Talking to Your Child

Originally, my goal was to write a blog weekly, but it is not realistic for two reasons. First, I want this blog to be meaningful. I do not want to write to just to write. This became evident as I sat in front of my computer trying to force something out. Second, I have a demanding schedule and finding time weekly is a lot. So my new commitment is to blog at least once a month and any over is just extra.

talking parent

So for February I want to focus on communicating with your child. From the #MeToo Movement to the Florida school shooting, children are being exposed to a lot via the media. First and foremost, as a parent you first have to use active listening. Most people listen long enough to react instead of waiting to hear the person out, and then form a response. This also means not engaging in another activity while they are talking. And using nonverbal signals to show that you are engaged in what they are saying.

Second, reflect back what they stated to make sure that you got a clear understanding of what they are trying to say. This gives your child an opportunity to correct any wrong perception prior to you potentially making a quick judgment.

Third, ask questions for clarification and shows that you really were paying attention. Not to mention it gives clarification, point two.

Fourth, give them the reasons behind your answer. I grew up in the era of “Because I said so!” Children will accept a negative response better if they first are heard, and second they can have some type of understanding of your reasoning.

Fifth, do not ignore their questions just because you are uncomfortable with the topic. You would rather your child get answers from you then from their friends or the internet. You are also able to control what they learn first. If you need advice on how to approach the topic, schedule a later time to talk and then research.

And sixth, if you find that your child needs more assistance understanding the subject, seek out a professional to help. There have been a number of times I see a client who states they have been asking for therapy for months/years. No child is going to ask for therapy just for fun.

I hope these suggestions are helpful for you talking with your children. Feel free to ask any questions.

How to Support the Healing of Your Child

I am apart of a powerful women’s entrepreneurial group where we read a book and have a discussion about the impact the book had us. Our first book is Iyanla Vanzant’s Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What Your’re Going Through. This book is an autobiography where Iyanla explores her past trauma and the generational pathology of her family. One of the questions posed by one of the group members was “which adult from Iyanla’s childhood we thought was in the best position to protect her and make everything alright.” My response to the question was  “The adults in her life were not in a position to make everything right as they had never dealt with their issues and trauma. I run across so many families who want us (therapists) to “fix” children when the real issue is the parents. And when I say the real issue is the parents, I mean they have never dealt with their issues and that effects the way in which they parent continuing the passing down of generational issues.” Her response to me was “I see! Wow. Heal the parents which would enable them to support the healing of the child.” I thought, “Exactly! Somebody gets it!”

The first step to caregivers helping their children through issues that require therapy is to first deal with their own issues. One of the statements I make to the parents of the children I treat is “In order for me to help your child, you have to be a part of the treatment. That means there may be times when you have to meet with me alone where we may have to address things from your past that are impacting your relationship with your child. I cannot help your child without also helping you.” Many caregivers do not realize how their past issues have seeped into their current relationships and coping. Ignorance is not bliss! Ignoring what has occurred in your past is the breeding ground for pathology.

Caregivers for the benefit of the children you are raising, please face the issues from your past. Therapy is not for “crazy people” as it has been stigmatized in the past. Therapy is for everyone who is willing to face their past and want to change.

Man and woman holding hands at a table

Close up on a man and a woman holding hands at a wooden table

Connected and Unstoppable

So I haven’t wrote a post in a long time. The title of this post sums up my current feelings. On Friday I attended the monthly supervision meeting where my director asked each person to talk about the most recent time they felt connected. At first I could not come up with anything because for the past month and a half I have felt disconnected. My 2015 ended with a tragedy, the death of one of my nephews. Due to taking care of the arrangements and my family I did not have a chance to grieve myself. I came back and jumped back into work as usual. Forunately those closest to me knew that I needed to take time to grieve. By the time I was able to schedule a weekend by myself I was run down and ended up sick. So I spent that weekend and the rest of January sick. Hence the feeling of being disconnected. At the beginning of February I started to come around and feel alive again. I was able to come up with a  story during the meeting which was a relief, but as I write this I realize that maybe I was never really disconnected. Everyone deals with grief differently and for me I withdraw and throw myself into my work. Yes I know as a therapist it is not healthy, but it is my truth. I am greatful for the connection that I have with those close to me that they are willing to confront me and make me take care of myself. So I was never really disconnected after all.

Just when I feel like I can breathe life happens again. So yesterday I was awaken to find out that my uncle died. As stated above, I usually retreat but my Little from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program had contacted me and stated that she needed to see me. So I do what I do best suck it up and go. And I am glad that I went. I love that child and spending time with her gives me pure joy. But I began feeling down and went home and got in bed. I had two events to attend last night but as I laid there I started to try and talk myself into not going. But then I thought about how much I missed over the past month and a half and decided that I could not hide away for any more time. So I pushed and I went to both events The first event was the Unstoppable CD release put on by the lovely Danyelle (side note check out her CD if you love Christian Hip Hop). And boy am I glad I went! Talk about a God encounter! The Lord had a word for me from the moment the event began to the moment it ended. Danyelle’s song Unstopable spoke to me. The song talks about realizing that you are unstopable with God on your side. No mattter what comes my way I make the choice to get back up. No matter how many times I fall I will make the choice to get back up. It is hard but I can’t stop, won’t stop. I am unstoppable! Thank you Danyelle for that word and more.

So as I finally mentally start 2016 I am reminded that I am never disconnected from those that are closest to me and no matter what happens I am unstoppable because God is on my side!