Poor Parenting and The Dynamics Behind it

Poor Parenting and The Dynamics Behind it If you think the scariest hood to be in is Parenthood, then you’re right, but there’s a way to make Parenthood a little less scary. A lot of people ask for parenting advice or have parenting questions and poor parenting concerns. This is not just me as a psychiatrist, talking to you, I’m also a parent, and I really believe that parents help parents. Parenting isn’t about a checklist of how to do something right. It’s hard to know when you’ve gone off course, and, if you’re off course, it’s hard to know how to get back on course. If parents help each other out, then we’re helping our whole community and our entire society. I do have adult kids, and I can empathize greatly. I have been through a lot of the struggles that you’ve been through with my patients, my clients, and in my personal life. What are the dynamics behind poor parenting? We hear different names such as a helicopter parent, snowplow parent, and I have a phrase I’ve used for a long time called tractor-trailer parents.  There is a lot of people who are afraid they are one of those parents or worried they’re going to become one of those parents. I always start any session or any treatment by stating, if you understand why poor parenting is happening, then you can stop it. It’s important to understand what’s going on, to see the patterns behind the poor parenting, and to come to realize it’s not what you want to be doing. If you don’t understand the patterns, the dynamics,  and what’s going on underneath; it’s a lot less likely you’re going to figure out what’s wrong and where to go that’s better. The dynamics of the controlling parent The dynamics of the controlling parent, in general, this is the issue here. It’d be easy to say controlling parents are control freaks. That’s part of it because nobody likes to feel out of control and certainly parents don’t want to feel out of control. Parents may fear if they’re losing control, that’s making them a bad parent. Parents are, by definition in control when their kids are not. So it makes sense that control plays a role in all these different parenting issues or problems. It’s not just a lack of loss of control that parents are fighting when …

Common Problems with Blended Families

The Three Biggest Parenting Mistakes in Blended Families Divorce and remarriage are significant life events, and when those changes also involve kids, the stakes multiply for everyone. Many couples, of course, create happy blended families with lasting bonds, while others face challenges their marriage cannot withstand. What’s the difference? Learn about the three most common and biggest mistakes parents make when blending their new families, and what it takes to avoid them. Mistake #1: Allowing step-parents to discipline their step-kids Overstepping disciplinary boundaries is, by far, one of the most common problems with blended families that I see. In some cases, parents want the blended family to function just as the original family did. In others, biological parents feel overwhelmed by the demands of parenting and want a partner to share the responsibility. Some others worry that if a parent does not discipline a child, the child will not respect them. But here’s the bottom line: Disciplinary decisions are the sole responsibility of the child’s biological parents. Step-parents have no disciplinary role. Here’s why: By the time we start disciplining our biological kids, we’ve had years to develop a relationship with them. Over the years, that closeness helps balance the inevitable distancing that follows discipline. In other words, a healthy relationship helps cushion the blow of discipline. When a step-parent disciplines a step-child without that relationship cushion, they are bound to alienate that child forever. The parent-child relationship required for healthy and effective discipline takes years to develop and cannot be rushed. Mistake #2: “Pushing” relationships It’s a natural instinct to try and force the new family members to like each other. A divorced mother wants her kids to like her new husband. A divorced dad wants his kids to like their new step-siblings. A new step-father wants his wife’s kids to like him. However, parents must remember they cannot force their kids to like anyone, including a step-parent, step-sibling, or an ex-spouse. After all, this change in family circumstance was not the child’s choice. Instead of pushing relationships, maintain as many of the old family routines as possible while everyone learns to adjust. Emphasize respect and allow relationships to grow at their own speed. Blending new families can be a long process. It is filled with trial and error. The more parents can maintain stability for their kids, the better it is for everyone to adjust in both the …

