Family Counselling. I am a counsellor providing specialist treatment for children and young people, adults, couples and families who experience painful losses. I help people recover from childhood trauma and I strengthen families and couples who are interested in finding another way of being with each other. I help people understand the true meaning behind their behaviour thereby replacing unhelpful judgements and speculation that may have existed in the past with authentic knowledge that brings compassionate understanding and harmony to all lives.
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In my blog today I m writing about parenting. Sometimes parents find it difficult to agree on how to parent the children they share.
For a variety of reasons every parent feels they know best how to look after their children and for a variety of reasons when the other parent disagrees, or parents in a way that conflicts with the first parent’s values, problems can arise that can seem insurmountable and frightening, particularly when they appear early on in a couples parenting life.
There are some Golden Rules to remember and working out a way forward is definitely possible.
Firstly, let us say at the outset that some behaviour towards children is unacceptable. Shouting, shaming, threatening, physical intimidation (either threatened or acted out) are always wrong and I assume that you, dear reader, are clear in your own mind what constitutes unjustifiable and dangerous methods of behaviour modification.
In short, there is an ocean of research that shows the physical and emotional damage corporal punishment, shame and any other kind of behaviour modification based on threats or intimidation, causes to a child.
If you want your children to grow up happy, flexible, relaxed, able to sooth themselves when they are feeling upset, then remember to teach them with compassion and with boundaries. Remember also that you are raising the next generation and the values and principles you show and demonstrate to them will be taken into the future by your children.
Back to our Golden Rules I spoke of earlier.Possibly the most important golden rule is to be committed to working through your issues with each other as parents and where ever possible do not involve other family members in your discussions.
When sides are taken it can be very hard at a later date, when the children have grown up and left home, to work through the damage caused to your relationship when one person’s family disagrees with the other person’s way of parenting. Resentment and judgements take a long time to work through and people feel wounded if they believe that they have been spoken about harshly behind their backs.
As far as working through these issues goes, my approach has always been to bring parents together to enable dialogue and to enable an understanding of each person’s position in a way that allows for compromise by each partner without each partner feeling compromised.
Further, it is essential to develop, between the two parents, a model of being that shows that in spite of the differences in their parenting styles, (one may be less lenient with screen time than the other for example) what really matters is that they respect and love each other enough to brush aside these differences and stand as one in the eyes of the children, relaxed and comfortable with the other’s way of being.