A grieving family

Becoming a better parent: Parents, it’s ok to . . . Part 3

Our Westview team member, Terry Owens, continues our series, Becoming a Better Parent. In this article, Terry encourages us that “Parents, it’s ok to . . . , Part 3”

These past 16 months have been a challenge for all of us. We had to learn to Zoom for work and school, tele-med with our doctors, and deal with family loss differently. I lost a close friend during this time, and I read the post of his family trying to cope with the fact they couldn’t enter the hospital to visit him. These times are challenging for parents. We tend to push our needs to the back burner so we can be there for our children but is not the best way to deal with our lives. Let’s address our needs by looking at the “Parents. It’s ok to . . .” ideas from our friends at Empowered to Connect (empoweredtoconnect.org).

Parents, it’s OK to: Grieve:

Parents feel they need to be strong for their children when they lose a loved one unexpectedly like so many have during the pandemic. Grieving is a natural process and it is OK to allow our children to see us grieve. They need to know that they are not the only ones feeling the way they feel. They need help understanding the emotions they feel. Showing your emotions is not a sign of weakness but, on the contrary, is the best way to show your child how to be appropriately vulnerable. Being vulnerable in front of—and with—our children is one of the building blocks for a more robust and healthy relationship.

Parents, it’s OK to: Go to therapy:

Too many adults look at therapy as a sign of being mentally ill or crazy. But, it’s unusual for that to be the case. Instead, therapy can be a powerful tool to cope with those hard things in our lives such as our history, coping with loss, or talking about the challenges that come with relationships. We all need a confidant that sees things from a different perspective than our family and friends. Family and friends tend to look at the issue with the same intense emotion and perspective we have. New possibilities require new perspectives. A therapist or counselor can help us find a new perspective. Consider talking to a therapist or counselor instead of coping with your struggles on your own. It’s a true sign of strength and self-care.

Parents, it’s OK to: Meet your needs:

Most parents focus on taking care of their children, providing what their children need while putting their own needs to the side. You, though, have needs to be met just like your children. It is OK to take the time to meet those needs. Meeting your needs isn’t selfish; it’s a way of taking care of yourself so you can do the things you need to do. When you don’t care for yourself, it’s even more challenging to meet your children’s needs. Being a parent is rewarding and challenging work for adults, so take time for yourself. Having a healthy mind and spirit strengthens you for the challenges of parenting. Remember, it’s OK to meet your needs.

We are here to be a resource for our community, so feel free to reach out to us. We are happy to assist if we can. (wbhadmissions@gmail.com)