Letting Go of Adult Children

Letting Go of Adult Children: How to Get to the Other Side of the Grief   Letting go of adult children can be extremely challenging. Some time ago, I spoke with a mother who was having a terrible time with her adult daughter. Her daughter was in her early twenties, living at home. The tension between the parents and child was becoming too much to bear. It was straining to the point of almost breaking what had long been a beautiful relationship.   She fought with her daughter regularly, nagging at her for not getting out of bed until noon and criticizing her for not being more helpful around the house. In essence, she stayed in her role as a parent to a young child while expecting her daughter to act more maturely.   When talking about her struggles, I used a phrase I often use with those who have lost a loved one. I spoke of “getting to the other side of the grief.” Rather than staying stuck on this side of grief, I talked about how rewarding one’s relationship with their adult child can be. To get there, however, parents have to walk through letting go of adult children, letting their kids make their own mistakes and find their paths. My patients breakthrough Today, my patient’s daughter no longer lives at home. She gave her daughter a deadline by which she had to move out and stuck to it. She grieved the entire time; watching her daughter move on was awfully painful. Now, however, she says she’s catching more and more glimpses of her daughter as an adult. They can discuss future career options and have even begun to collaborate on ideas for decorating her apartment.   Of course, allowing her daughter to grow up wasn’t a smooth transition. As my patient put it, letting go was “horrendously painful.” But she recognizes now that without forcing herself to walk through that pain, to “get to the other side of the grief,” they’d still be where they were, arguing and combative and deeply unhappy about their relationship.   Nowadays, many more children live with their parents into adulthood   It’s not an unfamiliar story. Many more children live with their parents into adulthood today than they did even twenty years ago. For many, the decision is primarily financial, and with proper respect for healthy boundaries, such arrangements can work …

Setting Boundaries

Good Boundaries Make Good Relationships A lot of people may think boundaries are mean because they view them as a separating thing. Another way people may view them is as “rules.” It’s important to know that boundaries are very critical in a good relationship, but they are not meant to separate or set rules. What they are intended for is to help people understand, what works for you and what doesn’t. Boundaries let people know when they’re intruding. Nice Ways to Set up Boundaries When setting boundaries with others: Kindly set the boundary Know the different levels Enforce them with constructive aggression What happens when somebody dismisses a boundary? Or when they don’t acknowledge or care about the boundary? When someone doesn’t respect your boundary, use constructive aggression to make sure you are being taken seriously. For example saying, “when you talk about that subject, it bothers me.” When stating this, it is setting up a boundary by letting the other person know that the subject they are speaking of, bother’s you. If the other person responds with something similar to, “It’s no big deal,” enforcing your boundary by replying with “I know you don’t understand it, but this is really important to me.” This lets the other person know that you are serious, and this boundary is just that, a BOUNDARY. Setting Boundaries in a Relationship People suffer for years or wait for a crisis to seek help. But once they get the support, they often wonder, “why didn’t I start this sooner?” No one can read anyone’s mind; that is why setting boundaries and communicating them to others is essential. Do not expect your partner to read your mind, be sure to inform your partner. In a relationship, when one person starts setting boundaries, a lot of the time, the partner starts getting better at setting them too. To learn more, go to https://drldabney.com/free-relationship-advice-articles/ where you will find free self-help articles.

Avoid the Holiday Meltdown

  Want to know how to Avoid the holiday meltdown this year? We’re talking about the holiday meltdown to hopefully set in new habits for the next holiday. People struggle with the holidays because they’re so focused on pleasing others. There’s this fantasy that you’re going to hurt somebody, or someone is going to be angry or upset because you didn’t give them what they wanted. Children need to learn that they’re not going to get everything they want for the rest of their lives, and adults should certainly be able to handle this. Let go of that fantasy, and see what really happens. How to Handle the Holiday Meltdown Start talking about the problem or the holiday meltdown in advance. Ask yourself, how the holiday went last year and what you can do now, to avoid the holiday going bad. People get stuck in thinking they have to do a tradition or they’re going to feel bad later. You can not fix a future problem later. The thought process, ” If I don’t see them now, then I am going to feel bad or guilty later.” You are going to feel guilty and sad later because that is a part of life. What Causes the Holiday Meltdown? There are feelings that people have labeled as bad, and feelings that people have labeled as good. There is no such thing. Anger, sadness, neediness are all normal. If you already have issues with these feelings, during the holidays they will get worse. If you think you can’t feel sad any other day of the week, you’re definitely going to think you shouldn’t feel sad during the holidays. That is nonsense, feelings don’t take a hiatus during the holidays. You have to allow yourself the time to process that emotion, whatever the enemy emotion is. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying, I am going to go take a walk, or a nap, to get that feeling processed. If you can do this in advance, even better! Be Prepared Maybe you get sad about the loss of a parent every holiday, or a child who can’t come home. Go ahead and say this in advance to your family members. Such as, “It turns out I get sad during the holidays, I am going to go ahead and take a break on Christmas Eve to have some time for myself.” Get this all …