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A shout out to parents

Full disclosure, I was not the greatest parent, falling well below the standards of most of the client’s parents I have served so far, yet I feel compelled to share with you some things I have learned from my mistakes as well as from the experiences I have had while serving families in the community. My daughter Ashley was a typical teen living in a single family home with a mother who had many issues of her own, yet even in the midst of my own dysfunction I wanted the best for my daughter. Looking back now I had the best intentions and Ashley was linked with a wonderful therapist named Carolyn. Upon our first meeting I was thrilled to meet Carolyn and to have found someone to help my troubled daughter, yet Ashley was not buying it and adamantly proclaimed in the four letter word variety her disdain to this lovely woman. With Carolyn’s direction I continued to take Ashley to her sessions weekly and even though it was often chaotic trying to convince her to go, I stood my ground. Weeks passed by and I began to notice a change in Ashley’s behavior, not necessarily towards me, but something was different. I was asked to come in for a family session where Ashley began to share with me how my behavior had affected her and I was taken aback by the assault as I was not the one who needed help! Instead of accepting Ashley’s feelings as her own and not taking it personally, I began to adamantly defend my position. Looking back, whoa, what a complete fail! I could not understand at the time why Carolyn was allowing my child to confront me in this way, yet today I know what was happening. Ashley needed an ally, an ear, a confidant, and a mentor to walk with her along her path of growth. Me, I wasn’t available and certainly not skilled as a parent. Working with teens, particularly the rather difficult ones, today I think back to that time when Ashley was in therapy and how I would have done things differently. From the moment I met Carolyn I knew she would help Ashley, I felt it in my gut. Asking for her assistance in finding my own therapist could have possibly enhanced my understanding as well as asked for or been open to parenting skills. Most of all I wish I would have had the maturity and open mindedness to listen to what my daughter was saying, meeting her with an open heart. Today I have matured, remained teachable, and have a relationship with my own therapist. These things are essential as I have the opportunity to listen as well as hear the wild and willy teens I serve in the present.


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