Providing you with parenting support

Is your answer “Yes” to any of the following questions? If so, you are not alone. These are common concerns of parents today that can be resolved through parenting sessions.

 

The importance of understanding early attachment

A key part of the parent-child relationship is understanding early attachment. Research shows that attachment, the early experience of how parents and infants interact and “tune in” to each other, actually shapes the development of a child’s mind. Healthy early attachment promotes security, self-regulation, and resilience in a child. Daniel Siegal, MD, renowned child psychiatrist and author of The Whole Brain Child writes: “For the infant and young child, attachment relationships are the major environmental factors that shape brain development during its period of maximum growth.”

It is important for you to understand your child’s attachment experience regardless of their age. Understanding the relationship you have with your child, knowing who your child is, understanding the fit between you and your child, and helping you develop effective strategies to assist your child cope with problems he or she faces, are all achievable goals in parenting sessions.

 

It is even more important to understand this when attachment has been less than ideal. Having a difficult attachment relationship with your child can be very painful for both parties, and does not mean that you don’t love your child, or have not cared for them in a responsible way. Family stresses, trauma, and depression are just a few circumstances beyond a parent’s control that can negatively impact early attachment, resulting in distance and emotional disconnect between parent and child.

The good news is that understanding the situation allows you as the parent to engage your child of any age in a corrective and healing relationship in the present time. How to achieve this is often a central focus in our parenting work.


The starting point for parenting sessions

One of the most important ways that I can support you is by providing accurate information and perspective on your child's current developmental stage, and exploring how it relates to a problem your child may be experiencing. Taking a thorough history from parents, both of the current situation as well as of the child's development up to present, is the starting point in my work with a child, and also the starting point in any or a series of parenting sessions.

Helping you gain understanding and perspective

images/kids_art.jpg The quality of the parent-child relationship is one of the most important factors influencing a child's development. At the same time, the quality of this relationship has a profound effect on the personal happiness of the parent, and the emotional environment of family life.

The development of a child is shaped by interactions between your child and his or her environment. Recent research indicates that social interactions influence brain function during the first year of life (as discussed under “The importance of understanding early attachment” above). The quality of parenting, as well as other opportunities and stressors in family life, have a major influence on who your child becomes. The first five years of your child's life are the most rapid period of development. Healthy development during this time is extremely important because it establishes either a strong or vulnerable stage for what follows. Even if your child is past that stage, it is essential to understand what occurred in the first five years of life.

The fit between parent and child is a crucial concept to understand if parenting is to be largely healthy and successful. What kind of fit exists between the personalities and temperaments of you and your child? Understanding this can enhance your ability to respond adaptively to your child's unfolding development, and help establish a positive, early foundation for your child. The parent-child relationship can frequently re-stimulate unresolved issues or unfinished business for parents related to their own early history. Reflecting on your personal history, including your own early attachment experiences, as part of this process can prevent repeating or passing on difficult or dysfunctional generational patterns, and allows you to be fully present for your child.


Children have a built-in instinct to master their problems. Recognizing this instinct, identifying obstacles to your child's growth, and helping you to develop strategies to enable you to respond more effectively to your child's difficulties can all be addressed in parenting sessions.

Supporting parents of children who have experienced trauma

images/key.jpgParents need strategies to enable them to be supportive and confident with their children, especially if they are experiencing grief and worry. You may feel traumatized yourself when your child has experienced an overwhelming event. I can provide the support you need to address your grief or other distressing emotions in order to be available to support your child.

Helping your child with life transitions

Supporting important life stage transitions and understanding the impact these transitions have on your family life is another important focus in parenting work. Settling a child into daycare, beginning school, the onset of adolescence, leaving for college: these events involve separation and can strongly affect both you and your child.

At my Santa Cruz office, conveniently located between downtown Santa Cruz and the Seabright area, I offer couples therapy and individual and family counseling and therapy. I also specialize in child therapy, including art and play therapy

Please call 831-423-7027 to schedule an appointment or discuss your specific needs.


The images on this site are from "The Lost Star" children's book I am currently writing, and were taken by Michael Strong.