"The Work"

Earlier this week, I went to Pat for a semi-annual tune up.

In the December 11, 2012 post, Team Therapy and Tuckers, I talked about the tag-teaming efforts of my counselor, Pat, and her husband, an outstanding psychiatrist,  Dr. Martin Buxton.

I hit the jack pot with these two, but also give myself a lot of credit. They gave me the tools to do the work. And I’m still working hard at it — everyday.

A considerable focus of our work was learning to set healthy boundaries. The word, boundary, can have a negative connotation, but in fact, boundaries are vital to our well-constructed personal development.

Lorne Ladner, in The Lost Art of Compassion, says that boundaries are analogous to the stakes and wire used to help keep young trees firmly planted, growing sturdy and straight. Not too slack and not too tight.
However, we need to become proficient at knowing when to apply boundaries and when to relax them.

“Setting boundaries involves being honest and direct with others, even if they don’t want to hear what we have to say. It involves protecting and taking care of ourselves. It’s important for our sense of self-respect.
Where we set personal boundaries is an individual decision,” Ladner states.

Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: physical, mental and emotional. Check out Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

An amazing sense of calm accompanies a healthy boundary setting epiphany.
It feels really good.

“The Work” works.


Another Recent Trend

This article is lengthy, but well worth the read.
One of the Board members of JHW Foundation, emailed it to me.
I swear I’m not getting a kickback from Dr. Levine, but her book 
is mentioned here, too.



The Wedge

At-risk children can drive a wedge between their parents with the precision of a martial artist… 

When faced with the add-on trials and tribulations of parenting an at-risk child, 
the most intact marriages can creak and moan under the pressure.  
Marriages that are already coming unravelled may often dissolve. 

The wedge is driven deeper over time to include relationships between
parents of the at-risk child and their family and friends… and on and on ….  
This wedge can also take the form of gradual isolation. 

Isolation and secrets – Secrets and Half Truths, January 26, 2013 post.  

In 2 New Normals, my December 5, 2012 post, I mentioned one of my favorite, spot-on, thought-provoking, reference books, The Price of Privilege
by Madeline Levine, Ph.D.  
It speaks to so many current cultural issues of parenting.  
Levine elaborates upon so many of my experiences while co-parenting an addict.

Conflicts are not only with the child but with the parents themselves.

Levine says, “We all start out hoping to be terrific parents, and then any one 
of a number of things get in our way: a temperamental child, a difficult spouse, our own history, a demanding job, the community we live in.”

Psychologists and psychiatrists agree to – 
“a lack of firm limit-setting as one of the major contributors to adolescent

Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it’s hard to squeeze it back in.

“It’s easier on both parents and kids when parents have developed a general discipline strategy, one that is clear, firm and fair and that eliminates endless discussions about what is and isn’t okay in your particular household. 

We will also have moments of absolutely hating our role as “bad cop”, as the parent who is paying attention, setting limits, defining consequences, and in the process, incurring our children’s anger.  
But this is part of the job and the price of parenting; and it is mandatory, 
for our own sanity, to acknowledge how demanding and difficult it can be”.

Skills for parenting an at-risk child do not come naturally to some – 
or most for that matter.  
It takes putting your pride in your pocket and reaching out for help.

Too often, a child suffers while the parents learn.