I have heard this frustration from parents frequently and have a great deal of empathy for them. They are really struggling to be the best parent’s they can be and help their child feel and do better. Be happier and perhaps even calmer. I provide Family therapy in Toronto/Richmond Hill. I help parents understand and really hear what the emotional needs of their children may be.

Where do these Emotional Needs Arise?

One of the biggest things we forget as Parents, (and I say this because I am a parent and have been there) is, When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, It is our job to share our calm, not to join their chaos. – L.R. Knost

Children do not yet have the ability to self-regulate their emotions.  When they experience frustration, sadness or other strong emotions, they can only react in a way they feel helps them expel that pent up energy. This pent up energy causes them to feel out of control of their environment.

If and when a child is in an environment of business, stress, parental- marital strain, their brains can not process their environment effectively. Many parents work a lot and do not have much extra time for a lot of attunement with their child. This lack of attunement can lead to the child attempting to control their environment through undesirable behaviours. A child attempting to control their environment  is a very normal way for a child to feel secure, and even safe. (By the way, we have all been in the above mentioned positions at some point).

Usually, that pent up energy shows up in either hyper-active type behavior or in anger which is usually joined by aggression.

This is something I think parents really need to understand, and why they should seek family therapy in Toronto.

The Emotions your Child Might be Experiencing

The emotion that is actually present when children are having these “negative” type of behaviours is actually SADNESS.

Sadness is the actual felt emotion but it is rare when a child will say, “Mommy, I am feeling very sad right because you are too busy and I need more time with you, can I please have a hug and can you hold me until I tell you I have had enough connection?”

Our children just cannot articulate those feelings at a young age.  It is up to us as attuned and securely attached parents to ask the right questions.

How to Take Control

Family Therapy in Toronto - kid with paint

You can take a child from a raging, yelling, out of control little person, to a calm, deeply breathing and gently expressive being in a minute flat.  When they know they can count on you to keep them safe and secure, even from their own selves, they can regulate their inner experience so quickly. In the Family therapy Toronto division of my practice I assist families with how to learn these new important skills.

They are really just reaching out and saying, “Does somebody see me? Hear me? Am I safe and am I okay?”

They need to know that even when they make a “bad choice or have a bad behavior”, they can count on you to address the behavior, not them “being a bad boy/girl.”

We as parents must address their “Being-ness”, separately from their “doing-ness”.

When we say “You are being such a bad girl!” we are effectively telling them that who they are as a ‘person” is bad or wrong. In this case the child hears that there is something wrong with them, and this is where the devastating base of Shame develops.

If ever you are in need of professional Psychotherapy in Toronto or in particular, Family therapy in Toronto to assist with parenting or to help with familial relationships, then please, look no further than Psychotherapy with Shelley.