Children are such a blessing and every parent wants to give their child the best upbringing possible. It is extremely challenging to not let our own issues negatively affect how we respond to our children. This is because children internalize the responses of their parents. This causes a pattern of relating that can go from one generation to another. This is called the intergenerational transmission of parenting responses. This means that the way your parents related to you can form an ‘internal model’ that creates automatic impulses to respond the same way to your child.
Improving your parenting skills will inevitably involve ‘re-parenting’ yourself in order to increase your self-understanding of maladaptive internalized patterns of relating that you grew up with, and address the unmet needs you have from your upbringing. Without this step, just learning parenting skills would be like swimming upstream against the current. This is not to say that parenting skills are not useful – they are, indeed – and sometimes this is all that can be done if re-parenting and therapy is not feasible (or possible). Re-parenting oneself is often a significant part of psychotherapy in one form or another, and can be addressed in individual counselling sessions too.
The way that a parent relates to their child during early development is particularly impactful at this stage. Learning parenting skills for how to relate to a child that fosters their self-esteem, self-agency, competence, and motivation are essential. Core parenting skills that Wellspring teaches can be applied to many situations, so you can use these at any stage of your child’s development providing that you change up your style in how you deliver it to match their age.
In Parenting sessions at Wellspring, some of what you will learn includes:
- How to better deal with misbehaviour;
- How to connect with your child so that your child ‘feels felt’;
- Gain an experiential understanding of your child’s point of view so that you can have greater authentic and natural empathy when they ‘misbehave’;
- How to ‘talk’ your child’s emotional brain through the difficulty that they are experiencing so that your child develops a better self-understanding of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, and forms the ability to walk themselves through their own challenges in the as they develop. This will serve them greatly in the years to come because the basic skills learned early on will be applicable at a fundamental level no matter what the situation is.
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, by Daniel J. Siegel