Parenting Tools

Children are born with temperament and some are easier to work with than others. This is the other relationship that has the potential to lead us into poorly thought out and self-defeating behaviors. There are perhaps three children parents can respond to. They are 1. The child you wanted or expected, 2. The child you actually received, or 3. The child you were. Sometimes I hear a parent say that they were deprived of a particular experience as a child and now they are intent on seeing to it that their child doesn’t go without that experience.

Very young children think their parents are God and it is your job to be as gracious and graceful of a God as you can be. Then, later, they realize you aren’t God, but you are their hero and your job is to be as gracious and graceful of a hero as you can be. As they get even older and go through puberty, they may see you as their jailor and your job is to be as graceful and gracious of a jailor as you can be. Often we can tell a child what to do but sometimes with teens, it is a matter of negotiation to gain reasonable compliance.

Children have an unavoidable mandate to grow up and become an individual (or to individuate). That may mean that in order to differentiate themselves from their parents, they may feel the need to adopt a style of dress that is at odds with family expectations. They may develop a language style that parents don’t understand and music that irritate and alienates adults. This can all be in the service of establishing themselves as their own person and not a copy or a clone of their parents. Sometimes there is a tension during adolescence that can be unsettling. I can help reduce that tension to tolerable levels.
  • Learn about.....
  • Responding to mistakes
  • Family communication
  • Introjects
  • Why Kids treat other parents better than
  • They treat their own
  • Parenting tools (if your only tool is a hammer, every
  • problem looks like a nail!)
  • The danger of retaliation

About Charles Gustafson

Charles L. Gustafson has been a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 1973. He offers a combination of interactive psychotherapy and educational information in his approach to counseling.