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Navigating Life with Compassion: Creating a Meaningful Connection with Your Child’s Therapeutic Journey

By Lauren Jenkins | January 10, 2024

Navigating Life with Compassion: Creating a Meaningful Connection with Your Child’s Therapeutic Journey

For many of us, the journey of parenthood is filled with moments of love, joy, and beautiful milestones. I find myself sweetly reminded of such moments thanks to my smartphone that from time to time will flash memorable moments of my life, my family, and my children. However, parenthood also has its many challenging moments as well. 

As a Mental Health Therapist, although receiving education and training to support clients through life stressors, traumatic events, and mental health disorders; nothing (and I mean nothing) could fully prepare me for the beautiful and yet difficult role of “parent.” Raising three boys in today’s world definitely has its hard moments and has even has caused feelings of frustration, confusion, and feeling lost. If you can relate at all to the feelings I’ve shared, my hope is that this blog will not only remind you that you are not alone in this journey but also to remind you to navigate this part of your life, the life of parenthood, with compassion. 

When our children encounter difficulties that require therapy, it’s natural for parents to grapple with their roles and sometimes the varying emotions (I call it the swirl). The decision to seek therapy for your child can be daunting, but it is a powerful step toward their well-being and healing. As a parent, it is okay to feel overwhelmed or unsure of your role in this process. So, here are 10 things to consider as you navigate your role during your child’s therapy journey:

Acknowledge Your Feelings and Watch your Thoughts

It’s normal to experience a range of emotions, including guilt, worry, or even a sense of failure. It is also easy to fall into negative thinking, and worry. Acknowledge these feelings and thoughts without judgment. Your concerns show your dedication and love for your child. Take a moment to understand that seeking therapy is not a reflection of your parenting, or that your child will be in this difficult season forever, but rather supporting your child in therapy is a proactive step toward helping your child.

Educate Yourself

Learn about the therapy your child is receiving. Engage with the therapist, ask questions, and seek resources. Understanding the therapeutic process can help you support your child better.

It also allows you to actively participate and reinforce therapeutic techniques at home and within your communication. Get support and take a training. There are various organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), and even your child’s therapy practice may offer workshops, support groups and trainings for individuals seeking tools to better support their loved ones with mental health challenges. Take a Youth Mental Health First Aid Training, through the National Council for Mental Well-Being or other Psycho-educational workshops that can provide you with knowledge and information to best support your child. 

Communicate Clearly and Openly

Encourage open dialogue with your child about therapy. Normalize the experience by discussing it positively, emphasizing that it’s okay to seek help when needed. Be a supportive listener without pressuring them to share more than they’re comfortable with. Also, be clear and affirming with your communication. There is power when your child can hear you say genuinely and authentically that you are here for them, that you believe in them, and that they are not alone.

Self-Care Is Essential 

Taking care of yourself is not selfish—it’s necessary. Parenting a child in therapy can be emotionally draining. Ensure you have a support network, As we work to support our child’s healing journey with compassion, you must prioritize your self-care! Engage in activities and support that refuel you. When you’re emotionally balanced, you can better support your child. 

Avoid Comparisons 

Every child is unique, and every therapy journey is different. Avoid comparing your child’s progress to others’. Focus on your child’s individual growth and celebrate their healing milestones, no matter how small they may seem.

Trust the Process and your own Therapeutic Relationship with Child’s Therapist 

You’ve entrusted your child’s well-being to a professional. Trust their expertise and the process. If you have concerns, schedule a time and discuss them openly with the therapist. We as therapists are here to guide not only your child but also you through this journey. While your child is the most important person in the space we can provide guidance and referrals to help you best support your child’s therapeutic process. It is important to stress that to ensure the building of a healthy therapeutic relationship with your child, we maintain the privacy of our clients, as to what is shared in session and only communicate pertinent information, especially if the information shared indicates the child is at imminent risk of harm to self and/or others.  

Patience Is Power 

Healing takes time. Therapy is a process, remember it is not a quick fix. Your role in this part of the journey is to be patient and to allow space for progress. 

Seek Support 

Again, similar to educating yourself, please do not hesitate to seek support for yourself. Whether it’s through therapy, support groups, or talking to trusted friends or family members, having a support system can make a significant difference in managing your emotions and uncertainties. Also, seek support with boundary setting and accountability that continues to nurture your child(ren)’s growth and development, keeps them safe, and nurtures them for a successful future. At times, as a parent when your child is struggling emotionally or with mental health challenges, it may feel like your hands are tied with discipline and parenting. Your child still needs guidance, you may have to pivot your approach to meet your child where they are that may differ from your upbringing and experience with discipline, boundary setting, and accountability.  

Embrace Growth for Yourself

Embrace the learning opportunities your child’s therapy presents. You might discover strengths and resilience you didn’t know you had. 

Celebrate Your Efforts

Recognize and celebrate the effort you’re putting into supporting your child. You’re doing the best you can with the love and knowledge you have. Your commitment to your child’s well-being is vital to their healing journey.

Final Thoughts…

Remember, as you support your child’s therapeutic journey, you are not alone in this process. Seeking therapy for your child and supporting your child’s healing journey shows your dedication as a parent. Embrace the journey, trust the process, support your child compassionately and wholeheartedly, and be kind to yourself along the way and make sure to take care of you in the process. You are your child’s biggest support system and at times it may not always feel that they can appreciate you in that role; and that is okay. Here is your reminder that you are making a difference in your child’s life by being there for them every step of the way. Continue to stay in there with your child during their healing journey, get connected with your own support when needed, trust the process, and stay hopeful and stay encouraged.


About The Author

Lauren Jenkins

As in nature, life brings a variety of seasons. From laughter and joy, to sadness and tears; achievement and confidence, to discouragement and disarray. To anyone who finds themselves in a season of challenges, weighted by emotional pain, or the debilitating feelings of being overwhelmed, I say: You do not have to journey this moment alone—healing is possible, and accessible to you! I work to help clients reconnect with the part of themselves where their intrinsic power exists and ability to heal and live the life they desire to pursue. I believe that a person reaching out for help, has taken one of the most important steps on their Journey to Wellness; making the decision to begin therapy is truly courageous. Therapy with me is that, a journey, with a provided space where I listen, support, feel, challenge, and celebrate with my clients through their therapeutic process and experience.