Help!  I’m a Struggling Parent

I remember giving birth to all three of my babies as if it were yesterday.  It’s amazing how time flies by.  Dealing with newborns, shopping, constant washing and toddler tantrums.  I was resolved to the idea that this was my life now.  I didn’t resent any of it.  It’s just that I had no idea of how difficult parenting would be.Baby Feet  Thinking back to the days, before I became a parent.  I was working 5 days a week, 9-5.  Counting down the hours to 5pm, when I could finally go home.  I was truly knackered at the end of the day.

At the time, I never gave it a second thought, let alone appreciated the fact that when my shift finished, I could switch off to it and go home.

A New Full-time Job

And then, I had my first child.  I became a mum for the first time.  Suddenly my entire world seemed to change overnight.  The realisation that this was my job now.  There was no end of the day to count down to and no weekends off.  This job was 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.  Being ill, tired, rundown or simply having had enough.  There’s nobody to take over, no short notice cover you can call on.  You are “Mum” and that doesn’t change.  You can’t drop the title when things are difficult.  None of these things are complaints, because I have none.  I wouldn’t change any part of being a mother.

But I can’t even start to explain how totally unprepared I was to actually become one.  I wasn’t prepared for the hard work.  I definitely wasn’t prepared for the long hours.  But most of all, I was not prepared for how being a parent would affect me emotionally.  I’m not sure if anyone could ever be prepared for that.

If they hurt, you hurt, if they are sad, you can feel sad. The emotional and physical turmoil that affects our children can directly impact on our own emotions. This is the thing I wasn’t prepared for.  And no matter the number of parenting books I read, none were able to explain the depth of emotion I was to feel as a mum.

And Suddenly, What is “Important” is Redefined

Life suddenly redefining who you are and changing you forever.  I remember feeling the enormity of the path I was now on. This little person needed me to keep him alive.  Reliant on me for everything. Food, shelter, love and nurturing, all this was to be given without condition.  Cinema outings, shopping for shoes or simply settling down with a book and glass of wine.  “Time for me” didn’t exist anymore.  This new responsibility  was as big as it got and couldn’t be second to anything else.

Such Strong Emotions

I’d read and heard so much about colic, difficulties with feeding and the sleepless nights.  The lack of sleep, it was easy for negative feelings arise.  The constant worrying that I wasn’t doing things right or if I was good enough.  He seemed to scream at me so much.  At times I wondered if he even liked me.   Seeing other mums, taking everything in their stride., they made things look so easy.

But when this beautiful little baby boy snuggled into my arms and I rocked him to sleep, all the stress and worries I felt, just disappeared.  There was nothing more precious in the world.

When my little boy was born, I had the baby blues because it took a week for my hormones to regulate.  I was so thankful when it ended.  So many mums suffer from postnatal depression and my heart goes out to them,  I can only imagine how difficult this must be.  Goodness knows, becoming a mother for the first time is hard enough.

If I could time travel, I’d visit my younger self and reassure her.  I would tell her that she was doing just fine.  I can see now, it was navigating these difficulties that made me the person my child needed me to be.

Does any of this relate to how you might have felt as a new mum? What were your biggest fears and worries?

Were The Terrible Twos, Really All That Terrible?

People speak of the “Terrible 2s”, the phrase is well known for a reason.  That little bundle of joy that you finally managed a routine with.  Who re-educated you in what you understood “time management” to be, was now up and mobile.  They’d been walking for a while now.  Moving everything up a level in the house, happened a long time ago and they no longer stumble when walking.  This newly found independence is a joy to witness.  But when trying to get the shopping done and have your toddler, toddle off down one of the supermarket aisles, this is not one of the times that you appreciate that independence.

