For parents at their wit's end...
Dear Overwhelmed Parent,
Are you the parent or primary caregiver of a child between the ages of 2 - 17 who's having parenting challenges with your child, your partner or yourself? Or are you at your wit's end and just wishing you know what was happening with your child? Could you use some support?
Let’s start with five questions to see if I might be a fit to help you, OK?
Question #1: Does your child have more extreme, frequent or longer lasting behavioral reactions that seem like they are out of proportion to what is actually happening?
Question #2: Do you find yourself in a power struggle with your child more than 50% of the time when it comes to any of the following?
*Getting out the door
Question #3: Have you struggled for three months or more around any of the following issues?
*Your child won’t listen to you.
*Your child has become withdrawn and won’t talk to you.
*Your child has become increasingly aggressive toward you.
*The kids are constantly fighting with each other
*There are frequent tantrums, whining & crying
*You can’t enjoy being together as a family
*More severe behaviors have started to emerge - like Lying, Stealing or Cutting
Question #4: Do sticker charts, time-outs, and consequences make things worse?
Question #5: Do you often feel undermined or unsupported by your partner (current or ex) when it comes to handling your child's behavior?
If you answered, “Yes” to at least 2 of the above questions, then there’s a good chance that I might be able to help.
Perhaps the most important thing I can underscore here is this:
You're not alone!
As I said, perhaps the most important thing I can underscore here is this:
You're not alone.
But many parents feel like they are.
They don’t realize how many other parents are struggling on their own, without support, when their kids’ behavior is driving them to their wit’s end and they have no idea what to do next.
Parenting is hard enough without the thought that ‘all other parents have got this figured out’.
In my professional experience, having worked with hundreds of other parents over the past decade in workshops and one on one in depth, coaching...No they don’t.
Most parents I meet are deeply struggling. As they fall asleep at night, they say to themselves…
“I’ll be more patient tomorrow."
"I’ll try harder not to yell."
"I can’t even do the one job I’m supposed to do."
For what it’s worth: I believe you could not (and should not) be trying harder.
Trying harder and harder to keep doing the same thing without understanding what’s driving your child’s behavior is like running harder and harder into the same wall. It not only becomes more and more frustrating and exhausting, it can give you a really big headache and actually make things worse.
Action without understanding is like sticking a band aid on your child’s cut without assessing what caused it and getting your doctor’s opinion about whether it needs stitches or antibiotics to treat it before you put on the band aid. It might help once in a while. But in other cases, no matter how many band-aids you put on, things will keep getting worse, if you don’t treat the underlying cause.
But maybe it’s just a phase…
Often parents wonder if their child is just going through a phase. In my experience, if a negative behavior has gone on more than 3 months, it’s no longer just a phase. Even if it started as a developmental phase, it’s on its way to becoming a negative coping skill rather than a positive life skill.
Let me tell you a bit of my story…
I found myself in a consuming, exhausting, and seemingly inexplicable power struggles with my child that began in 3rd grade. No one else seemed to be going through what I was. This struggle created chaos at home and was hard on the whole family.
I’d like to say it was just a phase, but it wasn’t. The voices of conventional wisdom kept saying, “Your kid just needs to do what they’re supposed to do,” and “Take away enough things that matter to them and your child will do what you want.” It sounded so simple, but something inside me knew that wasn’t the right solution. Believe me, if that was going to work on my kid, it would have already happened! Even though I didn’t yet know what was right for my child, I did know that conventional wisdom was wrong for my child and I continued to quest for answers.
My child became more and more oppositional and unreachable until, by the time they were 18, it felt like there was an uncrossable chasm between us. Then I found a friend who shared similar struggles. For the first time, I felt I wasn’t alone. She introduced me to a new understanding of child behavior through the eyes of stress, brain science and emotional regulation. I came to see that my child’s behavior wasn’t a matter of “wouldn’t,” but a matter of “couldn’t.” My heart opened and the years of struggle began to make sense. It felt like a lightbulb going on in the dark. I became their ally rather than their adversary and began the work of repairing our relationship. Fifteen years later we enjoy a wonderful relationship we are so grateful to have.
Hi, I'm Kathy
I’m a registered nurse, trauma-informed behavior specialist, mom & grammy. Over the past 10 years of working with parents, one of the things I hear most often is, “It feels good to know I’m not alone.”
