Support For Parents

By Theresa Beldon, MA, MFTI, Bodynamic Analyst, © Copyright 2008.

Support Has Helped Parents Whose Children & Youth Have Experienced

  • Abuses of all kinds (Emotional, Educational, Intellectual, Physical, Psychological, Spiritual)
  • Accidents
  • Being assertive
  • Bonding
  • Boundary Problems/Violations (Emotional, Educational, Intellectual, Physical, Psychological, Spiritual)
  • Bullying
  • Developmental arrests and delays
  • Death in the family
  • Confidence problems/feeling powerless
  • Eating disorders
  • Illnesses
  • Impulse control
  • Learning containment and boundaries
  • Parental burnout around their child’s problems
  • Parent/child relationship/attachment problems
  • Separation/divorce/death of family members/illness/military service/imprisoned
  • Severe medical problems
  • Violence
  • Self-esteem problems
  • Shy, withdrawn
  • Speaking/talking effectively

Brief Descripton Of Support For Parents

  • All parents need support.
  • Everyone needs support, especially parents.
  • Getting and giving support is part of being healthy humans.
  • Raising children & youth is a very difficult job, for which most parents have no training.
  • Many parents were not understood, nurtured, protected or encouraged as children and teens.
  • All parents do the best job they can, depending upon their own childhoods, and levels of knowledge and experience.
  • At the present time, a great deal more is known about how children can thrive and develop more effectively.
  • More information is being discovered each year.
  • Dealing with children & youth who are having challenges can be difficult.
  • Extra effort, time, money, concern have to be given if the child is to deal with his/her challenges.
  • Parents of children/teens with challenges often burn out and make the situation worse.
  • Far too often, parents feel as unsupported and misunderstood as their children.
  • Parents can begin to argue and fight in ways that don’t result in anything but more pain. In the worst case scenario, they might even separate or divorce. This hurts the child even further.
  • It is of the utmost importance that parents heal their own childhood injuries, so they can better assist their children or youth.

Parents’ Reactions To Getting Support

  • Most parents are often very excited and relieved because they get energy and comfort from getting the support they need.
  • Parents getting support often don’t feel so alone with their feelings and frustrations.
  • Being able to express emotions in a safe place with a safe person can be healing.
  • Parents can get more understanding of, and connection with their children. They appreciate the information and the support.
  • Some parents can temporarily become defensive, ashamed or anxious about their children and how they have been as parents. They are helped to understand and move through these feelings.
  • Some parents feel bothered when they start remembering what happened to themselves as children. It is important to keep getting support when this happens, since these forgotten memories can make parenting very difficult – especially when their child is having problems.

Extra Care Is Needed

  • Extra care is needed if there are any developmental or medical issues. Additional support is needed for these difficulties.
  • Additional support may also be needed if the parents are deeply embarrassed, ashamed, shy and/or withdrawn.

Children & Youth’s Rights And Needs

The Bodynamic Institute USA describes a child’s developmental needs as follows:

  • The right to exist and be part of a family (prenatal through birth)

“I am glad you exist.” “I am glad you are part of our family.”

  • The right to get their needs met–emotionally and physically (0 to 18 months)

I want to meet your needs.” “I will work to understand and honor them.”

  • The right to be loved for who they are and to be independent, and to expect and get support when needed (8 months to 2 .5 years)

I am proud of what you are able to do but I am available if you need help or support.”

  • The right to have their own power, want what they want, and have their feelings acknowledged (2 to 4 years)

I like to see you in your own power and feelings and I will hold family rules when necessary.”

  • The right to feel proud of themselves and their gender identity (4 to 6 years)

“I am happy I have a little girl/little boy.” “I want you to feel comfortable being who you are.”

  • The right to stand for their own opinion and to be with others (6 to 8 years)

“I’m glad you have your own opinion and I respect you even if it is different from my own.”

  • The right to do their personal best and still be part of the group (8 to 12 years)

“I’m happy seeing you do your best and I also want you to feel comfortable in your peer group.”

Basic Concepts And Components Of Support For Parents

  • Change and healing are possible.
  • Healing happens when positive mutual connection occurs between people: adults and adults; parents and children; children and children.
  • Injuries can happen because of the lack of positive and mutual connection between parent and child.
  • Parents of children with challenges need support.
  • To be able to help their suffering children, it is necessary for parents to be clear of the affects of their own unresolved childhood injuries in regards to the rights and needs of children.
  • The development of healthy boundaries is essential for children. A boundary is the capacity to sense one’s self as separate from another and yet still feel a connection to the other.
  • Support for parents is needed because the problems the parents experienced in their own childhood affect how they react to their own children’s problems.
  • Support for parents can take many forms including talk, appropriate touch, learning new information about children and what they need, and how they need to be treated.
  • Referrals to other professionals for specific support are often necessary.
  • Understanding children’s rights and needs is essential for parents, teachers, therapists, and society.

