It’s true! We don’t really pay as much attention to as we might: Effective therapy is not only about children and their relationship with themselves, but is also about their relationship with their parents (and vice versa.)
That’s why, as a pediatric behavior specialist, I measure success not only by how much better the child is doing, but how much better their parents are doing, too.
Healing relationships is at the heart of parenting and therapy.
In my book, The Parent-Child Dance: A Guide to Help You Understand And Shape Your Child’s Behavior (which was just published in a hard-copy edition (Feldheim) I write:
“Where there’s a child who is improving, there’s usually a more confident parent who is enjoying his or her child more. I also measure success by how much better the parents are doing, too. I know I’ve made a difference when a mom or dad tells me, “Before, when my child had a meltdown, I had a kind of meltdown, too. Now, even though the meltdowns are far less frequent, if my child does have one, I feel in control.” Most parents understand that the OT was partly for them, too. In fact, the entire family benefits. And I feel there is no work I’d rather be doing—it’s my mission.”
Nurturing The Parent-Child Relationship
Howard Glasser of The Nurtured Heart Approach™ writes that a benefit of the activities I teach in my book is “the strengthening of the parent-child relationship.” In order to strengthen that relationship, parents must feel good about themselves and their children.
Feeling good about your child and feeling confident that your parenting choices are working for you, doesn’t occur magically—and that’s a good thing. The fact that parenting skills can be must be learned, means you can let yourself off the hook for not being the perfect parent.
No one is born knowing how to remain calm when their child is having a major tantrum in a department store during the holiday rush.
No one automatically knows exactly how to deal with a child who is so sensitive that itchy socks can ruin her day.
Understanding what lies behind your child’s behavioral issues and learning techniques that can help you guide your child and improve his behavior is the key to having a healthier relationship with him.
I’ve described numerous techniques for helping your child—and helping yourself—in The Parent-Child Dance, but I also teach these and other techniques in my workshops* for teachers, therapists, and parents. In my workshops for parents, attendees have the chance to ask specific questions about their child’s behavior; then they have the opportunity to learn, through example and role-play, proven techniques that are designed to help with their child’s particular behavioral issues.
(An example of a workshop I did for HeadStart can be seen on my Youtube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5vKmePhiXw).
Whatever your child’s struggles, healing and growth depend not only on techniques and therapies, but on the heart of parenting, too.
Wishing you strong, joyous relationships,
*If you are interested in booking me for a workshop or talk, please contact me at Miriam@OTthrive.com. You can learn more about my book, The Parent-Child Dance, here: https://otthrive.com/new-book/