We live in a world where a great deal of challenges compound and compete with one’s ability to parent effectively. As parents we do the best with what we have. For some of us we may be committed to parenting by using a completely different style to the one we were parented by, but we often find ourselves doing and saying what we vowed we would never do or say to our child. When we react emotionally to situations, there is usually a negative outcome.
With well-meaning intent, we convey to our children that they are “not good enough”, “disappointing”, “stupid”, and “too emotional”. We react to their behaviors in ways that make us feel guilty, angry, and unprepared. Learning how to parent effectively is challenging and difficult. Learning how to set healthy boundaries, develop effective communication, and regulate your own emotions are extremely important skills to have.
How can DBT help?
DBT will teach you how to regulate escalating emotions and behave in effective ways that build competence, confidence, and most importantly, healthy relationships with your child. Skills are aimed specifically at improving your child’s behaviors as well as shaping your child towards constructive activities. You will learn how to use punishment minimally and effectively, positive reinforcement and contracts, as well as maintain limits and expectations. DBT teaches you to:
- Focus your attention on the present moment without emotional reactivity
- Develop a better understanding about what makes your child vulnerable to intense emotion
- Use skills of validation and active listening to decrease intense emotions
- Balance acceptance and change strategies
- Increase communication and understanding, as well as assertiveness