Parenting Issues - Hilo, HI - Stephanie Dodge, PhDAre You Struggling to Parent With Confidence?

  • Did you promise yourself that you would never be like your parents, but find yourself unconsciously adopting their behaviors?
  • Are you facing parenting challenges that you never anticipated, especially with foster children or adopted children?
  • Did you have your first child years ago and know that you want to do things differently with the new baby?
  • Have you tried parenting books and parenting classes, but still feel stuck and confused?
  • Do you wish you could raise happy, healthy children and build the foundation for healthy, lasting relationships?

Parenting can be a frustrating, confusing and exhausting experience, no matter how old your child is. Maybe your biggest fear is that you will “mess up” your child in some permanent way. You might be terrified that your child will grow up to hate or resent you, which can ultimately lead to a strained or disconnected relationship. You may feel as though you just don’t know how to be the kind of parent you want to be. Maybe classes and books make you feel as though you know what not to do, but not what you should do. Or, perhaps you feel like you are learning parenting techniques, but then your child does something unexpected, and you respond without thinking.

You might start off the day in chaos as you try to get everyone ready and out the door. Maybe you drop the kids off at school, begin replaying the morning in your head and find yourself regretting the little things you said or did. You may often feel stressed and overwhelmed and then scold your child in a way that you regret later. Perhaps you often beat yourself up over little things that have gone wrong. Or, maybe you are doing the best you can, but other family members – even your partner – are telling you that you are wrong or giving your child mixed messages. You might feel incredibly lost and wonder what you are supposed to do for your child.

If You Feel Overwhelmed by Parenting Issues, You Are Not Alone

Parenting is the hardest job in the world, and it doesn’t come with training or a one-size-fits-all instruction manual. Any parent who cares has shared your fears at one time or another. And, by just searching for this page, you have made an enormous first step. You are looking for the best possible way to help your child, without assigning blame to him or her (although, you shouldn’t blame yourself either!).

You likely have one thousand things going on in your day and feel startled when your child says or does something that you didn’t predict. You don’t have an hour to think about how to respond – most often, you have to respond in the moment, without preparation. Parenting is complex, and you have to balance the demands of life while also figuring out how to support your child and address his or her unique issues. Confusion and worry do not mean that you are doing anything wrong. You are trying your best. And, with help, you can develop more effective parenting skills so that you can feel confident in supporting your child through even the most unexpected challenges.

Counseling Can Help You Overcome Parenting Issues

While parenting books and classes are sometimes a good start, therapy can help you begin putting your knowledge into action, even when your child throws a curveball your way in the most stressful of situations. In sessions, I will serve as your coach, cheerleader and mentor, offering you a compassionate and nonjudgmental space to work through parenting issues and practice new skills.

You are a unique person, and so is your child. In sessions, I can help you develop parenting skills that will be appropriate for the situations in your real life. With my guidance, you can practice techniques and begin to replace old, unconscious parenting patterns with healthy, productive responses. You can gain a better understanding of which behaviors are normal for certain age groups so that you can let go of some of your worries. Our work together will be tailored to you and your kids.

If you are the parent of young child, I can help you better understand when to stay firm and maintain your boundaries, whether you are at home, in the car or at the grocery store. I can also help you and your co-parent establish consistency and become better aware of which parenting tools to use when, so that you don’t exhaust yourself. If your children are older, you probably have less control over their behaviors when they are not at home. In sessions, I can help you develop the skills you need to guide your older child or teen towards the transition into adulthood. Whether you are experiencing parenting issues with a toddler, school-aged child, teen or young adult, I can help develop a plan so that you don’t feel as though you are grappling for solutions in the moment.

I specialize in therapy for parents, children and families, and I know how developmental stages work to create a full, unique human. As a parent who is seeking out help, you are already doing better than you may think. You should feel proud of yourself for taking these initial steps. Through hard work and a willingness to make changes, you can enjoy a more confident, peaceful parenting role. Through developing effective parenting techniques, you can help your child develop his or her best possible chance for a fulfilling, successful future. And, you can establish a loving, nurturing relationship with your child.

You may believe that counseling for parenting issues can help you connect with your child, but still have questions or concerns…

I am ashamed that I need extra help.

If you swore that you would never be like your parents, it can be hard to admit that you have accidentally adopted some of their behaviors. But, parenting is not at all easy. We would never ask someone to design a bridge without engineering skills, but we so frequently ask parents to raise children without any training. And, parenting is so much harder and more unpredictable than designing a bridge! There is no shame in seeking help for parenting issues. In fact, it is a sign of strength that you are able to reach out and admit your confusion in order give your child the best shot in life.

I don’t have time for therapy.

Counseling for parenting issues does take time, especially at first. But, by putting the effort in, you are making an investment in your long-term relationship with your child. By attending sessions and doing a little bit of homework, you are likely to find that your everyday challenges become so much easier. How much time do you dedicate to discipline or trying to stop tantrums? Therapy can help you save time and develop the parental relationship you want in the future.

I am afraid that my child will get labeled with some kind of disorder. 

Sometimes, parents and children experience periods of increased difficulty because of something called an adjustment disorder, which only means that you and/or you child are having a hard time with one stage in life. This diagnosis will not follow you or your child forever. However, if we do discover that your child is struggling with something more serious, it is important for us to identify the issue and start helping your child receive the appropriate help.

You can be the parent you want to be. I invite you to call (808) 747 3445 for a free 15-20-minute phone consultation. I’m happy to answer any questions you have about parenting issues and my practice.

Other Information:

Help your Keiki

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Facts For Families Guide

Boys Town:  Parenting Principles

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Boys Town: Game Over: What to Do When Technology Takes Over Quality Time