The memory of one occasion has always stayed with me.  I was carrying a shopping basket in one hand and pushing the buggy with the other.  My son, much to his annoyance was strapped in to stop him escaping down the aisles.  The indignation on my son’s face and the stress on mine attracted the attention of a woman, I’d place in her 60’s.  “Make the most of it dear”, she said with a smile.  “They’re a lot more difficult when older”.  I smiled back politely.  Yes, I knew she was being friendly, of course, I did.  But I was far too stressed to appreciate that and silently I was voicing “Oh! Mind your own business”.

And then I understood…

A hop, skip and jump as the years flew by.  My 2-year-old was now in secondary school.  I wasn’t able to strap him into a buggy any longer.  They didn’t make one in his size!  Goodness knows I’d have loved to have had one.  Just so I knew where he was when he was out of the house.

I still have the photo of him, in his new school uniform.  Posing for the camera on that first day before starting year seven at his new school.  The innocence on his face, despite the cheeky smile that I loved.  This was new territory for both of us.

It was easy when he was at primary school.  Although he had friends, they all lived so close.  This new school, it was so much larger and had children from much further afield.  My son’s friendship group became wider, as did the area he wanted to spend his time in.  Allowing him to be further from the house and out of my sight was difficult for me.  Saying it was a “time of growth” would be an understatement.

Surplus to Requirements

He was growing up, it was clear.  The school run was no longer part of my day.  Apparently, it wasn’t “cool”.  He had his own bus pass whilst I felt as though I was surplus to requirements.  To anyone parent going through this, I would say “Yes, they do love you and of course they still need you”.  In many ways, they now need you more than ever.

Those younger years, when they seemed to be permanently attached to your apron strings, as much as you may have worried about them, things were mostly within your control.  Your children experienced what you allow them to.  The new world of “Secondary Schools” is so much bigger and the children starting it are the youngest there.  They may only be eleven years old, but it is here that they start their teenage years.  It is here that they start finding their social groups.  Making friends with others of the same age and often enjoying new-found confidence, within groups.

I remember my son was twelve when he came home from school.  It was a Friday.  He wanted to go into town the next morning with friends.  It’s not as though he was coming back late, but the idea of him being out for so long with others and without me to keep an eye?  As irrational as it may sound, the idea of it made me feel quite panicky.  Nope, I was not okay with it.  I didn’t like it and it was not going to happen.  So, I took the only real course of action open to me…  I said I’d think about it.

Insecurity & Worries of Having No Control

In truth, I had no intention of thinking about it.  I just didn’t want to appear closed-minded so was stalling until I delivered a well thought out “no”.  Later that evening, mentally reviewing my day, I could see the irony.  I couldn’t help but laugh at myself, just a little.

The whole thing reminded me of that very first time the stabilisers were removed from his cycle.  His insistence in them being taken off made me cringe.  He really wasn’t that great at peddling.  The repeated falls, grazed knees and tears, gave way to annoyance and perseverance.  It was here that he developed well-founded confidence with his cycle.  And it was here that I learned that I needed to allow him to fall.  I just had to be at hand if ever, he fell too hard.

A Time for Me to Grow

For me, as similar as the feelings of anxiousness were, this was different.  This wasn’t about letting him fall, this was about trusting him.  Trust that wouldn’t easily be given if he were to let me down.  Finally, after listing everything I could possibly think of, that he was not to do, I gave him a time to be home and let him loose.

I was surprised when he returned early and a little concerned as to what may have happened for his day to be cut short.  Apparently, he thought it was better to be early than risk being late.  I was happy with his judgement.  It was becoming clear to me, that my little baby boy was on the verge of becoming a young man.

Our young, do not suddenly become adults.  One moment children, adhering to rules and boundaries befitting a child.  And then upon turning eighteen, being expected to act like an adult.  Miraculously endowed with life skills, confidence and a sudden ability to make clear and well thought out decisions when under stress. Our children learn these skills as we slowly give them a little responsibility at a time.  Developing their decision making skills as they are given a little more freedom, guaranteed that they’ll get things wrong along the way.  But that’s okay.  In fact, I would say it’s a crucial part of the process.  Managing things that don’t go as  we expected or hoped is a skill in itself.  As insecure as I had felt in releasing my grip, I understood the importance of doing it anyway.

