Support for Parents, Kids, and Teens
Is my kid broken ? (And is it my fault?)
There is probably nothing harder than seeing your kid suffering and not being able to do anything to fix it. When you see them struggle, you would do absolutely anything to make the problem go away.
You want to go into your kid's classroom and tell off the kid who is being unkind to yours.
You want to find the perfect set of sticker charts, reward systems, reminder apps, and calendar notifications to help your kid stay on top of their responsibilities, but nothing ever seems to actually work.
You want to go in and somehow download your kid's whole history to his math teacher who just doesn't understand why they are struggling.
You want to break down your teenager's door because you know they are hurting, and they won't talk to you.
You want to be supportive of your kid who just came out to you as two spirit or trans or nonbinary or pansexual, but you don't even know what that means, let alone how to talk to them about it.
Would you believe us if we told you that you're not a bad parent? We don't know you, but the fact that you are looking up mental health supports for you kid says a everything. Parenting is the best, worst, most difficult job on earth, and we are all doing the best we can with what we've got.
No Parent is an Island.
Yes, you are a great parent: not perfect, but really solid. That doesn't mean you don't need or want support, though. If you and your kiddos are going through a rough time, let us help. We have therapists that work using Attachment-based approaches that will help you and your child with communication, reducing anxiety, low mood, insecurity, or any number of other struggles.
Play is the language of struggling kids. It never ceases to amaze me how much of a child's experience can be seen in a simple drawing, puppet show, or sand tray. Kids use play to explore their world, and when things in their world are hard or don't make sense, they use play to try and figure it out.
Several different modalities of play therapy are available depending on age and the family's needs. Synergetic Play Therapy is a child-centered (or child-lead) modality that is informed by polyvagal theory. Polyvagal theory outlines how our bodies respond to stress. Have you heard of fight-flight-freeze? Yep, that's the one. When kids have developmental difficulties, are under stress, or have traumatic experiences, their nervous systems can go into overdrive and cause behavioural outbursts, aggression, or hypervigilence. In other cases, they shut down in a collapse response. Either way, it comes out in the play. In play therapy, using tracking, breathing, and genuine responding will help your kiddo feel heard and understood as they play out their fears and frustrations.
Theraplay techniques are incredibly helpful for family-based play therapy. In this type of therapy, one or both parents will come into therapy with your child to participate in interactive games that help to create resiliency and safe attachments. This can be done with infants all the way up to elementary school age. It is especially helpful for children who are in foster care, adopted, or have had other instances where the parental relationship has been interrupted.
Teens are hard to get through to sometimes, but once we do, we feel like superheros. When working with teens, its useful to combine modalities. Art, music, and other "play" can help develop a relationship and create safety. Using emotionally-focused techniques can help teens process their experiences. Helping them focus on their body when discussing tough issues helps their nervous systems to calm down and helps build their confidence that they can deal with difficult situations in the future.
If you are struggling with one of your kiddos, sometimes family counselling can be helpful. Other times, you may want to have parenting sessions. This can be especially helpful if you and your partner are having a hard time getting on the same page while parenting, or when your kid has complex mental health or developmental needs. Emotion-Focused caregiver support techniques or Couples Therapy with a parental focus are helpful in walking you through this advanced skill. And it IS an advanced skill. If you have kids with extra needs, that means that you need to have extra tools.
Confidence in the midst of Chaos.
We know that you are busy, your kids are overscheduled, and your teen is pushing back loudly against the idea of therapy. But what would change for you if you had just a little bit of support?
Your soccer or hockey or dance schedule isn't going to change, but imagine getting out the door with a little less yelling and impatience.
Your teen isn't magically going to want to spend all their time with you, but imagine a home where they left their door open a little more often, or felt at ease enough to come and tell you about their day.
You and your partner will still disagree sometimes on how to approach a certain issue, but imagine the confidence that would come with having a way to talk and discuss this stuff, and even a framework within which to see your complimentary strengths as parents.
Kids and teens coming to therapy often feel nervous at first, but then they start to really look forward to having that time with their therapist that is just for them. Parents who come and see us often tell us they they feel empowered to go home and make a few changes that end up making a huge difference.
Look, we could tell you that a few sessions with us will fix everything. But that's not true. We can tell you, though, that sometimes just a few sessions can help you make some big shifts. Give us a call to ask any further questions you have, or go ahead and check out our schedule to book an appointment that will work for you.