Parent Coaching, Parent Mentoring, Parent Support, Residential Treatment, Wilderness Therapy

– lots of new and exciting things are happening

Parents Support Network now has a new logo, a new website/domain, a new Facebook page and a new email- Hey it’s all new, who knew it could be done?

Please Follow/Like the new Facebook page as the old one will be suspended shortly. If you have any questions or comments please email me . Have a fantastic day.

PSN Facebook

PSN Website

Email- Cheryl@parentsupportnow.com

Parent Support, Residential Treatment, Wilderness Therapy

The day you have to just hold your breath as a parent and hope it turns out okay.

Our son arrived in wilderness safely, thank god. I was convinced something horrid was going to happen, like a plane crash and I was going to have to live with that the rest of my life.  My rationale mind left the building months ago, and was secretly replaced with severe anxiety, anger, high stress, and just plain old crazy.

It seemed that neither he nor I could do anything in the emotional states we were each in.  I look back and realize that we were at such odds that sharing the same physical space was killing both of us.  He needed to be away from me, as much as I needed to be away from him.  It was like the mere sight of each other brought us both rage and anger.  The reality was we were both suffering from hurt and disappointment.  It was sad for me, I was the adult, the parent, I should have never allowed it to get this far. 

I was feeling guilty, numb, sad, and mostly frightened. The fear was not for his physical safety; he was strong I knew he could survive the elements. My fear was that of failure; his failure and my failure.  What happens if this is all he gets in life?  What happens if this is all I get as a parent?

I was exhausted, exhausted of being scared for him and of him. I was exhausted for covering up the realness of what our life was.  I was exhausted from making excuses with my family.  I was exhausted with trying not to be mad at him, myself, and anyone whom I came into contact. I just wanted to be left alone and go to sleep.

From the very beginning I realized this was not a kid problem, this was a family problem.  We all needed to work on our stuff separately and then rejoin and work together. And with that realization for the first time in what seemed like forever, I felt like I could finally breathe.

Parent Support, Residential Treatment, Wilderness Therapy

Update on Shaming.

UPDATE: This article was originally published in October 2019.

I am not surprised it has grown so quickly, and not just because of this particular subject, but many of the subject I discuss. While this article was originally written with the focus on parents of children who have been placed in wilderness or residential treatment for mental health issues, it has become clear that all the issues that I write about span every facet of all relationships both those in our personal lives and work lives.

I do believe that this article in particular speaks to one of the most difficult areas for parents, both moms and dad, and it causes us to keep silent, having other parents judge and shame us. No more, I say.

I can say, that before our life took a tumble, I can recall specific instances where I chose to judge; What kind of mother fed her kids in the supermarket? Ah, that was before I had kids, now I am like, hey mom, do you want a bagel to give the kid? Let us be compassionate, open-minded, and supportive of all people.

Enjoy the article as a re-read or a read for the first time. I would love to hear your perspective on this issue, I actually mean it, so please leave your comments or thoughts at the end.

Unfortunately this seems to be an issue that all parents come face to face with at one time or another; however for parents of kids receiving any type of mental health treatment it hits deeper and hurts more. The issue is Parent Shaming, whether it is un-intentional or intentional- Stings, – a lot.

What kind of society have we turned into where people feel compelled, forced, duty bound, obligated, or required (pick anyone, they all work) to tell you what they think about a situation that you didn’t ask their opinion on and that has no direct impact on them?

My first post to this blog was exactly 7 days ago.  In that short time I have over 200 followers on my Facebook page. I have numerous emails and messages from people thanking me because they no longer feel alone.  I have business interested in my writing. My son has told me that he is proud of me.  His friends from treatment have read it and really like it. Most recent statement was “It’s awesome, Cheryl.  when are you going to write about me?”  And countless practitioners from the mental health field have applauded my efforts. 

I am proud of myself for having the courage to do this.  I have thought about sharing Me with the world in one capacity or another for many decades. I just didn’t know what I was going to share; but now I do, and I am doing it. 

I am not naïve, but I do choose to be vulnerable. I agree in the freedom of speech and opinions. However, what I do not agree with are people who must tell you what they think, it’s like a compulsion for them, they must do it. I do not recall a statue that states, “One must convey every thought that enters your mind to others”.  

I started a Facebook group months ago to support myself and other parents whose children completed wilderness and then advanced to a residential program.  There have been hundreds of parents in and out of that group and I can honestly say there has not been one incident of mean or catty behavior. 

