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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
Resolving issues from your past that block your future

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Parenting Difficulties

April 2011

Many stages of parenting are hard. Adjusting when the baby first arrives is a major change. It can take a year and a half to fully integrate all the changes that a baby brings to the family. Then you have moved on to the toddler years. Having a two or three year old around the house has many difficulties which parents everywhere will attest to. As you move to school age, things calm down for a bit but you have to help them with school work and how to go to school. There may be peer issues that arise. Then puberty raises its ugly head. Life gets very difficult. There may be many arguments and tears (yours as well as your child’s). You finally get through high school and think, “Finally, I am done! My child is 18! I no longer have to worry about anything anymore!” Wrong!!!

First, our young adults are not usually ready to totally take on adulthood. They will need help figuring out everything from how to balance their checkbook and not get into debt, to how to choose a college and rent an apartment. They may often come back to you asking for advice. But here is the hard part, they very well may completely ignore your advice and there is nothing you can do it about it! You can no longer ground them or take away their privileges. They are adults, and they get to make their own decisions.

You have just moved from active parenting to passive parenting. It is no longer your role to direct this person. It is your role to support and offer suggestions. You no longer have control over them, not even the illusion of control. As difficult as it can be for our children to launch, it can be equally difficult for us to change our type of participation in their lives.

So, what can we do? Become involved in our own lives! We have been focused on them for eighteen plus years. It is our turn! Start a hobby. Go out with friends. Reacquaint ourselves with our partners.  We also need to practice the fine art of being aware of what we have control over. Breathe, a lot. Breathe again. Remind yourself that you gave them good values and skills. Trust your children. Take another breath. Go for a bike ride. Take a vacation without the children!

This stage is very difficult for us as parents to deal with. It is important to nurture yourself to help you get through it. Perhaps a massage would help! And a glass of wine. The real key is to change your focus from the kids to you. Practice this skill. You may even find that you like it!

Enjoy the journey!

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