Hollywood, books and Pinterest has made it seem like parenting is easy. Parents know exactly what to do and how to do it and their children are thriving all the time. In reality, parenting is a confusing guessing game with all of us just floundering around praying we get it right. And it only gets more confusing the older they get. Sometimes, things aren’t as clear cut as they make it out to be in the parenting book. But no matter how hard or confusing things may get, let me quickly remind you that you are doing an amazing job. Occasionally, you might just need a little backup in the professional sense.
When I first took my eldest to a professional, she was five, and I felt like the biggest parenting failure. I had multiple people ‘suggesting’ I seek professional help to help settle her down. It was hard and I put it off for a long time as I didn’t see anything ‘wrong’ with my child. Sure, she was loud and a little wild, but what 5-year-old wasn’t? I was a young mum at the time and didn’t realise that being a perfect parent meant perfect for us, not society. After five minutes talking with our psychologist, it became one of the best decisions in my life.
If you have made the decision to visit a professional, it can be a very daunting and overwhelming experience. It isn’t only daunting for you child, but for you as well. There are a lot of questions, nodding and deep emotional diving. It is all a lot to process and honestly, the first visit leaves you reeling (in a good way) Just remember that the most important thing is to find the right professional for you and your child… and to remember that you aren’t alone or a failure in seeking help to support your child.
A friend of mine has 5 children under 8. Her eldest has always had a little anxiety. Having anxiety herself, she picked up on the signs early and set a routine to help her daughter through anxiety attacks. However, after the last year of being in lockdown and isolated for so long, her child’s anxiety, like many other children, has reached a whole new level and suddenly my friend didn’t know how to help. It left them both feeling overwhelmed and incredibly stressed to the point of breaking out in screaming matches as a daily occurrence. She sought out professional help. I am happy to announce that after four sessions, it has been 19 days since an anxiety induced screaming match and a new routine is in place working wonders.
Another friend of mine struggled for years to help her now 10-year-old ease his fears, worries and high-strung emotions. No matter what she tried, nothing would help him calm down when his emotions went into overdrive. She was at her wits end and out of ideas when another friend suggested she seek professional help. She comes from a background where asking for help was frowned upon and hesitated. After an incident at school, she gave in and found the perfect professional for them. I am again pleased to say that the three of them have worked out the perfect program to help him ease his fears and identify all the emotions he was feeling. Some of the techniques they use are also found on our app including the wheel of emotions and the stepladder approach.
If that doesn’t help lessen your own anxiety about seeking professional help, maybe this will. I spoke to 28 mums and dads. 25 of them sort out professional help to help their children. And out of those 25, all report back that the stresses their children were having and what they were struggling to help with, are easing and that going to a professional was a great choice. It may seem stressful and scary, but the outcome can be incredibly rewarding and worth it.
Our Parenting BackPack App was designed by psychologists and partnered with over 1000 parents to help you and your child. It is like having your very own pocket professional companion to help between visits to your professional. It offers easy to follow resources, with both audio for on-the-go moments and activities you can enjoy with your children in the comfort of your own home.
Parenting is a long and often hard journey. Make it a little easier on yourself by having a little backup. After all, as the great Nigerian quote states that, ”it takes a village to raise a child.’
Think of us as a helpful neighbour. Enjoy your week. Smile, breathe and remember that you rock when it comes to parenting.
Written with experience & empathy by Casey Luxford