When a member posted something controversial, the other members didn’t jump on him or malign him, they just ignored it.  So how did my Facebook group get so lucky to have 100% of our members treat each other so well?  We didn’t get lucky; we were just a group of parents who have been beaten down, and shamed, most often by the people closest to us, and we didn’t want anyone else to feel that way. It is called compassion, empathy, and sympathy.

I have heard countless stories from my Facebook members of people being “judgey” with their conversations. A comment made in haste doesn’t disappear, it lingers for days in a persons head, toying with their emotions and confidence.

Here is a tiny sample of some of the most insensitive things that have been said to my Facebook parents by non-treatment parents-they were talking about others people’s kids, not yours, right?

The kids are “bad” because they must have bad parents. * The parents didn’t try hard enough. * Mom should have quit her job. * Dad should have quit his job. * Those parents spoil that child. * The parents aren’t strict enough. * The parents are too lenient. * They have too much money. * They don’t have enough money. I could go on and on and on.

So why do I bring up this in my blog. Well, I received my first, let me say confusing communication via a private message. After I completed reading it, my first reaction was, “How dare you.” My almost immediate second reaction was, “Wow that person must be hurting a lot to lash out at me that way.” 

I employed empathy and not anger, because I think you will all agree with me after reading some excerpts, that anger is not what that person needs- he needs compassion. Oh I did respond and it was vicious I wrote: “Ouch. Thanks for your thoughts.”

However the “quirky” part of me wanted to respond to some of the content with the following :

Is writing this blog the best thing for your family Cheryl???.... Ah, yes.  When I am at my best, my family gets the best of me.

I thought moving to Utah was sort of a LIFE Re-boot for you and your family so I was really surprised to see that you are entrenched in writing this very intimate account of 16 yo’s  journey.Intimate is telling you what kind of underwear I wear; my writing is raw and honest.

I am concerned that despite your son agreeing to your writing it, he might not respond well, to some of what you have written later down the road.  You mean letting him know I loved him so much that I put everything on the line to help him and our family.

I wouldn’t feel right if I wasn’t able to let you know how I truly felt about you writing it.  So, your writing was about making yourself feel better and not really about me or my family?  

I would have assumed you would want a fresh start, rather than rehashing a painful and dark time, that your family recently underwent.   Fresh starts does not mean ignore and hide from the past; it means addressing issues and moving forward.

I am also really concerned for your son 14 yo son  and think energy should be put into trying to make him as happy as possible rather than focusing solely on 16 yo and all that he has seemingly put you through over the years.   Parents are not responsible for their child’s happiness. My job as a parent is to provide a loving and stable environment for my children.  It is to guide them to make good and moral decisions; and when they don’t, stand by their side and support them as they deal with the consequences. It is unfair to ask a person to carry the burden of another persons happiness. 

Wishing you the best in whatever choices you make… they are never without consequences.    That was ominous, thank you.

I do find myself rather funny at times, not always, but sometimes. I try to laugh as much as possible, so I hope you are laughing right now with me.  So with all of this being said, my final comment is of this post is…

Be kind to people. You never really know the entire story. Replace judgement with compassion and empathy.  

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UPDATE:
I googled parent/mom shaming and below are the first four articles that came up, and while some are dated they are still very revelant today.  It isn’t just my perspective, it is real.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/new-survey-finds-80-of-mo_b_12614520

https://www.verywellfamily.com/dos-and-donts-of-mom-shaming-4137757

https://www.parents.com/parents-magazine/parents-perspective/gotcha-when-parents-shame-other-parents/

https://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/inside-trend-parent-shaming/story?id=37752623

If you enjoyed this post don’t forget to Subscribe, Like, Share and Comment!

Parent Support, Residential Treatment, Wilderness Therapy

Have you ever been Parent shamed?

UPDATE: This article was originally published in October 2019, and it has been just about six months since I started writing my stories and as of today my blog as been viewed by over 3000 people.

I am not surprised it has grown so quickly, and not just because of this particular subject, but many of the subject I discuss. While this article was originally written with the focus on parents of children who have been placed in wilderness or residential treatment for mental health issues, it has become clear that all the issues that I write about span every facet of all parent child relationships.

I do believe that this article in particular speaks to one of the most difficult areas for parents, both moms and dad, and it causes us to keep silent, having other parents judge and shame us. No more, I say.

