A few months ago, I woke up feeling very defeated with my children. Things appeared to be spiraling out of control – not in a critical way – but rather in a “I need some clarity in my life” way.
After a long conversation with a dear friend of mine, she recommended that my family and I attend some sort of family counseling.
My initial reaction was of great resistance–there is such a negative connotation to needing counseling. Of course, counseling is only for those families with serious problems–you know, the secret problems that no one wants to talk about.
But then I really thought about it – could it hurt to get the opinion of an outside resource?
So, I loaded up my family of five and off we went.
That’s right – the “perfect” mom, with the “perfect” marriage, and the “perfect” kids went to family counseling.
My children were thrilled.
Our first meeting was somewhat entertaining. We sat down on the couch (and one chair) and we were all snuggled in to one another.
When the counselor asked my kids how they felt in our home, they responded, “We feel loved and secure. We’re happy.”
My counselor was stumped. Surely there has to be some deep rooted secret in our lives that we were hiding. He honestly had no response to us.
We spent the next several weeks in a safe environment that allowed us to speak openly and honestly with each other. There were multiple times when our counselor would spend the entire 50 minutes without saying a word–just listening to us communicate.
There were things that my children brought to my attention that I didn’t necessarily want to hear – but I needed to hear.
In the end, what we realized is that we needed to reconnect with our family values and we needed to restructure our home rules based on the age of our children today.
Our time in counseling was a huge blessing and I highly recommend it if you truly feel you need some help and guidance.
It helped me to realize that we are not, nor will we ever be a perfect family. And that’s okay.
It helped me to feel confident that I am doing a pretty good job with my kids based on the resources that I have.
It also helped me understand that I don’t need the opinion or the blessing of someone else to know that I am raising really great kids.
Recently, I was at dinner with a group of people when I was telling a story about my kids. I conveyed that a couple of weeks ago I had a really bad migraine, and one by one each of my children came into my room to check on me and to snuggle in to make sure I was okay.
At this point, the therapist in the room (she made it clear that she was fully credentialed) told me that this was unhealthy for my children and that they shouldn’t feel like they need to take care of me.
Six months ago, I would have been in an absolute frenzy about this. It would have made me question every bit of my parenting skills and it would have made me second guess how I am raising my kids.
Now, I kindly disagreed and with a smile on my face, I turned my attention to another part of the table conversation. I didn’t ask for her opinion, nor do I really care.
Not only should my kids feel that they should take care of me, I fully expect it. Just as I stated in, “It’s okay Mom, that’s what sons are supposed do,” we are family – that’s what we do, we take care of each other.
No one knows my family and my kids better than I do. And I will challenge any PhD, MD or any other credential that you would like to throw my way if you try to tell me otherwise.
There is a time and a place that I will openly seek out an outside opinion on how to raise my kids. There is a time and a place for a therapy session.
But for the most part I’m quite sure I have my family life under control (at least on a good day).
If you feel you need professional help, get help – it was a great experience for us.
If you are receiving outside opinions that only make you question who you are as a parent, walk away.
There is a big difference.
Please find that confidence in yourself. No one knows you and your kids better than you do. Let go of the judgment of other people and own your parenting journey.