The Challenge of Parenting

*It’s important to note that this article only references difficult childhood behaviors; the information presented here cannot be universally applied to solve other issues like significant childhood diagnoses or the treatment of trauma.


 Our culture often sends the message that parenting comes naturally, that because you know the difference between right and wrong, and you had some semblance of being parented yourself, that you should automatically have the ability to be a model parent. This idea can potentially keep some of us from learning everything there is to know about effective parenting, or even considering that it is necessary to continue learning as parents. In the face of this parenting paradigm I’m going to let you in on three of the most empowering parenting secrets you’ll ever know...


1.) Parenting is hard, each child needs something different and there is no manual.

2.) You can fix a majority of your child’s problems by learning new knowledge, skills and abilities through therapy.

3.) There is no shame in seeking help for parenting; in fact it is the best parents that get help.


Parents often seek therapy for the child’s behavioral issues at home or school. The therapist will do their best to correct the child’s behaviors but this is far less successful than teaching parents new skills. Behavior issues like aggression, bedtime problems, non-compliance, running from adults, tantrums and more and be alleviated with the right family-centered therapy. Several therapies and resources exist to help parents learn the important skills needed to guide children positively and effectively.


Filial Family Therapy- Filial Family Therapy is a parent–child play therapy for children ages 2–12, and their parents. A trained therapist teaches parents skills for developing positive relationships with their children. The therapist provides skills to reduce problem behaviors and increase positive interactions. Through this therapy children are provided with increased competence and self-esteem, while parents strengthen their relationship with their child and improve their parenting skills.


PCIT- Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an evidence based therapy that strengthens the parent-child relationship helping to facilitate a positive, respectful and encouraging connection. Parents of children ages 2-7 are first taught to play with their children each day using praise, reflection (reflecting back what the child is saying), imitation, description (describing what the child is doing), and enthusiasm. Parents are then coached on how to give effective commands and what to do if their child does not listen.


Structural Family Therapy- A therapy aimed at improving family functioning. This is an outcome-orientated treatment that assists the family in using their strengths to improve interaction, helping families to respond to the developing needs of each member effectively. Perfect for families of all shapes and sizes, accommodates children of all ages.


Book- The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive. Written by a neuropsychiatrist this book provides parents insights into what is happening in their child’s brain, illustrating how the decision making part of a child’s brain is still being developed, leaving the emotional part largely in control. This is the basis of the 12 strategies that are listed in the book to help calm problems and cultivate healthy development.


The Olson Clinic is home to some gifted therapists who are ready, willing and able to help. In addition there are many local community resources available to parents at the link below. Whatever parenting challenges you face along the way remember that you are not alone and information and resources are available to help.


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