I can say, that before our life took a tumble, I can recall specific instances where I chose to judge; What kind of mother fed her kids in the supermarket? Ah, that was before I had kids, now I am like, hey mom, do you want a bagel to give the kid? Let us be compassionate, open-minded, and supportive of all people.

Enjoy the article as a re-read or a read for the first time. I would love to hear your perspective on this issue, I actually mean it, so please leave your comments or thoughts at the end.

Unfortunately this seems to be an issue that all parents come face to face with at one time or another; however for parents of kids receiving any type of mental health treatment it hits deeper and hurts more. The issue is Parent Shaming, whether it is un-intentional or intentional- Stings, – a lot.

What kind of society have we turned into where people feel compelled, forced, duty bound, obligated, or required (pick anyone, they all work) to tell you what they think about a situation that you didn’t ask their opinion on and that has no direct impact on them?

My first post to this blog was exactly 7 days ago.  In that short time I have over 200 followers on my Facebook page. I have numerous emails and messages from people thanking me because they no longer feel alone.  I have business interested in my writing. My son has told me that he is proud of me.  His friends from treatment have read it and really like it. Most recent statement was “It’s awesome, Cheryl.  when are you going to write about me?”  And countless practitioners from the mental health field have applauded my efforts. 

I am proud of myself for having the courage to do this.  I have thought about sharing Me with the world in one capacity or another for many decades. I just didn’t know what I was going to share; but now I do, and I am doing it. 

I am not naïve, but I do choose to be vulnerable. I agree in the freedom of speech and opinions. However, what I do not agree with are people who must tell you what they think, it’s like a compulsion for them, they must do it. I do not recall a statue that states, “One must convey every thought that enters your mind to others”.  

I started a Facebook group months ago to support myself and other parents whose children completed wilderness and then advanced to a residential program.  There have been hundreds of parents in and out of that group and I can honestly say there has not been one incident of mean or catty behavior. 

When a member posted something controversial, the other members didn’t jump on him or malign him, they just ignored it.  So how did my Facebook group get so lucky to have 100% of our members treat each other so well?  We didn’t get lucky; we were just a group of parents who have been beaten down, and shamed, most often by the people closest to us, and we didn’t want anyone else to feel that way. It is called compassion, empathy, and sympathy.

I have heard countless stories from my Facebook members of people being “judgey” with their conversations. A comment made in haste doesn’t disappear, it lingers for days in a persons head, toying with their emotions and confidence.

Here is a tiny sample of some of the most insensitive things that have been said to my Facebook parents by non-treatment parents-they were talking about others people’s kids, not yours, right?

The kids are “bad” because they must have bad parents. * The parents didn’t try hard enough. * Mom should have quit her job. * Dad should have quit his job. * Those parents spoil that child. * The parents aren’t strict enough. * The parents are too lenient. * They have too much money. * They don’t have enough money. I could go on and on and on.

So why do I bring up this in my blog. Well, I received my first, let me say confusing communication via a private message. After I completed reading it, my first reaction was, “How dare you.” My almost immediate second reaction was, “Wow that person must be hurting a lot to lash out at me that way.” 

I employed empathy and not anger, because I think you will all agree with me after reading some excerpts, that anger is not what that person needs- he needs compassion. Oh I did respond and it was vicious I wrote: “Ouch. Thanks for your thoughts.”

However the “quirky” part of me wanted to respond to some of the content with the following :

Is writing this blog the best thing for your family Cheryl???.... Ah, yes.  When I am at my best, my family gets the best of me.

I thought moving to Utah was sort of a LIFE Re-boot for you and your family so I was really surprised to see that you are entrenched in writing this very intimate account of 16 yo’s  journey.Intimate is telling you what kind of underwear I wear; my writing is raw and honest.

I am concerned that despite your son agreeing to your writing it, he might not respond well, to some of what you have written later down the road.  You mean letting him know I loved him so much that I put everything on the line to help him and our family.

I wouldn’t feel right if I wasn’t able to let you know how I truly felt about you writing it.  So, your writing was about making yourself feel better and not really about me or my family?  

I would have assumed you would want a fresh start, rather than rehashing a painful and dark time, that your family recently underwent.   Fresh starts does not mean ignore and hide from the past; it means addressing issues and moving forward.

I am also really concerned for your son 14 yo son  and think energy should be put into trying to make him as happy as possible rather than focusing solely on 16 yo and all that he has seemingly put you through over the years.   Parents are not responsible for their child’s happiness. My job as a parent is to provide a loving and stable environment for my children.  It is to guide them to make good and moral decisions; and when they don’t, stand by their side and support them as they deal with the consequences. It is unfair to ask a person to carry the burden of another persons happiness. 

