Parenting any child or youth can be an exhausting, full-time job for adults who want to guide their kid toward their greatest potential.
And if that child or youth joined the family through foster care or adoption, or if the earliest years of her or his life were troubled, then the challenges of parenting that child are significantly greater.
At House Calls Counseling, we have found that, most often, parents who have a child or youth who joined their family through foster care or adoption have to stop being just parents – they need to become therapeutic parents
. In other words, if they can shift their understanding and expectations of their child to include an understanding of how their trauma history is affecting their child, and an expectation that their child’s dysregulated behaviors are often an emotional expression that is related to that history, then parents can move toward bringing their child healing. They also can begin to feel like the successful parents they want to be for their child.
At House Calls Counseling we work hard with parents to help them make the shift from “parent” to “therapeutic parent” by helping them:
- Recognize, accept and manage their own emotional reactions to their child; and
- Adopt the “attitude” of SPACE: providing Safety, Support, Structure and Supervision, while being Playful, Accepting, Curious and Empathic.
We recognize that parents are human (no, really!), and that in the face of a child’s rage and dysregulated behavior, it is impossible to always be at their best. The goal as a therapeutic parent is just to keep working toward it. If parents regularly ask themselves the question: “Am I responding to my child in a way that is working to bring healing?” then they are on a path that can make a significant, positive difference to the life of their child. We at House Calls Counseling pride ourselves on helping parents achieve that goal.