Parenting is one tough job.
Even under the best of circumstances, raising a child isn’t always easy. When your child is struggling with difficult, challenging, or worrisome behaviors, parenting gets even harder. Many parents begin to feel isolated, and it can be hard to know what to do or where to turn for help.
Parents who are raising children with challenging behaviors commonly feel:
- Constantly stressed
- Like they are walking on eggshells around their child
- Helpless or ineffective
- Difficulty enjoying or connecting with their child
- Increased strain on their marriage or other significant relationships
You can get through this.
Trying to help your child with challenging behaviors can be exhausting, and it’s not unusual to feel frustrated and alone. Often, traditional parenting techniques don’t work well for children with difficult behaviors, and finding the right kind of help can be hard. But you don’t have to struggle alone. Compassionate, non-judgmental counseling can give you the support and help you need.
Why are my child’s behaviors so challenging?
There are many reasons children struggle with challenging behaviors, and it can be difficult to determine the causes of these behaviors. They could be struggling physically, emotionally, socially, or academically, or having difficulty adapting to big changes, such as a new baby, moving, divorce, or a significant loss. Experiencing or witnessing abuse, neglect, or any other kind of trauma at any time in their life can bring on a variety of challenging behaviors. Medical problems, sensory processing issues, and mental health concerns can also cause difficult behaviors to appear.
Talking to someone is not always easy, and you may have questions or concerns.
Things are pretty rough. I’m worried you won’t understand or will think I’m a bad parent.
It’s hard for many people to understand what it’s like to raise a child who has challenging, difficult behaviors. It’s a lonely, tiring place. But I get it because I have been there. Not for one minute will I think you are a bad parent. Not for one minute will I think you are uncaring or that there is something wrong with you because you feel frustrated or at your wit’s end. You are a loving parent trying to do the best you can for your child under difficult circumstances. Getting support for yourself, especially when things are rough, can be helpful to you and allows you to give your best to your child.
Why does parenting my adopted child feel so different?
Parenting a child who has experienced early childhood trauma and loss, such as adoption, is unique and complicated. Parents often say it’s just…different. Family, friends, and other parents don’t always get what it’s like. Social activities, like attending church or going to birthday parties, can be overwhelming. School is stressful and frustrating. It’s hard to get a break.
When a child experiences trauma, they develop skills which help them survive the immense fear and overwhelm of those experiences. Those same survival skills, however, can be easily triggered, even after months or years of living in a safe, loving home, and can cause difficulties at home or school. It can be confusing and disheartening to see your child, who is now in a safe environment, continue to melt down, become violent, withdraw, or space out.
It’s important to know that helping your child heal means you are regularly exposed to their past trauma, which can put you at risk for developing secondary or vicarious trauma or Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Additionally, some 65% of adoptive parents are affected by Post-adoption Depression, which can cause sleep difficulties, irritability, moodiness, crying spells, and difficulty concentrating. If you have any concerns about your mental or emotional health, counseling can help you sort through these concerns and identify options for finding some relief and healing.
But you don’t work with children, so how will counseling help?
Though I don’t work with children, what I can offer is a break from the stress and overwhelm and an opportunity to receive compassionate support and encouragement. Many parents find that setting aside time for counseling allows them the chance to fill their own emotional gas tank. Caring for yourself is essential, especially when raising a child with challenging behaviors, and you don’t have to struggle alone.
And here’s something else: What if all of the difficulties and challenges you are going through could actually be making you a stronger and more resilient parent and person? What if parenting your child can help you discover strengths and gifts you didn’t even know you had? Without minimizing the difficulties, we can work together to help you figure out not just how to survive, but how to thrive and grow.
How often will I need to come in for counseling?
It depends. Everyone is unique, and everyone wants and needs something slightly different from counseling. Some people like the flexibility of occasional sessions, as needed, during particularly difficult times. Others prefer ongoing counseling for regular support and to work through deeper issues making parenting more challenging. We’ll work together to figure out what works best for you.
I’ve been there
I understand what you are going through because I’ve been there. I really, truly get what you are going through. And I know how helpful it can be to talk to someone who genuinely understands how tough things can get.
What’s the next step? What are my options?
If you are ready to begin counseling, you can give me a call to discuss some of the difficulties you’ve been struggling with, and we will both have the opportunity to determine if we are a good fit.
If you aren’t quite ready to begin counseling yet or if you would simply like to get more information and updates, I welcome you to download my free e-books or sign up on my blog to receive regular, occasional information from me via email.
Questions? Please feel free to contact me at (830) 613-1650 or by email.