relationships with extended families and setting boundaries you are comfortable with.
  7. How to handle screen time. What is reasonable for your particular child?
  8. Making time for oneself and the couple, given the demands of work and children.