A famous quote by Carl Jung is, “Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.” Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist best known for his theories on personality, raised five children, which may have been his proudest accomplishment. Jung understood that setting an example for your children is the best way to teach them. However, being a parent can be rewarding but it is also challenging. Therefore, parental counseling can be a helpful service for parents, that aims to give the necessary tools, direction, knowledge, and support in an objective, healthy manner without making them concerned about being judged.
Parents who receive parental counseling are better able to care for their families, particularly their children. But if you are not familiar with the term counseling, the APA defines it as n. professional assistance in coping with personal problems, including emotional, behavioral, vocational, marital, educational, rehabilitation, and life-stage (for example, retirement) problems. Active listening, direction, counsel, discussion, clarification, and test administration are some of the techniques the counselor employs.
Elizabeth Gilbert once said having a child is like getting a tattoo on your face, you better be committed. This saying eventually shows why anyone would need parental counseling.
Why is parental counseling important and who needs it?
Here are the answers that come to mind after that question:
1. Suffering from health problems
Health problems like mental health issues or physical health issues can make it difficult for parents to act like their normal selves and be distant from their children.
2. Help in managing parental anxiety
Parents are often concerned about their child’s health and future. This is natural but can cause anxiety and fear. Parental counseling can help deal with such matters.
3. Coping with loss
Losing a loved one such as a child or spouse, marriage, or a job can be mentally disturbing for parents and their children.
4. Issues with children
Any problem that might be affecting their children. For example, if they are being bullied at school or unable to make friends for certain reasons. Sometimes it can be hard to understand your child which can cause stress, especially when dealing with teenagers.
5. Anger issues or experiencing abuse
Anger, fear, and tension can rise in the home because of any abuse the parent has faced. Anger, apathy, and hatred can all develop in children too after observing such behaviors by parents. Additionally, some youngsters might develop into aggressors.
6. Separation or divorce
Due to undergoing separation or divorce children might have unstable family relationships and move from one parent to another. This way the child might try to find the missing parent figure in others. Separation or divorce can be stressful and causes instability. Being a single parent can be tiring, leaving less to no time for themselves and their children.
7. Substance abuse
Abusing illegal substances such as drugs and alcohol can affect mental health, the family’s financial stability, or marital relationships as well.
Check out our post on The Myth And The Truth About Therapy
Why do we need parental counseling in India?
In a country like India, mental health is still taboo. Slowly with time people have started to understand and normalize talking about mental health or going for therapies. Terms like ‘therapy’ and ‘counseling’ are not valued much, it is a privilege.
Most of the people in the current generation have learned parenting more traditionally. Conflicts can occur in any relationship and a counselor can help find the sources of conflict and try to resolve them. Parenting also requires guidance and parental counseling helps do so. Parents can better understand their parenting styles and face and ultimately overcome their issues to improve family harmony and peace through programs like co-parenting counseling, couples counseling, divorce adjustment therapy, anger management, and counseling.
All parent groups can benefit from these interventions, including those who are dealing with aggression and abuse, marital problems, separation, etc. Today’s parenting is more collaborative and has moved away from the traditional notion that “Fathers know best” and authoritative upbringing is best.
In the early years, children imitate their parent’s behavior. Parents’ actions are more significant than their words, which makes parental counseling even more beneficial in order to adapt to changes.
Some benefits of parental counseling can be:
1. A better understanding of parenting style
Helps you understand your parenting style and its pros and cons.
2. Conflict resolving
Helps in resolving conflict by finding its source and helping resolve them.
3. Understanding their child better
Helps in understanding children, especially teenagers. Parent counseling can help in communicating with your child without shaming them in any way for needing help.
4. Building a strong foundation for the child
By learning and guidance from experts you can build a strong foundation for your child so that they excel in the future.
Going to counseling can be seen as a sign of weakness and portray the idea of failing as a parent, but that is not true. Parental counseling is a wonderful tool for those parents who really want to develop a loving relationship with their children, especially when the child or the parents themselves are in need of support. It is also a sign of compassion that parents should show themselves, because children learn self-love and self-care from their parents. An ideal parent is not someone who does not fail but who acknowledges the shortcoming and works to improve it.
There’s no such thing as a perfect parent. So, just be a real one.Sue Atkins