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I feel lost. How can I help my child?

I often hear parents say: “We have tried everything, yet nothing seems to be working!” during that first initial intake appointment. Maybe you are sitting at home, your child has finally fallen asleep after .. not one.. not two… but seven attempts, the living room is a mess, you have not had time to box up the leftovers from dinner, while desperately trying to find ways to help your child. Their school has expressed concern regarding your child’s behavior and you feel worried about them getting kicked out. You feel lost and need support. 

I encourage you to try the following:

Be present 

Find time in your day for that quality time with your child. In the midst of juggling all your responsibilities, you might be thinking most days I do not even have time to cook dinner, how am I supposed to set aside hours for quality time? It can be 10 minutes of undivided attention, no phone, no interruptions, just being present with your child. 

Co-regulate

Children are often expected to know how to calm down, but we forget that they might not yet have mastered this skill. As a parent, you can teach them how to regulate their emotions, but make sure you are regulated first! Sit with them, provide a soothing touch and show them how to breathe. 

Validate 

Show them you recognize their emotions. They want to feel seen, heard and understood, but are not always able to communicate their needs so that we know how to help. Reflect your observations free of judgment (i.e., “you feel mad when I tell you it is time for bed”). This will help them feel like their feelings are valid. 

At Amy Wine Counseling Center we can help support you and your child in learning how to regulate emotions, implement healthy coping skills and communicate needs. We would love to be there for you in this challenging time to together explore new ways of tackling your child’s needs. Please feel free to reach out for more information!

Mari Eik, LPC Associate

Mari is passionate about building connections with the individuals and families she serves. She enjoys working with children, teens and young adults, addressing anxiety, grief, trauma, parenting, depression, life transitions and interpersonal conflict. When working with your child, Mari will invite them to express themselves through play to process conflict, big emotions and for them to make sense of the abstract world we adults navigate. For older children, she will utilize various techniques to best meet your child’s needs. This modality consists of traditional “talk therapy”, as well as creative interventions and movement.

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