“We Are Not Failures”

We Are The Parents of a Very Difficult Child

 All too often, as a result of perceived failure, parents lose sight of their own strengths. When this occurs, doubt develops about overall competency to manage life’s events, stress and anxiety, setting the stage for guilt, shame, blame and obsessive worrying. Long term effects of these stressors can result in potential illness, health problems, addictions, mental illness, substance abuse, sleep disorders, anxiety disorders and many other mental disorders.

The following thoughts speak to these very hurtful and harmful feelings.

Your Parenting Skills are Stronger Than you Think

1)    In all likelihood, your parenting skills are as strong, if not stronger than parents of children who do not present challenge. You are skillful in the strategies that you have developed for the purpose of allowing life to move as smoothly as possible. Your efforts, however, frequently appear to be ineffective based upon the strong needs of your child and the anxiety, stress and behavioral problems which ensue.

Disappointing Yourself is an Indicator That Your a Parent who Truly Cares

2)    When faced with unreasonable demands over a long period of time, on frequent or infrequent occasions, you may act in a fashion below your own expectations for yourself. The fact that you recognize that you are disappointing yourself and the fact that you feel upset are indications of the true level of effectiveness of your parenting and your true caring for your child. You need to be aware that your child is resilient. It’s the compound of your positive actions over time that will negate your occasional outbursts, frustrations and lack of patience.

Encourage Yourself and set Reasonable Goals

3)    Just as we need to encourage our children to set reasonable goals, we need to encourage ourselves and set reasonable goals. We are not perfect people – and we will not be perfect parents. We all blow it in one way or another – stress, depression and anxiety, all weigh heavy upon our mental health to some degree or another. Family health, family preservation and family wellness all depend upon our flexibility and resilience to day-to-day events, actions, stress and anxiety. When our imperfections arise, we can recognize them, apologize, and go on to new strengths, new days and stronger family health and wellness. If we model goal-setting, if we model true concern, and if we model true apology, our children will learn valuable lessons for their lives and grow into competent achievers who can then model appropriate behavior to their own children and family.

– by Frank Doberman, PhD

Dr. Frank Doberman is Co-Founder of Karner Psychological Associates (KPA) and is a leader in the fields of clinical psychology, is a Licensed Psychologist, Certified in School Psychology, Educational Administration and is a regular contributor to News 10 WTEN.

Copyright © 2011 Karner Psychological Associates | All Rights Reserved.