Topic Tuesday: Therapy

I have shared many times before that I went to therapy while in undergrad and it was a life altering experience.  Honestly I wish I had received some type of therapy right after graduating from undergrad, while in law school, after law school, before we got married, and I wish that I was receiving some right now.  Therapy is not a bandaid or a sole solution to any problem, but a process that helps you categorize and properly place experiences in a comfortable place in your mind.  Many times we overemphasize a situation in our life that may hold little value or minimize a situation that needs to be held in a different light.  Therapy helps you step outside of your silo and see how each experience has played a role in your life without judgment and external pressure.

I am so open about my experience because I truly believe therapy saved my life.  My anger sent me on a destructive path and caused me to mistake realness with being hurtful and mean.  Much of my anger was displaced and targeted people who had characteristics of the person who hurt me the most.  My coping strategies were ineffective and unhealthy.  I found myself in a cyclical process that I wanted to escape from, but I did not know how to reach the exit.

During my assessment for clinical services the director interviewed me and asked me one question, “Tell me about your parents.”  I immediately began to sob and cry.  I could not formulate my thoughts or my words.  She looked at me, looked down at the paper and agreed that I needed services.  I walked out of the building in disbelief.  This woman broke me down in less than 5 seconds.  I was fragile and broken.  I needed more help than simply believing that everything would get better.  My sanity required more than someone to listen to me, but someone to help me.

I have always been very open and honest so I told all of my friends that I was in therapy and they were happy for me.  Over time they started to see the changes in me and that encouraged me to continue with the process even when I felt that I no longer needed help.  I knew that being in that building held a stigma, but my future could not be derailed because of the fear of being judged.  I do not know where I would be if I never took the final step to seek help.  I do not even want to think of where I could have ended up.

I want everyone to know that there is someone qualified to listen and help you organize your thoughts and emotions.  Life is hard and will never be without bumps.  We have to accept that life will come and we need effective coping methods to properly deal with those overwhelming things.  Although I had two amazing experiences while at Howard, I had a not so great one when my husband and I went to sort through our issues.  Despite her failings, I know that there are some amazing therapist out there who will help us refocus our perspective.  Do not let one experience define your future in obtaining the things that you need.

We need more than coaching, we need therapy.  Take a moment and find time.  Get a referral and follow through with an appointment.  Get the help you need. Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms. #BeExcellent

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Toddler Discipline: Be Ye Always Ready

The Guest Room is filled with amazing women who are sharing knowledge and empowering others through their own personal experiences.  An educator and mother of a busy 2 year old shares some advice on disciplining a toddler.


 

Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. –Harold Hubert

As a mother of a rambunctious, energetic, inquisitive two year old I am forced to admit that there is no one way to raise a child. I can also reluctantly admit that I do not have all the answers. I can use my Masters Degree in Education to teach my child everything he needs to know to prove proficient in Common Core Learning Standards. I can use articles and different theories to potty train him. I can use my mother’s advice to teach him how to be a kind a loving man. I can call on my pastor for words of wisdom on how to raise a strong man of God. However, all of the education, advice, and encouragement seem to quickly vanish when my son asks for a “pop” (lollipop) at 8am, I explain that he can’t have one, and he reaches up and slaps me in the face. Only God can hold my hand and tongue when after spending 2 hours getting us ready to go out the door my son asks for juice, pretends to drink it for 3 seconds and then launches the majority of the contents drenching me from head to toe.

Anger, aggravation, frustration propel me to give him a “pow-pow”, pluck, or pinch. However, as an aware and educated mother I have to remind myself that my reactions to his negative toddler behavior will shape his actions. I don’t want him to slap a kid in preschool that takes his toy. Or pinch a child in school who spills juice on him. I am not saying that I don’t slip up a time or two and lash out, however, for the most part I try to adhere to the following when it comes to disciplining my toddler.

1. BE YE ALWAYS READY.

More often than not you can beat a tantrum to the punch. Knowing what sets your child off and what makes them go bananas is half the battle. The other half is trying to avoid those situations. If you know your child runs around the supermarket, put them in the shopping cart. If you know your child goes straight for the sweets as soon as they enter the kitchen, put them on top of the refrigerator or in the cabinet. Its not being a punk to try and appease or change according to your child’s needs, its called being a great parent.

2. DISCONNECT FROM THE TANTRUM/BAD BEHAVIOR

Most of the time we react to negative behavior physically out of embarrassment, frustration, and anger. However, when you take yourself and your emotions out of the equation you are able to see the tantrum or behavior as a cry for help. Children, especially toddlers, don’t have the same communication skills adults have so often times they resort to tantrums or simply doing what they want despite your objections because they can’t express their desires. Take a step back and look at the situation through kid lenses and I bet you’ll be slow to react with physical punishment.

3. ENGAGE YOUR CHILD IN COMMUNICATION.

Give words that your child doesn’t yet have to their feelings. It shows them you care and understand what they are going through.

4. EXPLAIN WHY THEY CAN’T HAVE/DO WHAT THEY WANT IN AS LITTLE WORDS AS POSSIBLE.

One thing I’ve learned with my toddler is he tunes me out when I talk too much. So a simple, “It is too early for a lollipop. How about a muffin?” will suffice. No need to explain the sugar levels, and how rotten their teeth will be with excessive candy intake. They are not listening!

5. MOVE ON!

The attention span of a toddler is nowhere near that of an adult. Usually when they want something, it’s a feeling of the moment. After they get over the disappointment (sometimes coupled with a falling out on the floor) they move on. You should to. There will be many battles over the course of 18 years, don’t drag them out any longer than necessary.

REMEMBER: Children need love, ESPECIALLY when they do not deserve it.

 

Courtney Edwards is a mother, teacher, real estate extraordinaire making her way through life one breath at a time.