Empowering Our Children

Giving him a little more freedom and the responsibility of not abusing that freedom was of the utmost importance.  As he got older, there were many such occasions.  Some went well, plenty did not.  There were times when it simply wasn’t practical that he went to a friends for a sleepover.  Some evenings I wanted him back home particularly early.   And there were times I needed him to stay home and help with things round the house.  At first struggling to grasp that the freedoms he was given were Privileges and not Rights.  I lost count of the times he was grounded and sometimes this resulted in conflict between us. But in truth, it was nothing so terrible.

This was simply about my son growing his understanding of what responsibility is.  And me embracing the fact, that as parents, we also must continue to grow.  I am so proud of the capable young man he has grown into.

Have you experienced this or are you going through it now?

I’ve been through this process four times now.  Three times with my own children and once with my  husband’s daughter who I have raised as my own.  Each time has been totally different.  Just when I thought I’d worked out how everything should be managed, along came my next child with a totally different character.  Who said parenting was easy?

A Common Problem that Needs to be Put Right

Many of the teens I work with, struggle with the parent-child relationship often feeling that their parents don’t listen to them.  Having gone through this, I know for a fact that I listened to my children, but maybe not in the way they needed.

If there’s anything in this blog that you relate to and want help with, I have developed a 10-week programme called the “POSITIVE PARENTING A TEEN” Programme. This is a one-to-one programme which is designed to help parents increase their knowledge, skills and confidence.  A programme that empowers parents to better manage and reduce emotional and behavioural issues, that are affecting the home without the need for additional outside support.

To know more of what our programme consists of and how it can help, you can download your free copy of our brochure here.

If you’d like an initial consultation regarding our programme, you can make an appointment using the booking calendar here.

The one hour consultation fee of £60 will be deducted if you invest in our programme

For information on Individual Counselling Sessions click here

Help!  I’m a Struggling Parent

I remember giving birth to all three of my babies as if it were yesterday.  It’s amazing how time flies by.  Dealing with newborns, shopping, constant washing and toddler tantrums.  I was resolved to the idea that this was my life now.  I didn’t resent any of it.  It’s just that I had no idea of how difficult parenting would be.Baby Feet  Thinking back to the days, before I became a parent.  I was working 5 days a week, 9-5.  Counting down the hours to 5pm, when I could finally go home.  I was truly knackered at the end of the day.

At the time, I never gave it a second thought, let alone appreciated the fact that when my shift finished, I could switch off to it and go home.

A New Full-time Job

And then, I had my first child.  I became a mum for the first time.  Suddenly my entire world seemed to change overnight.  The realisation that this was my job now.  There was no end of the day to count down to and no weekends off.  This job was 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.  Being ill, tired, rundown or simply having had enough.  There’s nobody to take over, no short notice cover you can call on.  You are “Mum” and that doesn’t change.  You can’t drop the title when things are difficult.  None of these things are complaints, because I have none.  I wouldn’t change any part of being a mother.

But I can’t even start to explain how totally unprepared I was to actually become one.  I wasn’t prepared for the hard work.  I definitely wasn’t prepared for the long hours.  But most of all, I was not prepared for how being a parent would affect me emotionally.  I’m not sure if anyone could ever be prepared for that.

If they hurt, you hurt, if they are sad, you can feel sad. The emotional and physical turmoil that affects our children can directly impact on our own emotions. This is the thing I wasn’t prepared for.  And no matter the number of parenting books I read, none were able to explain the depth of emotion I was to feel as a mum.

And Suddenly, What is “Important” is Redefined

Life suddenly redefining who you are and changing you forever.  I remember feeling the enormity of the path I was now on. This little person needed me to keep him alive.  Reliant on me for everything. Food, shelter, love and nurturing, all this was to be given without condition.  Cinema outings, shopping for shoes or simply settling down with a book and glass of wine.  “Time for me” didn’t exist anymore.  This new responsibility  was as big as it got and couldn’t be second to anything else.

