Parenting is a unique aspect of life: in no other endeavor do we so ardently hope to be experts from the start, with no preparation or training. And there is probably no single task that is more important.
Even in the most stable families there are tensions, misunderstandings, and arguments, not even to mention tantrums and fights in which everyone behaves poorly. Plus, there are the external stressors: children bully or are being bullied, academic performance falls victim to social demands, “experimentation” with alcohol or drugs looks like a harmless right of passage one day, a disaster the next. The list of possible challenges is endless, and the stress on the parents is enormous.
Parents of adolescents often cannot anticipate what will set off an “attitude attack.” Or why their son or daughter would not engage in a conversation with them for days or weeks at a time. And it is hard to know how to approach the problems. Some teenagers want to go to therapy, others resent the idea, and still others take the suggestion to go for help as a verdict that they are “crazy.” With younger children the challenges might be less dramatic, but they are often worrisome for the parents.
A lot can be done in a family without involving the child in treatment directly. Parents can benefit from new ideas about how the improve the climate in the household. Adolescence remains a challenge for both generations, but teenagers can learn to channel their energy and vitality towards worthwhile accomplishments. And with parental encouragement pre-teens can learn to negotiate early peer tensions in a way that will make adolescence go a bit smoother.
Dr. Bonner works with parents to help re-establish a sense of connection with their children and to promote an atmosphere of both generations being “on the same side,” not at odds with each other. If treatment for the adolescent is indicated, it will be greatly enhanced by the calm and informed parenting approach. And the latter can sometimes be enough in and of itself.
If you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Bonner today at (650) 323-1851 or by email.