Parents come to see me looking for help with healing family relationships. They are often worried about their children’s challenging behaviours, concerned their child has signs of ADHD, dyslexia and other learning difficulties.
What if I said the behaviour is your child’s way of seeking connection?
I believe all behaviour has meaning. Rather than labelling, or diagnosing a child, I help parents to change the behaviour by looking beneath it and address the cause. The aim is lifelong change for your whole family.
The child’s behaviour is just the tip of the iceberg. What we see is the behaviour, but the “why” is hidden beneath the water, in family stories, often going back for generations. It’s not unusual to see a child with dyslexia, for example, and have a parent, and grandparent say “I had reading difficulties too”.
We are all born into a family story. This story began generations ago, and will continue long after we are gone.
Family members, throughout the generations, share an emotional connection. Whatever affects one family member will also affect everyone else, especially young children. The behaviours we see in today’s children do not belong to the child alone. They didn’t start with them, and they are not “bad” kids. Our children are simply bringing deeper issues to our attention.
Of course, family strengths are also passed down through the generations. You might also have some lovely family traditions, memories, and stories to pass on to your children.
It’s Never Too Late
It’s never too late to change, and therapy can help you to break the cycle. We can’t change the past, but we can learn from and make sense of it.
The key to addressing the child’s behaviours often lies in exploring the family attachment history, processing our own childhood emotional wounding.
The good news is that when we work on ourselves, and our own emotional triggers, our children’s behaviours naturally improve.
My approach is Based on Attachment Science
Our attachment style begins with the emotional connection we experience as children. We take this pattern with us into our adult relationships, and it is interwoven with our parenting. We often parent the way we were parented.
These patterns of attachment can be traced back through your family history, becoming stronger with successive generations, until someone says “It stops here”.
Maybe you would like to do things differently? We can start by looking at the science of attachment, or how we relate to others.
Maybe you can identify with some of these attachment styles? They are divided into two types, secure and insecure.
As a child:
- You felt safe, secure and understood
As a parent:
- You are able to read signals in your children’s behaviours, and can respond appropriately
- You communicate your emotions openly, and are emotionally resilient
However, for many of us, this is not the case, and we struggle to read our children’s behavioural cues. Many of us also find our children’s behaviours trigger us emotionally.
If this is you, you are not alone, and probably had an insecure form of childhood attachment.
As a child:
- Your emotional needs were misunderstood or ignored
- You felt unseen, and that no-one really “ got” you
As an adult:
- You struggle with the emotional needs of others
- You feel uncomfortable with too much closeness
- You communicate with your intellect, rather than your emotions
- Your children are likely to have an avoidant attachment
As a child:
- Your life was full of insecurity and chaos
- Your carers were sometimes available, and sometimes not
As an adult:
- You need ongoing reassurance
- You worry about rejection and abandonment
- Your children are likely to have an anxious attachment
As a child:
- Your carers were threatening, dangerous, frightened or frightening
As an adult:
- You cannot tolerate closeness
- You struggle to control your emotions
- Your children often develop a disorganised attachment
Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy can Help
If you feel you grew up with an insecure pattern of attachment, the good news is that secure attachment can be learned.
When I meet a client I like to look at their personal biography, as well as their family history. We can generally follow patterns of relating going back to traumatic events experienced by past generations.
Family therapy can be offered to individuals, couples as well as extended family members. Relationship conflict happens at all ages and stages of life. Resolution comes from unfolding and processing emotional wounding from the past.
Making sense of your own lives can liberate you to become the parent that you have always wanted to be. As you grow in awareness and understanding, you can also find compassion for the emotional challenges you have inherited. It didn’t start with you.
Changes in children’s behaviour happen automatically. They feel safer and more secure in relationship to their caregivers, as you learn how to tune-in to their needs. You may also find positive changes in your adult relationships too, building a closer connection based on mutual understanding.
We don’t have to let our pasts dominate our future. The good news is that the work you do today is changing the future for not only your children, but also your children’s children
As a psychologist said to me over 20 years ago, when I began my own journey of self-discovery, “We don’t do it for ourselves, we do it for our children”.
Your Next Step
Your child’s challenging behaviours have their roots in your family history of attachment. Talking to your counsellor can help you to make sense of this.
The aim is lifelong change through building closer connections, and helping you to create the family life you really want.
Many parents have been helped to create a secure attachment with their children through the internationally recognised Circle of Security Parenting Program. This is available to parents, either individually or as a couple, at a day/time to suit you.
If you would like to be your family cycle-breaker, call Rosalind on 0474095432, or click the link to book your free discovery call.
Download my free E-book Tips for Raising Happy, Healthy Children
A PACFA accredited Holistic Counsellor and Psychotherapist, Rosalind is also a Registered NDIS Provider, Circle of Security Facilitator and approved Victims Services Counsellor.
Sessions are available in person at Moruya South Head, and online via zoom.