Parenting can be challenging from the early childhood to teenage years (and beyond!), particularly with children who have emotional, behavioral, and/or developmental challenges. You may be wondering if your child or teen’s behavior is “normal” and if they might benefit from therapy. Or perhaps your child is resistant to the idea of therapy, or seems too young to benefit, but you know that they and you need help. You might need guidance on how to communicate and respond more effectively to your child or teen’s challenging behavior or want additional support to cope with your own stress, anxiety, or frustration related to parenting. To address these concerns and more, Georgetown Psychology offers both parenting consultation and parenting work, also known as parent training.
As no two families are the same, our approach is tailored to address the unique needs of each family. Our goal is to provide a safe environment to explore both the challenges you are encountering as a parent and the frustrations your child may be feeling, as well as to capitalize on the strengths that your child and you as a parent already possess. This can take the form of a one-time consultation or regular parenting sessions, or can be done in conjunction with your child/teen’s own individual therapy.
Common Goals of Parenting Work/Consultation:
- Obtain psychoeducation and support around your child/teen’s specific emotional, behavioral, and/or developmental challenges and needs
- Learn skills and strategies that utilize positive reinforcement, structure, boundary setting, and consistent discipline (behavior management)
- Create routines to help your household function more smoothly
- Interact with your child/teen in more positive ways so that time spent together is more pleasant and can translate into behavior change
- Communicate more effectively and solve problems more collaboratively with your child/teen
- Respond more effectively when your child/teen is having a “meltdown” or crisis
- Learn how to validate your child or teen’s feelings or experience even when you don’t agree
- Support your child/teen in practicing skills from their own individual therapy
- Learn tools and strategies to manage your own stress and frustration that arises in parenting
Common Emotional/Behavioral Issues Addressed:
Parents encounter a wide range of behaviors – some easy to understand, others a bit more complex and sometimes frustrating. In every case, there are underlying factors, both emotional and physical, that can play a contributing role. Some of the more common types of behavior we are asked to assist parents with include:
- Defiance and behavioral noncompliance to even the smallest request can quickly add up in a household and may rapidly escalate to a pattern of contentious parent-child interactions. Parents often wonder how to set and follow through with limits while also remaining warm and nurturing.
- Pervasive and unrealistic worries, fears, or anxiety can negatively impact a child’s performance across settings, often resulting in avoidance or refusal of either enjoyable or necessary activities of daily life. This can have an impact on the entire family as a whole. Parents often wonder how to respond to their child or teen’s distress without accommodating or enabling their anxiety.
- Inattention, distractibility and disorganization can contribute to difficulties in following morning routines, keeping track of schoolwork, staying on task, and beyond. Parents frequently struggle with how to balance being supportive while also promoting their child or teen’s independence.
- Emotional dysregulation can lead to impulsivity, frequent meltdowns or temper tantrums, low frustration-tolerance, fluctuating moods including sadness and depression, aggression, self-harm, or other concerning behaviors. Parents often can see firsthand how their child or teen’s difficulties with emotional control impact relationships and behavior across settings. Knowing how to respond when your child or teen is escalating or amid a full-blown meltdown or crisis can be incredibly challenging when everyone’s emotions are heightened.