When adolescents come into our clinics, they complete a Mental Weight report and from that we identify those habits, behaviours and attitudes that are the root cause of the overeating. In that report, we look for triggers, those events or issues that are a catalyst for change from regular eating patterns, to ones where overeating* becomes an issue. *It may well be a number of issues combined.
One of the key triggers we look for is the adolescent relationships with parents.
As Stuart points out, and this is important: the therapeutic style as we once knew it is long gone – that time where you dropped your child and came back at a later hour to pick them up. Now, it’s more of a collaborative approach, akin to the one here at Motivation, where the parent(s) are engaged in the process to support the life space (the world of the adolescent and how they are growing up, the connections and relationships within their world). The job of the therapist is to connect (the dots) and collaborate where possible to support, encourage and help heal the life space so that they can walk through and develop the correct procedural aspects of developing as a young person.
This developmental aspect is a critical component of growing up and it’s covered in detail in our second podcast of the series – Understanding Risk Taking & Peer Pressure in Adolescents.
Sometimes we delay in seeing the adolescents as we first have to support the parents before anything can be done (potentially) with the adolescents.
One of the most common things we talk about is parenting styles – are you in unity about how you parent your children. It doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything but it means, what we present, we have to be in unity over.
Children will always say, “I can go to mum for this for dad for that”. They know which buttons to press.
That’s what parenting is: to increase and assist the life space of the young person.
That’s not always possible because there are different parenting styles. The next few paragraphs may make for uncomfortable and upsetting reading as they will challenge you to define the style of your parenting. Remember the Connecting the Dots refrain:
You are not alone.
Reach out, talk about it. The wonderful thing about being an adult is that we are in our fully developed brain. Our brains are neuroplastic, we can change, we can crate, we can adjust, so it’s never too late.
- Receptive: will do anything for their child
- Non-receptive: they are not setting out to be non-receptive, it’s just that the business of their lives has gotten in the way – pressures of work, illness, business issues, etc. By therapeutically scaffolding the parents, they can move into that more receptive category.
- Hostile parenting: parents who never going to be there for their children. This parenting style has two sub-categories.
- Directly hostile
- Indirectly hostile because they are going through severe trauma themselves.
If we want a relationship with our children in the future, it’s never too late to look at that and to change it.
NOTE: There is no judgement in any aspect of the above. It simply is.
We need to get the guidance and help so that we can move into being receptive parents and to work in a collaborative manner.
The path is an easier one if the parent is in a collaborative manner.
Can you show up for them? That is the really significant thing. This is the ultimate example of making a bid for you kid. It’s a huge gesture and sometimes, that all it takes.
To listen to this most engaging podcast, Adolescent Relationships With Parents, just click below.