Such Strong Emotions

I’d read and heard so much about colic, difficulties with feeding and the sleepless nights.  The lack of sleep, it was easy for negative feelings arise.  The constant worrying that I wasn’t doing things right or if I was good enough.  He seemed to scream at me so much.  At times I wondered if he even liked me.   Seeing other mums, taking everything in their stride., they made things look so easy.

But when this beautiful little baby boy snuggled into my arms and I rocked him to sleep, all the stress and worries I felt, just disappeared.  There was nothing more precious in the world.

When my little boy was born, I had the baby blues because it took a week for my hormones to regulate.  I was so thankful when it ended.  So many mums suffer from postnatal depression and my heart goes out to them,  I can only imagine how difficult this must be.  Goodness knows, becoming a mother for the first time is hard enough.

If I could time travel, I’d visit my younger self and reassure her.  I would tell her that she was doing just fine.  I can see now, it was navigating these difficulties that made me the person my child needed me to be.

Does any of this relate to how you might have felt as a new mum? What were your biggest fears and worries?

Were The Terrible Twos, Really All That Terrible?

People speak of the “Terrible 2s”, the phrase is well known for a reason.  That little bundle of joy that you finally managed a routine with.  Who re-educated you in what you understood “time management” to be, was now up and mobile.  They’d been walking for a while now.  Moving everything up a level in the house, happened a long time ago and they no longer stumble when walking.  This newly found independence is a joy to witness.  But when trying to get the shopping done and have your toddler, toddle off down one of the supermarket aisles, this is not one of the times that you appreciate that independence.

The memory of one occasion has always stayed with me.  I was carrying a shopping basket in one hand and pushing the buggy with the other.  My son, much to his annoyance was strapped in to stop him escaping down the aisles.  The indignation on my son’s face and the stress on mine attracted the attention of a woman, I’d place in her 60’s.  “Make the most of it dear”, she said with a smile.  “They’re a lot more difficult when older”.  I smiled back politely.  Yes, I knew she was being friendly, of course, I did.  But I was far too stressed to appreciate that and silently I was voicing “Oh! Mind your own business”.

And then I understood…

A hop, skip and jump as the years flew by.  My 2-year-old was now in secondary school.  I wasn’t able to strap him into a buggy any longer.  They didn’t make one in his size!  Goodness knows I’d have loved to have had one.  Just so I knew where he was when he was out of the house.

I still have the photo of him, in his new school uniform.  Posing for the camera on that first day before starting year seven at his new school.  The innocence on his face, despite the cheeky smile that I loved.  This was new territory for both of us.

It was easy when he was at primary school.  Although he had friends, they all lived so close.  This new school, it was so much larger and had children from much further afield.  My son’s friendship group became wider, as did the area he wanted to spend his time in.  Allowing him to be further from the house and out of my sight was difficult for me.  Saying it was a “time of growth” would be an understatement.

Surplus to Requirements

He was growing up, it was clear.  The school run was no longer part of my day.  Apparently, it wasn’t “cool”.  He had his own bus pass whilst I felt as though I was surplus to requirements.  To anyone parent going through this, I would say “Yes, they do love you and of course they still need you”.  In many ways, they now need you more than ever.

Those younger years, when they seemed to be permanently attached to your apron strings, as much as you may have worried about them, things were mostly within your control.  Your children experienced what you allow them to.  The new world of “Secondary Schools” is so much bigger and the children starting it are the youngest there.  They may only be eleven years old, but it is here that they start their teenage years.  It is here that they start finding their social groups.  Making friends with others of the same age and often enjoying a new-found confidence, within groups.

