Every generation probably says this, but it sure feels like parenting has gotten harder than ever these days. Changes in technology, education, communication, extracurricular scheduling, and other realms create challenges that our parents simply didn’t face when we were kids.
Yet, in the wake of these changes we find ourselves doing things we swore we’d never do when we became parents. Fortunately, while we may be facing challenges our parents never faced, in our efforts to raise responsible kids we also have at our disposal a knowledge base and awareness of social-emotional tools not widely understood in years past.
- Behavioral problems
- Ineffective consequences
- Physical outbursts
Counseling and Parent Coaching
Whether it’s toddler tantrums, homework struggles, teenage rebellion, or any number of battlefronts, effective, common sense strategies are available for regaining control over your household, teaching children to be responsible, and preparing them to thrive in the real world.
For example, most parents understand that consequences are essential for children to learn from their mistakes. However, identifying enforceable consequences that foster positive behavior instead of increased defiance can be more difficult than expected. Sometimes it’s the parent’s tone of voice that renders a consequence ineffective. For example, losing our temper not only sends the message, “I can’t handle you!” but also a message that “I own this problem more than you do.” (For more on the messages we send to our children through our own behavior as parents, check out our blog post called “Kids Need Convincing.”)
Learning how to use enforceable consequences effectively, hand the ownership of problems back to our kids so they can solve them, and provoke thinking rather than fighting takes time, patience, and often a little coaching for parents. Our therapists have years of experience working with parents to tailor strategies to meet the unique needs of your family.
The opportunity to influence emotional intelligence
But it’s not just about behavior and consequences. Parents have a tremendous opportunity to influence their children’s emotional intelligence, which research shows plays a big part in success throughout life. Emotion regulation is essentially making the transition from one emotional state to another successfully – like from frustration to contentment – and understanding that emotions have a sense of direction, signaling needs which can then be satisfied.
Emotional intelligence is not only important for social relationships, intimate bonds, and mental wellness, but also for the self-control and executive functioning necessary for academic achievement and perseverance toward long-term goals.
Trying to cajole a child to keep their nose to the grindstone and muscle through is often met with resistance, actually pressuring the child’s mind to fight against itself, increasing stress hormones, prematurely aging immune cells, all with minimal effectiveness. However, strengthening emotional traits like gratitude, compassion, trust, and generosity fortifies the brain’s ability to sacrifice, delay gratification, and value the future, slowing the heart rate, reducing anxiety and depression, and easing the way toward patience, perseverance, and success. Parents can help their children with this through emotional coaching and modeling, and our therapists can help parents attain the skills needed to do so.
- Emotional coaching
- Effective consequences
- Enforceable communication
- Promoting thinking rather than fighting
- sharing control through choices
- Guiding children to solve their own problems
- Teaching responsibility
- Modeling self-control and empathy
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Recommended readings on relevant topics straight from your therapist
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Andy Young, LCPC
Jessica Young, LCPC
Brooke Greco, LCSW
Laura AllenLCPC, BC-DMT
Our highly qualified, licensed therapists have over 20 years experience helping individuals and families.