When you hear of counseling for parents, what impression do you get? For most Americans, counseling or therapy of any kind has a negative association or stigma. We worry that we will be seen as weak, crazy, rich, or that people will assume some traumatic situation set off our seeking of therapy.
But consider this: If you were to embark on a journey into territory you had never explored before, wouldn’t you want the help of a guide? Some advice from someone who has been over that bit of rough terrain and could counsel you on potential pitfalls?
This is just one reason that all parents should consider the benefits of parenting counseling before brushing off the option. Here are some other reasons why you should consider counseling as part of your parenting education.
1. Talking it out is a form of stress relief.
Parenting comes with a particular array of fears and worries that change along with your emotional health and that of your child. You may worry about your work and personal life balance and whether you are being attentive enough to your child. Or you may be concerned about some stages of development that your child is going through. The list goes on. When worries or fears are not addressed, they can accumulate into stress, which takes a toll on one’s health.
Talk therapy, a mainstay of counseling, is a way for you to have your worries heard. This simple act of talking it out has the ability to lower your stress levels and help you look at a situation more objectively. Talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy, has been shown to change brain patterns to better handle difficult issues.
2. Counseling provides a safe space where you can discuss sensitive issues with the right person.
When dealing with family issues, sometimes your spouse, friend, or other family member is not the right person you should be talking to. We all have biases that stem from past experiences that can cloud how we view family matters. For example, a spouse may have experienced something in the past that prevents him or her from being the right person to vent to.
Even a friend that may not have a personal stake in the matter of your parenting may at best only validate your concerns. But that friend may not be qualified or know what to suggest in order to resolve the issue you are faced with. Parenting counselors provide a safe space where you can unload your troubles. As well as find workable solutions to your problems.
3. Counselors are a source of valuable information related to specific developmental stages.
Each year of your child’s life contains unique developmental stages. Understanding what your child is going through at each stage will help you keep your cool during trying times. Unfortunately, there is no required parenting course that one must pass before entering parenthood. But there is an easy way to tap into this information, particularly if book reading is not your thing. Weekly sessions with a parenting counselor can be looked at as a form of parenting education. A place for you to learn effective parenting strategies that will help your child or teen at whatever developmental stage he or she is at.
Your counselor can provide you with ideas and information on each stage your child is going through. And because they will know of current trends, they can serve as a doorway for resources that will help you have a better family life.
For many people, worry about what others will think is enough to shelve the idea of counseling permanently and not give it a fair chance. But the duties of parenthood are enormous and pretty much nonstop until your child leaves home for college. Counseling provides a support system that more parents should use for a happier home and family life.