This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
Parenting is the most important position a person may have in their life. Just like in a typical career, it can be stressful at times and mistakes are bound to be made. However, it’s important to remember that there are trained and experienced professionals that are interested in helping you become stronger – both as a parent and as a person.
Therapy and counseling are more accessible and affordable now thanks to advancements made in technology and research over the last few decades. With online mental health resources like BetterHelp, you’re able to find the assistance you need right at home. With the additional ability to work around your schedule and needs, it can be a game-changer for busy parents that are looking for assistance.
How Therapy Can Help You As A Parent
Providing Guidance And Understanding
When raising a child, you may find a number of resources, tips, and tricks online and through friends – unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to a majority of common parenting challenges. Instead, you learn through your experiences and the guidance of your support system, a group of trusted individuals that allow you to vent and discuss your frustrations or concerns without feeling judged.
Having a trained and experienced mental health care professional as a part of your support system can give you the opportunity to open up and feel validated. “Parental guilt” is a common struggle that makes people wonder “Am I a bad parent?” because of the thoughts they’ve had or actions they’ve taken. Discussing this worry with a therapist can help you work through underlying fears, stereotypes, and negative stigmas.
Communicating these troubles is the first step in finding a solution. Your mental health care professional is there to provide an understanding space for you to work through your thoughts. They give you an environment to express yourself while also offering resources to determine potential ways you can solve an issue.
Postpartum Depression Awareness
According to the American Psychological Association, about one in seven women experience postpartum depression (PPD), and one in four fathers experience symptoms of paternal postnatal depression. These are both conditions that can make a parent feel depressed, anxious, or lonely for up to six months after a baby is born and symptoms can even begin during pregnancy. While PPD is more known than paternal postnatal depression, experts say both are severely underreported because of a lack of awareness about these conditions and their symptoms.
Parental guilt is a significant factor that deters parents from discussing their symptoms. It’s important to remember that there isn’t anything wrong with feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or conflicted about becoming a parent. Talking with a mental health care provider can help you to notice the signs early on and find ways to cope with the changes.
Becoming A Role Model
The phrase “children are like sponges” refers to the fact that children and young adults mirror the behavior and emotions of the people around them. They pick up accents, habits, and even reactions from the adults they spend time with, molding their worldview based on the people that take care of them. This is why open communication about therapy and counseling is so important early in a child’s life.
By going to see a mental health care professional and communicating about your visits, you help to reduce negative stigmas and stereotypes that have surrounded the industry for years. Over the past decade, it’s become more common to see a mental health care professional even if you aren’t regularly experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. This can provide your child with a role model of someone that has a self-care routine to improve their wellbeing, similar to the importance of a regular physical at the doctor.
As your child grows and learns more about their needs and boundaries, having your guidance is crucial. While you don’t need to talk about what you discuss in your sessions, it’s still important to explain the basics and answer their questions about how therapy could be useful for them if they want to explore it.
Learning More About Yourself
As a parent, you’re going to be growing and developing right alongside your child. You’ll need to adapt to difficult situations, learn from your mistakes, and ask for help when necessary. Having a mental health care provider to give you assistance throughout your child’s life can be beneficial not only for your mental and physical well-being but also for your ability to parent.
Feeling stressed, anxious, or distressed is a normal response to challenges throughout parenthood. However, while it’s ok to have these negative feelings, it’s important to look for guidance that will help you develop healthy coping mechanisms against these responses. You’re not a bad parent by asking for help – instead, that’s what could help you become an even better parent.