I remember my son was twelve when he came home from school.  It was a Friday.  He wanted to go into town the next morning with friends.  It’s not as though he was coming back late, but the idea of him being out for so long with others and without me to keep an eye?  As irrational as it may sound, the idea of it made me feel quite panicky.  Nope, I was not okay with it.  I didn’t like it and it was not going to happen.  So, I took the only real course of action open to me…  I said I’d think about it.

Insecurity & Worries of Having No Control

In truth, I had no intention of thinking about it.  I just didn’t want to appear closed-minded so was stalling until I delivered a well thought out “no”.  Later that evening, mentally reviewing my day, I could see the irony.  I couldn’t help but laugh at myself, just a little.

The whole thing reminded me of that very first time the stabilisers were removed from his cycle.  His insistence in them being taken off made me cringe.  He really wasn’t that great at peddling.  The repeated falls, grazed knees and tears, gave way to annoyance and perseverance.  It was here that he developed a well-founded confidence with his cycle.  And it was here that I learned that I needed to allow him to fall.  I just had to be at hand if ever, he fell too hard.

A Time for Me to Grow

For me, as similar as the feelings of anxiousness were, this was different.  This wasn’t about letting him fall, this was about trusting him.  Trust that wouldn’t easily be given if he were to let me down.  Finally, after listing everything I could possibly think of, that he was not to do, I gave him a time to be home and let him loose.

I was surprised when he returned early and a little concerned as to what may have happened for his day to be cut short.  Apparently, he thought it was better to be early than risk being late.  I was happy with his judgement.  It was becoming clear to me, that my little baby boy was on the verge of becoming a young man.

Our young, do not suddenly become adults.  One moment children, adhering to rules and boundaries befitting a child.  And then upon turning eighteen, being expected to act like an adult.  Miraculously endowed with life skills, confidence and a sudden ability to make clear and well thought out decisions when under stress. Our children learn these skills as we slowly give them a little responsibility at a time.  Developing their decision making skills as they are given a little more freedom, guaranteed that they’ll get things wrong along the way.  But that’s okay.  In fact, I would say it’s a crucial part of the process.  Managing things that don’t go as  we expected or hoped is a skill in itself.  As insecure as I had felt in releasing my grip, I understood the importance of doing it anyway.

Empowering Our Children

Giving him a little more freedom and the responsibility of not abusing that freedom was of the utmost importance.  As he got older, there were many such occasions.  Some went well, plenty did not.  There were times when it simply wasn’t practical that he went to a friends for a sleepover.  Some evenings I wanted him back home particularly early.   And there were times I needed him to stay home and help with things round the house.  At first struggling to grasp that the freedoms he was given were Privileges and not Rights.  I lost count of the times he was grounded and sometimes this resulted in conflict between us. But in truth, it was nothing so terrible.

This was simply about my son growing his understanding of what responsibility is.  And me embracing the fact, that as parents, we also must continue to grow.  I am so proud of the capable young man he has grown into.

Have you experienced this or are you going through it now?

I’ve been through this process four times and each time has been totally different.  Just when you think you’ve worked it all out, along came my next child with a totally different character.  Who said parenting was easy?

A Common Problem that Needs to be Put Right

Many of the teens I work with, struggle with the parent-child relationship often feeling that their parents don’t listen to them.  Having gone through this, I know for a fact that I listened to my children, but maybe not in the way they needed.

If there’s anything in this blog that you relate to and want help with, I have developed a 10-week programme called the “POSITIVE PARENTING A TEEN” Programme. This is a one-to-one programme which is designed to help parents increase their knowledge, skills and confidence.  A programme that empowers parents to better manage and reduce emotional and behavioural issues, that are affecting the home without the need for additional outside support.

To know more of what our programme consists of and how it can help, you can download your free copy of our brochure here.

If you’d like an initial consultation regarding our programme, you can make an appointment using the booking calendar here.

The one hour consultation fee of £147 will be deducted if you invest in our programme

For information on Individual Counselling Sessions click here.