Fees/Costs In 2007

  • The cost depends on the type of support/therapy.
  • Fees can range from a few dollars to hundreds.
  • Fees can often be negotiated. Sliding scales are usually available.

Average Time Per Session

  • Session length depends upon the type of support.
  • Quite often, sessions are an hour and a half.
  • Ten sessions are recommended.
  • Workshops can be weekly, monthly, or on weekends.

Estimated Length Of Time Before Improvements Can Be Expected

  • When parents get support around their own issues, the children respond almost immediately.
  • What has been missing for the parent is being addressed, so the parent can be more effective with the challenged child.
  • Children like getting what they really need from parents. If the child has very complicated problems, progress can be slower.

Suggestions To Make Support For Parents More Effective

  • Taking courses and workshops in child development.
  • Learning about the rights and needs of children.
  • It is sad that parents are not exposed to learning this before they are parents.
  • Most people learn more about buying a new car or a new dishwasher than they do about the needs of children.

Special Training Needed For Supporting Parents

  • Experience with, and education in, Developmental Child Psychology is very helpful.
  • Adults who have work experience with young children; such as teachers, day care providers, therapists, and psychologists, are helpful.

Support For Parents Providers And How To Find Them

  • Since there are many levels of challenges that children face, the type of Support For Parents needed may be different.
  • Parents may need help for themselves from some of the following: Psychiatrists; Family Medical Doctors; Psychologists; Psychotherapists; Child and Marriage Family Counselors (different states and countries have different names for these supporters); religious leaders – rabbis, priests, ministers, pastors; school counselors.
  • Ask friends for referrals, look in the yellow pages, look on the Internet. Interview your choices. They need to work for you and be of support in a way that helps both you and your child.
  • Bodynamic Institute USA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting healthy human connections by removing mental and physical blocks to the formation of relationships. For more information, please see their website: www.Bodynamicusa.com.
  • Another source of support for parents can be found in organizations of parents whose children have similar problems. You can find these on the w and local mental and physical health agencies.
  • Be careful to pick support groups where people are positive and appreciative of who you are and what is possible for you.
  • Some of these groups can be unhelpful and tyrannical. Don’t be afraid to start your own.
  • Watch out for websites which are selling products.
  • Attending classes on Parenting and parent skills can be a good source of support and can lead to finding supportive people who have training. These often can be found through local Junior College evening programs.
  • Also check out local courses in Nonviolent Communication to learn helpful ways of communicating during challenging times. See the Center for Nonviolent Communication’s website: http://www.cnvc.org.
  • One of my favorite sources for low cost support is something called co-counseling or re-evaluation counseling. This is a self-help group. Information can be found at The Re-evaluation Counseling Communities’ website: http://www.rc.org.
  • If there are parental addiction problems involved, 12 step meetings can be very helpful as a starting place. Local yellow pages usually have listings. There are also support groups which teach Tough Love concepts to parents with addicted children/teens. People with training in Bodynamics Analysis can be of great help as well.

What To Look For When Choosing The Best Practitioner

  • Look for people who have had the most training and who have had their own children, or have done a lot of work with children in other areas – preschool, elementary school, or in clinical therapeutic settings.
  • If you can, choose someone who has education up to a Masters degree in Psychology/Counseling/Marriage and Family Counseling/Education.
  • Choosing people who have had Developmental Psychology training can be particularly useful.

Resources, Research Papers, Books, DVDs, Websites

Theresa Beldon’s Personal Statement

When you understand the rights of your child or youth at his or her various stages of development, it is so much easier to have empathy for her/his behavior. Education which is grounded in your own experience is the best way to learn to understand and nurture your child. This information helped me raise my own children as well as supporting many of my clients.

To Contact Theresa Beldon, Who Contributed This Chapter

Theresa Beldon; 11725 Bodega Hwy; Sebastopol, CA 95472; Ph: 707-823-5216;

Email: tbodynamicusa@yahoo.com

Marie Mulligan’s Comment About Support For Parents: Every caregiver and parent needs support. There are many types of support for parents: financial, emotional, practical support (babysitting, food preparation, respite care, family-friendly employment), parenting classes.

Rick Geggie’s Comment About Support For Parents: I wish my pride and fear had not been in my way when my son was little. Parenting was hard and confusing. Even his smallest challenges were very difficult on his mom and me. We did not know what to do. We did not get Parental Support. His mother and I burned out and broke up. He suffered more.

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