Parenting presents such an overwhelming and unpredictable set of psychological challenges, that many have called it “the most difficult job in the world.” Many parents I have worked with feel ashamed about the difficulties they encounter in their day-to-day experiences as parents. This shame tends to keep the difficulties buried and unspoken, often leading to a snow ball effect of shame, anger and self-doubt.
However, clinical research and experience shows that in the common, typical course of parenting, most parents will find themselves at times feeling confused, uncertain, angry, afraid and disoriented. In fact, it is the very nature of being responsible day in and day out for young and dependent children whose needs are constantly changing, that leads to the very powerful and intense feelings parents have around parenting their children.
Voicing such taboo and complex feelings and questions can be relieving and freeing in its own right. Thinking things through together also creates an opportunity for what most parents want; unlearning some of their own parents’ mistakes, and creating a new way of parenting, more congruent with their own temperaments, wishes, values and ideals.