Re-Posting With A Question: Why Is This Post So Popular? ‘Advocating For Kids’
Posted by Dr. Vollmer on June 4, 2012
“I can’t deal with that one,” a father says to me as I cringe at the expression “that one”. “You mean Samantha,” I say naming their nine-year old daughter so as to point out that the phrase “that one” conveys tremendous hostility and resentment. “Yes, Samantha has made my life a living hell. She is all I talk about in my therapy. She has made me more crazy than my parents, than my wife, or my work.” This father, Liam, explains to me, causing me to feel for Samantha and wonder how Samantha integrates her father’s resentment of her into her budding self-esteem. I am caught between wanting to explain how his resentment might be deleterious to Samantha’s sense of herself and wanting to support Liam in expressing his feelings about raising what he perceives to be a very difficult child. Having known Liam for ten years, I feel our relationship can tolerate me taking what I imagine to be Samantha’s point of view. “It must be hard for Samantha to feel that she has caused you so much grief,” I say, conveying that Liam’s attitude could be hurtful to Samantha. Liam gets angry and hurt. “Are you saying that I am hurting my child?” he says as tears roll down his face. “I am saying that all parents hurt their children unwittingly, and the job of parents is to become aware of that when that happens so that one can straighten things out, as best they can.” I explain, trying to say that parenting is challenging, resulting in both positive and negative outcomes, always. Liam seems to calm down. “Today might be a hard day,” I say as we close our visit. “You did not do anything wrong,” he says. I needed to hear that.