What is Parent Guidance?

Raising children in this day and age comes with more complications than it did previously – the ease of access to any and all information, and increased reliance on social media and electronic devices all make parenting trickier. Coupled with this, laws on what a parent may and may not do can cause conflict between instilled values and societal expectations. Children spend such a large portion of their time at school, and then, when they get home, they have homework and household responsibilities too. This can leave any parent feeling like there just isn’t time to have any kind of quality time with their children. Over and above all this, children also go through difficult phases, where communication with parents is at an all-time low, and behaviour is worse than ever. In this case, parent guidance is recommended.

Parent Guidance is one of the most well-established methods in the area of behavioural therapy to assist children. Since the 1970s, studies have been shown it’s efficacy as the role of the parent is crucial in the development and wellbeing of a child.

Parent guidance aims to equip parents with the tools necessary to communicate effectively with their children and understand their feelings and perspectives, with the end goal of building healthier relationships, and decreasing conflict. The counsellor attempts to bridge the gap that can sometimes form between parents and their children, so that each can understand how the other is feeling, and what they are thinking, so that compromise can be struck. Another time parent guidance can be useful is when two parents do not see eye to eye on how to raise their children, or in the case of divorce, separation, or even the loss of a spouse.

The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice

Peggy O’Mara

Who Does Parent Guidance Help?

Anyone who is having any kind of issues with their child, from communication breakdown to full-on arguments, or simply constant misunderstandings – parent guidance can help. The parent of a child who is experiencing puberty and battling to communicate can benefit from parent guidance too. Any parent who wishes for an insight into the mind of their child in order to foster a healthier relationship with them, or even wants to assist their child with life decisions like subject choices and career options, should also consider parent guidance. Parents with a child who just “will not listen”, or does not respect rules and boundaries should also seek parent guidance. Further, for aid on the fine line between harsh discipline and diffuse (unclear) boundaries or difficulty with enforcing discipline at all, parent guidance can also be useful. Even a parent who wants to be more involved in their child’s life, extra-murals, or teaching them study techniques should consider parent guidance. No issue is too big or too small when it comes to parenting. If you would prefer sessions with your child/ren and your spouse, consider family counselling.

Parent Guidance in South Africa

The attitude and involvement of the parent/s can greatly impact the performance and overall well being of their child/ren. Parent guidance aims to provide parents with the tools to aid their children as best they can, and positively impact on their emotional well being, while strengthening their relationship and opening avenues of communication.

If just you and your spouse would like to find out more, before trying the techniques out for yourself at home, or if you find that issues with your child/ren is causing marital problems, try couples counselling.


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