Therapeutic Parenting means parenting in a manner that brings healing to the child. That’s my definition. I have a confession, though. I used to see the “peu” in therapeutic and think pe-u, because it’s HARD to be therapeutic. It’s work!
Here is an excerpt from Chasing Lilly that demonstrates therapeutic parenting:
The teachers looked weary and relieved to see me because their classroom had been turned into a three-ring circus. Lilly had taken off her shirt and thrown it, chewed on her undershirt and pulled at it until there were holes, threw her shoes, peed on the floor in several places, blew snot out of her nose, fought with the teachers, and cussed them out.
Miss Coops started to gather up the scattered clothing from the floor as well as a jacket, and she brought them to me. I took the items but said, “Evidently she didn’t want to wear these in class, so she won’t be wearing them home. It’s kind of cold out, but she made her decision.”
Mrs. Firm looked awed and said, “You’re even tougher than I am.”
I marched my little charge down the hall, through the crowd, and outside toward the car. More than a few stared at us and (I’m sure) wondered at the homeless-looking urchin in bare feet, but I was getting used to being Lilly’s mother.
I didn’t scold her, but asked if she’d like to hold my hand as we walked to the car. At first she said no, but after a few yards, she grabbed my hand and sadly said, “I’m not a good girl.”
“Why do you say that?”
“I don’t want to tell you,” she said with her head down.
“I already know, Lilly, but I still love you.”
When we got home I told her that I was going to rock her.
“I don’t want rocked,” she said.
“Well, I’m going to rock you anyway.”
“Why do you have to rock me?”
I looked at her little face and responded, “Because I want you to know that I love you, and I am so proud of you when you are a good girl.”
Lilly paused to contemplate that statement, and she then climbed into my lap. We rocked quietly and the only sound was the chair creaking on the hardwood floor.
She sighed and said, “I am so worn out today.”
There are time that I have failed miserably being therapeutic. Other times, I’ve seen great success when the extra effort was spent, and healing and progress would result.
Dr. Karyn Purvis has excellent information on parenting in a way that brings healing.
Therapeutic parenting takes time. You can’t do this in a day. Keep at it! -Nealie