There’s a ton of pressure on parents and caregivers to meet every need. Sometimes shame around not being able to do so prevents families from reaching out for the support they need.
But here’s the thing- parents aren’t meant to meet every need. You can’t soften every blow or soothe every disappointment- but you can listen and validate.
Kids with caregivers who give them permission to feel big feelings and support in managing those feelings are kids with tools to able to become adults who can regulate emotions and find resiliency in the face of crisis.
If you feel overwhelmed by your child’s big feelings or find yourself battling shame in your parenting, checking in and getting a little support from a therapist can make a huge difference.
Image description for screen readers:
The image is of a sketch note, written in blue on a white background. The header of the image reads, “Notes from Family Therapy.”
Trauma from the past is always part of the present.
If someone has a HUGE response to something small… Consider: it may be a trauma response.
If so, logic won’t help.
Care will. Care soothes. Care calms. Care grounds.
Just recognizing and gently naming the presence of trauma can build trust and reduce conflict.
Try the magic phrase of validation: “Of course…”
Of course you feel sad.
Of course that’s frustrating.
Of course you are upset right now.
Parents are not meant to meet every need.
We are meant to learn to self-soothe, which we can’t learn if all our needs are met and our problems fixed.
Parents and partners don’t need to offer resolution. Just awareness and validation.
I'm Lindsay- a Seattle-based artist, therapist, educator, and visual translator working to help make mental health education accessible to everyone. I write, draw, and create resources based on my experience as a therapist and my Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology. Learn more about me.