Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Therapeutic Parenting

Therapeutic parenting is purposeful parenting with the intent of helping a traumatized child heal through the relationship. The trauma may have happened because of previous parents, an event or serious of events, or as a result of typical changes in family life like divorce, moving, or birth of siblings. The healing parent first needs to understand themselves, their own childhood hurts, their thoughts and feelings about children and parenting, and develop an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses. Much like flying, put the oxygen mask on yourself and then put it on your child. The therapeutic parent is the change agent; the number one tool of change is empathy; and the medium through which change happens is the relationship. We develop, improve, and repair a parent-child relationship in which the child can feel felt and heard, understood and accepted. From this safe base, the parent (with a therapist or not) helps the child explore the traumatic material so that its stressful impacts on behavior and functioning no longer have the same effects. Healing parents use affection and play to build and repair the relationship and structure and supervision to reduce anxiety. It splits the parts of parenting in two; joining with the child as a nurturing consultant then providing teaching lessons that last.