Therapist Tries To Open Parents’ Eyes By Sharing What 28 Teenagers And Kids Have Told Her
It’s only after you become a parent that you realize raising your child has a lot more hidden challenges than you could have foreseen. And we’re not just talking about how tough it can be to help them out with their homework and what to pitch to Santa for this year’s Christmas gifts. Good parents take the time to look after their kids’ mental health, not just their physical well-being.
A roof over their head and food on their table is absolutely essential, but how you communicate and how you treat them is absolutely vital for their welfare. There are various fears and anxieties to tackle… though the sad reality is that traumatic experiences can’t always be avoided. Nobody is perfect and all parents make mistakes.
Trauma counselor Courtney, who has 18 years of experience in her field, filmed a series of emotionally impactful videos on TikTok that we weren’t prepared to see. She shared the things that her child and teenage clients told her about their parents, by writing them on sticky notes. It just goes to show how insightful and smart kids really are, and how vital it is to actively listen to them. Scroll down to see what she revealed in her three incredibly powerful TikToks, and to see how the internet reacted.
Trauma counselor Courtney revealed some of the most heartbreaking things her kid and teen clients told her during therapy
Image credits: ask.courtney
You can watch the first part of her video series right over here
The counselor notes that her clients all gave her permission to anonymously share what they had told her during their sessions with her.
Combined, the three videos got over half a million likes since being posted. The things the clients told Courtney are absolutely heartbreaking, and they had some TikTok users in tears.
Counselor Courtney told Scary Mommy that there is no such thing “as a perfect parent.”
“We've all been on our phones too much because we've needed to zone out after a long day or were stuck so deep in our own minds that we didn't give our children the attention they needed, or simply bailed out of a tea party because we were too overstimulated. It's okay—learning to take responsibility, showing accountability, and repairing are the ultimate goals,” the expert said.
The trauma counselor mentioned that while it’s perfectly normal to want to know what happened during therapy sessions, “it's equally as important that the relationship between child and counselor remain safe and that means that parents won't always be privy to what is said.”
Good communication is about trust and respecting boundaries. Some of the ways that parents can talk to their kids about their sessions, however, include asking them about their favorite part of therapy that day. If they see that their kids are tense and don’t want to open up, parents ought to point out that they’re not upset about this.
“You can say, ‘I get it, you feel safe talking to [Counselor Name]. I like that, and I am happy that you have them to talk to. I want you to know that I, too, am working hard and when you are ready, I'd love to be a safe place for you where I can listen’—the best thing to do is respect that emotional boundary that's popping up for them,” she told Scary Mommy.
She added that a way for parents to start an honest conversation with their kids is to ask for their permission. Here’s an example of what a parent might say: “I realize that we need to communicate more and I think that starts with me becoming a better listener. Like you, I am still growing and learning new things each day. Thank you for being patient with me. I know sometimes I haven't listened to you. I know how frustrating that is. So, I'd like to ask you a couple of questions. Are you ok with that?”
Some other things that parents can ask include: “If there was one thing at home that you could change, what would that be?" and "What is one thing in your life that you'd like to have more control over?”
“The more we know about ourselves, our childhood, and what we need now as adults the better we can heal and the more emotionally present we can be for our children. As parents, we mustn't strive for perfection but for growth. Be gentle with yourself as you grow and keep showing up…it truly takes a village,” Courtney said.
A while back, single mom Ariane Sherine told Bored Panda that the difficult years of parenting are just phases, and that there will be plenty of shifts and changes along the way. She highlighted the fact that, just as parents need to take care of their children, they also need to take care of themselves.
“See if you can get some help each week, whether that's grandparents doing a bit of childcare or paying a childminder. Use the extra time to exercise self-care and pamper yourself, whether that means having a massage or just a soak in the bath—do things you wouldn't be able to do while looking after your child,” she noted that if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can try talking to a friend or consider reaching out to a counselor.
Previously, psychologist Lee Chambers shared his thoughts with Bored Panda about traumatic experiences and resilience.
"As human beings, we have a desire for certainty and routine that keeps us feeling safe and able to plan what lies ahead in an organized manner. When unpredictable situations or accidents impact us, it can be traumatic, and we will likely feel a sense of disappointment, frustration, and loss," the expert told us.
"It is important however that we embrace the fact that the world can be unpredictable and uncertain, and become more tolerant of this being a reality. Understanding that things are sometimes out of our control helps us to accept that not everything goes to plan, and accept when things happen to us that are negative. This acceptance allows us to embrace the change and difference, and manage our expectations so we can become more resilient to the ups and downs that all our lives lead,” the psychologist said.
"Post-traumatic growth isn't always simple to explain or utilize, but often the adversity we face can create a precedent for what we can overcome, help us to see what we need to be grateful for, and give us an understanding of the support we do have. A big part of opening the door to grow from our struggles is finding acceptance and taking ownership over what you can control and finding healthy ways to express the negative emotion that comes with challenges that test us," psychologist Lee told Bored Panda.
He revealed that he himself had to learn to walk again. Here’s what he said helped him during that difficult time: “Using journaling and talking about how I felt played a significant part in my recovery when I had to learn to walk again, and gave me the space to grow to become mentally stronger as a result. It is also important to reflect on all the hurdles you've overcome, so you can see what skills and lessons you've learned to apply in the future, and adversity often helps us to see what really matters, and gets us closer to knowing our values and purpose."
Here's how some internet users reacted to the extremely emotional videos