Therapy for Parents
Feeling The Stress Of Parenthood?
Are you a parent struggling with anxiety or overwhelm? Is a lack of balance creating strain in your life and relationships? Has your stress caused you to lose sight of your values? Or are you concerned that your family-of-origin experiences are negatively impacting your parenting?
Though rewarding, parenting is often exhausting. Parenting while struggling with anxiety is even more so. Physical symptoms can include headache, digestive issues, insomnia, pounding heart, shaking, muscle tension, and fatigue–all of which can interfere with your life. A lack of motivation may be keeping you from accomplishing tasks or following through on the goals you have set for yourself as a parent. Alternatively, you may find yourself feeling overly involved in your child’s life and wishing that you could spend more of your time actually enjoying life.
As a result, you may have developed common symptoms of anxiety and parental burnout, including possible chronic worry about your kids’ developmental milestones, peer relationships and pressures, use of electronics or cell phones, and for older kids, even drug or alcohol use.
Maybe the stress of parenting has caused you to feel regularly overwhelmed and exhausted. Unsure of how to manage your emotions on top of your responsibilities, you might have developed decision-making fatigue or become increasingly agitated by daily stressors. If your parenting stress has led to frequent conflict with your partner or caused you to have a short fuse with your children, you are not alone.
As a result of feeling overwhelmed, you may experience guilt that you’re not a good parent or worry that you’re repeating unhelpful patterns from your childhood. And even though you’re having difficulty coping with parenting stress, you might have trouble asking for support or talking to others about your anxiety out of a sense of shame or embarrassment. Perhaps you’ve told yourself that you should be able to handle the responsibility of raising your children without help.
No matter where you are in the process of raising your kids, the stress and anxiety involved in parenting can be draining at times. But relief and a new outlook are possible. In therapy, you can process your experiences as a parent as you develop insight into generational patterns and how your coping style may be increasing your anxiety and jeopardizing your stress management skills.
As Parents In Today’s Ever-Changing Society, We Naturally Worry About Our Kids
Whether we have children or not, all of us experience anxiety. No matter where you are in your parenting journey—brand new or a parent of a teen or young adult—navigating parenting in today’s world is tough. Although the added stress of raising kids can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety that existed before you became a new mom or dad, some parents develop a struggle with unmanageable anxiety after they have children.
Not to mention, parents and children alike face unprecedented circumstances in today’s world. Social media propels unhealthy comparison culture as technology, in general, keeps us increasingly disconnected from one another. Covid-19 has created a sense of unpredictability and instability, causing disruptions at home, school, and work. And the never-ending expectations placed on our kids often translate to additional stress for us as parents.
Our culture teaches us to distract ourselves from and avoid anxiety at all costs. We have been taught to avoid uncomfortable feelings as a form of stress management, so we do everything we can to distract ourselves. The problem with this approach, however, is that it only works sometimes—and even then, not very well. We then blame ourselves (instead of what we have been taught) for unhealthy coping mechanisms and ineffective parenting strategies, which further exacerbates our stress and anxiety.
The Examples We Had As Children Significantly Shape Our Approach To Parenting
It’s also important to remember that our family of origin impacts us in ways that we may not fully understand. All families experience some degree of dysfunction, and the parenting models we grew up with have a significant impact on our development as individuals and within our relationships. Even if we intentionally change the behaviors or patterns we grew up with, we are likely to lack full awareness of the ways that our families shaped our approach and expectations for parenting.
The addition of a child to the family system necessitates a readjustment of rules, roles, boundaries, and family dynamics. As the children grow, their development also necessitates familial flexibility that many of us were not taught. But counseling can help. In therapy, you can get unstuck from the cycle of fear, anxiety, exhaustion, and irritability keeping you from being the parent you want to be.
Therapy For Parents Allows You To Pause, Reflect, And Develop Skills For Stress Management
No matter how old your kids are or where you are in your parenting journey, you probably don’t have time and space carved out for just you each week. Counseling is an opportunity to feel seen and heard amidst the often chaotic and unpredictable endeavor of raising children.
As a licensed therapist and fellow parent, I understand the anxiety you feel. I can help you understand how your worries are biologically wired (and sometimes even beneficial!) as you unlearn some of the harmful thinking patterns and coping strategies that contribute to parental burnout. As we use therapy as a chance to explore and reconnect with your parenting values, you will get a sense of how daily stress and anxiety get in the way of achieving your goals.
Before starting counseling for moms and dads, I invite you to schedule a free, 15-minute consultation to ensure that we are a good fit. Once we have determined that my counseling approach can help you, we will begin the therapeutic process.
My Approach To Counseling For Parents
By helping you see how your anxiety is biologically wired, you can maintain a new sense of acceptance and awareness. Combining psychoeducation with family-of-origin work and proven therapeutic approaches, I tailor counseling for moms and dads to meet your unique parenting needs.
Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), we can explore the way your mind works and discuss new ways of looking at things. In addition, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) allows you to explore and identify your values so that you can parent in accordance with your deepest held goals and beliefs. Finally, by clarifying issues within your family-of-origin, I can help you establish meaningful boundaries and new expectations for parenting.
Therapy gives you an opportunity to become mindful and parent in a way that is consistent with your values, offering a chance for growth and fulfillment. As you learn to be curious about your anxiety rather than avoid it, you can accept parenting stress as a normal—and manageable—part of life. I want you to have fun in this part of your life too!
Perhaps You’re A Mom Or Dad In Need Of Counseling, But You’re Not Sure If Therapy Is Right For You…
The idea of talking about my family/myself in therapy makes me uncomfortable.
Even though therapy might seem like a scary prospect, it’s important for parents to create time and space throughout the week to learn skills for stress management and coping with anxiety. That way, moms and dads can use therapy as an opportunity to live in accordance with their values while combating parental anxiety and exhaustion.
I tailor therapy for parents to meet the individual needs of each client. If you don’t know where to start and prefer a more directive approach to counseling, let me know, and I will adjust our sessions accordingly.
I’m already struggling with overwhelm and anxiety—how can I possibly make time for therapy?
The stress of parenthood can be very overwhelming. That’s why I aim to make therapy for parents as accessible and easy as possible. I offer online counseling to clients in 25 states and will do my best to accommodate your scheduling needs. If you have specific limitations, please let me know during our consultation.
Do you see mothers struggling with perinatal or postpartum depression and mood disorders?
I maintain a focus on parenting stress and anxiety—not perinatal or postpartum mood disorders. If you are experiencing perinatal/postpartum distress or the “baby blues,” I encourage you to seek a therapist who has specialized training in those fields. Depending on where you live, I may know of resources that can help.
You Can Parent In Accordance With Your Values
If parenting anxiety affects your relationships and ability to manage stress, therapy can help you understand how your early experiences and the things your mind tells you have shaped your approach to childrearing.
To schedule a free consultation or to learn more about how I can help, please contact me or call (713) 844-8492.