Wishing you the best in whatever choices you make… they are never without consequences.    That was ominous, thank you.

I do find myself rather funny at times, not always, but sometimes. I try to laugh as much as possible, so I hope you are laughing right now with me.  So with all of this being said, my final comment is of this post is…

Be kind to people. You never really know the entire story. Replace judgement with compassion and empathy.  

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UPDATE:
I googled parent/mom shaming and below are the first four articles that came up, and while some are dated they are still very revelant today.  It isn’t just my perspective, it is real.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/new-survey-finds-80-of-mo_b_12614520

https://www.verywellfamily.com/dos-and-donts-of-mom-shaming-4137757

https://www.parents.com/parents-magazine/parents-perspective/gotcha-when-parents-shame-other-parents/

https://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/inside-trend-parent-shaming/story?id=37752623

 

If you enjoyed this post don’t forget to Subscribe, Like, Share and Comment!

Parent Support, Residential Treatment, Wilderness Therapy

Why is it so important for women to have a support system.

I want to take the time to thank everyone who has been reading and commenting on Letters to My Son.  I started this to simply let people know that they were not alone; as I often felt like I was alone and no one could possibly understand what I was going through.

The analytics prove otherwise, I am definitely not alone on this journey.  I was shocked to learn that almost 1600 people have viewed the blog to the tune of over 4500 times. I am so touched that anyone would take the time to sit and read my stream of consciousness writing.  I don’t think I could have anticipated the deep soulful honest responses that have been shared with me, I have been honored and humbled by each and every one.

Every time someone gains the courage to share something with me, I take on a bit of that courage for myself. My insecurities lessen a smidgen each time, and it helps me know that I am on the right path and should continue to do this.  Many of your responses brought both tears and smiles to my face.

As we get closer to my holiday, Christmas, I am reflective of the last 18 months of my life and how much I have grown.  It made me think what made it different this time, that I was able to have “gotten it”.

The honest answer is that my family has been more successful than ever before because I changed.  I made the choice to not only look at my son, but to really look at myself.  And one of the helpful aspects of this that led to my metamorphosis was that I had found a tribe.  And for me, in the oddest of places, a small group of six other women. I can tell you historically I do not gravitate to women groups; I am too intimidated by them and often feel insecure and inadequate.  It didn’t happen because I was looking for it, it happened because I made the decision to reach out, be honest, and let them know I needed them.   It not only was right time, it was with the right people at the right place.  I was lucky, I know this to my core.

It started with two and then it grew to seven of us.  We clicked, we understood each other, and we were a team.  The only common thread was Red House as  nothing else in our lives would have had us crossing paths or bring together; certainly not geography as we spanned the entire US from coast to coast.; we were of different faiths and cultures; and none shared the same job industry.

As our children progressed and regressed we supported, and we listened. We also all shared and chose to be vulnerable.  We held each other accountable for our actions and behaviors, we cheered on the wins, and often would just listen with support through sniffled teary phone calls on the bad days, I fully cop to this one myself. We were a resource and support for each other like no other persons could be.  We understood each other.

I believe one of the main factors in why I am doing so well is because I know that I have my tribe.  They are awesome at pointing out my bad behavior, or the rearing of old patterns. They are also amazing at finding what I have done right, and telling me so.  I often, like many people have the tendency to focus on the 5% failure instead of the 95% success.    These ladies are like bloodhounds and will immediately find the success among the crap and point it out.  Every conversation and interaction has the underlying knowledge that we have all struggled, none of us is any better than the other and we all need help.  These amazing women do this with full empathy and without judgement.

Currently five of the seven boys are home and graduated out of program with the other two happening in probably the next four to six weeks.  Our sons are all doing well, and that does not mean without stumbles, setbacks, or some questionable behaviors, it means they are far better off then they were a year ago, and we as parents are learning to work through whatever comes our way, to continue to communicate, and to continue to build on it for healthier relationships for the future.Preview(opens in a new tab)

I encourage all people, not just parents to look for and develop a tribe.  It will not just show up at knock at your door, it requires work on your part, the hardest work; to put yourself out there and start to be vulnerable and share, people will respond to it, as you all have for me.

I dedicate this post to my tribe and every other man and woman out there with whom I have texted, spoken, emailed and met for coffee or will connect with someday.  

We are all warriors.