When it seems like your child doesn’t need you anymore….
Musings of a Mom/Therapist, Kristal Watson
It seems like some days as a parent or caregiver are spent drifting between hoping your child moves out of “this phase” (i.e. waking up in the middle of the night, diapers, “moody” teenager….) and clinging desperately to the moments our children need us because … some day they WON’T? need me!
This stark contrast dawned on me this week as I walked into my daughter’s room this week and asked a simple question, “Can I help you with your shoes?”
Based on her reaction, she may have thought I said, “They’ve stopped making cotton candy… forever.”
Eyes roll, grunts of dissatisfaction emit from her mouth, and she, in no certain terms, refers to the Rapunzel white board on her door with the words, STAY OUT printed on it in marker…”Rapunzel’s not doing her JOB!”
In other words, Mom…get out of my space, I can do it, how dare you suggest that I can’t!
So, did my Mom feelings get hurt and I feel brutally rebuffed by the girl that, just yesterday, needed hug after hug? Yes. Definitely.
Was my daughter telling me, “Mom, I’ve got this…its morning and I’m cranky, but I’ve got this”? Yes. Definitely.
In that moment, it was important for me to take a moment to separate my reaction from my response. My reaction would have been one of ANGER and HURT FEELINGS. My response should have been one characterized by an even tone of voice, a few deep breaths and the assurance to my daughter that I was available to help if she needed. (Once we both calm down from this exchange, we can discuss the more appropriate way to request that a person leave one’s room.)
One of the most important parts of parenting is taking time to reflect on our own experiences, notice what reactions we have in the moment and if possible, why our reactions were so effective or ineffective in these parent/child exchanges. Our past experiences have a key role in shaping our reactions and responses. How did your parents handle conflict in your home? Were your parents very present in your life or somewhat unresponsive? Reflecting upon what makes us, us…is a vital component of parenting with your whole heart.
Certainly, seeking personal therapy is helpful in sorting out the challenging emotions that accompany caring for children! Contact me directly at Kristal@counselinglonetree.com or via text/call to 720.504.8382 to schedule an initial appointment to discuss how therapy can help you in your personal parenting or caregiving journey.
I’m so honored to be a part of the team at The Counseling Place at Lone Tree & Castle Pines! My passion as a therapist is to promote healing for individuals and families by building a strong, trusting relationship with my clients and building on my client’s strengths as a means toward this healing.
I hope to blog from two perspectives. First and foremost, I will write as a mom. I have two daughters and (as parents and caregivers read this know) they challenge me MORE THAN ANY OTHER JOB I may have! And secondly, I will write as a therapist that works with children and families every week that may have similar struggles in their lives. I strive to bring my authentic person into the therapy room with my clients and I will endeavor to do the same as I write.