As a struggling parent of 3, I felt very alone. It seemed like no one else was having the challenges I was having with my kids. I was exhausted and overwhelmed much of the time. It took years for things to begin to turn around at home for me, and it was only because I finally connected to the right support. As a result, I was finally able to make sense of my child’s behavior & feel confident about being the parent my child needed.
If loving your child and trying hard were enough, you’d already be the parent you want to be. Because, dear parent, you could not be trying harder!
We’re conditioned in our culture, to believe we're supposed to be able to do it all. If we can’t, we're conditioned to feel shame. This has led to an epidemic of perfectionism. Doing it all ourselves could not be further from the truth of how we're wired biologically. We were never meant to do this parenting thing in isolation or without support.
Here’s the thing...
I believe we must move toward a parent-centric approach and away from a child-centric approach to parenting. Why? Because I believe parents are the most effective agents of change in a family. They hold the real power through their relationship with their child. That's why I support, educate and empower parent and caregivers to be their best parenting tool.
Brain Science and a larger understanding of family dynamics are not typically part of many popular child-centric parenting techniques. In other words, you ARE doing your best but I believe you may be missing a key piece of the parenting puzzle - that behavior is communication.
Let me give that a minute to sink in because it’s radical - Behavior is communication. It’s your child’s first language. This understanding is what allows me to help parents in situations that have felt utterly hopeless and impossible to them.
With Child-Centric approaches, the keys to change are put in the child’s hands. They’re rooted in ‘trying to get your kid to do what you want them to do’ and often use techniques that utilize rewards and consequences to motivate a child’s behavior, even though these techniques are not effective with stress-sensitive kids and have been shown to negatively affect self-esteem.
The Parent-Centric approach build's on your strengths as a parent, and places the keys to change in the your hands and in the power of the relationship. It’s rooted in ‘understanding what your child’s behavior is telling you' so you can learn to respond rather than react.
What is No-Yell™ Parenting?
First - It's not about never yelling! It's about learning to be in a state where you feel calm and confident about your parenting choices. Think of it like a parenting GPS, the guiding principles of which lie at the intersection of brain science, attachment theory, family dynamics and parents' inner wisdom. It sets you up to nurture a relationship with your child that will take you through the teen years and beyond.
The 7 Principles of Parent-Centric parenting are as follows:
Connection matters more than perfection.
The better you do, the better your child does.
Your child wants to please you.
Behavior is an SOS, not an attack.
Small changes lead to big results.
What you focus on increases
Families are dynamic systems where all members affect each other.
You’re here because you love your child and want to be the best parent you can be. You’re also here because you’re struggling, and worried about whether your child will be OK down the road.
Perhaps you’re frustrated by advice from books, peers, blogs and friends, that doesn’t seem to work on your child and you don’t know what to do next.
Perhaps you feel confident about some things but uncertain about how to hand other things and you want to go deeper into knowing how to be an even better parent.
If any of this sounds familiar, then you’re in the right place to try something different. So, I’d like to formally invite you to consider signing up for...
Parenting Support Consultation:
What is it? A 55 minute one-on-one session by phone or Zoom designed to set you up to successfully move toward the change you're wanting at home.
How much does it cost? My fee for this session is $140.
Why do I offer them? They are my way of meeting you and giving you a chance to get some immediate help, empathy, and relief.
If we click and I want to work more with you, what are my options? After I get a better picture of your family situation, I'll let you know what the range of options are to work together and recommend what I think would best support you and your family.
What To Expect From Your Consultation:
Here is a general sense of how the flow of the session will go:
Identify your top parenting challenges
Explore the impact of these challenges on your family
Get really clear about your personal goals and intentions for the change you want
Have the opportunity to feel heard by your partner and to listen to them (if applicable)
Learn about my parent-centric philosophy (and have time to ask questions about it).
Begin to make sense of your kids’ behavior so you can see a path to helping them.
Determine if we would be the right fit to work together
Connect you to the best resources (mine or others' I trust) to help you move forward.
I hope to meet you soon.
Simply put your information in the box below to request your Child Behavior Consultation. I'll be in touch by email within 24 hours so we can find a time that works to connect!
PS: If one-on-one coaching seems unavailable to you, but you need support, PLEASE reach out to me. . I know of many free or low cost resources (my own and others' I trust) that I would be happy to share with you.