Health & Wellbeing Articles

Parenting; I wish I knew how my child felt.

Insights and tools for a happy family Kim Harries

china 1992

Alfred Adler was a colleague of Freud and Jung who broke away to form his own model of Psychology:, Individual Psychology. His theory was based on the interactions and behaviour that he observed as a Doctor providing child guidance and family counselling. His philosophy about child development, together with its’ practical applications are as useful and relevant to our children today and indeed to society as a whole.

Adler observed that children are unique individuals striving to belong, to be loved, to grow and develop to the best of their ability and to find their place within the family. He purports that the child’s personality develops largely between the ages of zero and seven (unless the child has experiences a significant trauma) as a result of both happy and psychologically painful experiences. The child forms hypotheses about their place and role within the family, their strengths and weaknesses, the role of their mother and father, how men and women relate to each other, how affection is demonstrated, how anger is used and most importantly how they need to think, feel and behave as a result.

In this microcosm of society – the family of origin, the child learns I am…. People are….Men, women are…..The world is …..Therefore, in order to belong and find my place I need to……think, feel and behave in this way.

These core beliefs form the blueprint of the personality. Being children, the conclusions they draw are infantile, very black and white and often mistaken; It is my fault, I am to blame, I am unlovable, I am a failure etc. e.g.

In counselling, the therapist enables the client to gain insight into their core beliefs originating from childhood via early recollections. This summary of childhood core beliefs is The Syllogism:

I am caring, responsible for making people happy, misunderstood and a failure

People are unfeeling, demanding and judgmental

Men are absent or violent

Women are non-assertive victims with a lot of love to give

The world is unpredictable and frightening

Therefore to survive, I try to pre-empt conflict, aim to please and keep my opinions to myself

We carry these mistaken beliefs withy us into adulthood and they colour everything we thing feel and do. It is only when we have a crisis of a break down that we begin to question and re-examine ourselves and our relationships. By having counselling, we are able to discover the key events in childhood that cemented our faulty beliefs about ourselves and make changes. As adults we are now empowered and capable of choosing how we think and therefore how we feel and ultimately how we behave – thus creating a life we are happy to live.

The family – a play in progress

The child in born into a play on progress, they don’t know what scene or act they are entering, the role and relationships between the actors, how the actors feel about their entrance and what acts and scenes have gone before. So they creatively discover their family and their place within in. Being born form a place of less than/inferiority as a tiny baby, the child learns to compensate for these feelings of inferiority and inadequacy.

A healthy family atmosphere is one based on mutual respect, mutual cooperation and mutual trust – a democracy where all members are viewed as different but equal. Parents who show respect for their children teach their children respect, equality, responsibly, team working for the common good. Within this atmosphere the child develop and grows with self-esteem and confident into a balanced individual.

A family where power is the culture, teaches competition, every child for himself, diminishes self-esteem and the child may compensate by becoming ego centric or superior to hide deep feelings of inadequacy.


Tips for creating a family unit based of democracy. The younger this is taught, the better!

Encouragement as opposed to praise. Praise is power based and diminishes the child. It demonstrates that I am in a superior position and can therefore judge you. Whereas encouragement is saying, how do you feel you did, were you proud of your achievements, what else do you want to accomplish?

Children are not naughty but discouraged. If I cant be the best, I will be the best of the worst!

Empowerment is giving your child the message there are no limits except those that we impose of ourselves, with positive self-belief, we can achieve our dreams.

Natural and Logical consequences as opposed to reward and punishment (which are power based). If you make these choice, these are the natural/logical consequences of your behaviour – if you don’t do your homework, you will get into trouble at school, if you don’t clean your teeth, you will need a filling, if you shout at me, I will leave the room because it hurts my ears and I feel disrespected. A child who is punished seeks revenge, and will retaliate where it hurts the parent most! A child who is rewarded, expects reward as his/her right.

Model the behaviour you want to foster Do as I do, not as I say. Children model what we do, not as we say!. This fosters respect and gives the message that you are not asking the child to do anything you wouldn’t do, that you mean what you say. Next time you observe your child shouting or thumping the table, ask yourself, where have they seen this behaviour before!

Set behaviour boundaries. State clearly what is acceptable and non-acceptable in this family and BE CONSISTENT

Enforce these rules and withdrawal instead of setting up a power struggle -Demonstrate I love you but not your behaviour – leave the room stating you love your child but are not prepared to accommodate their behaviour. Calmly removing yourself for the room gives a very clear message and avoids a verbal slanging match.

Mum and Dad stick together and agree boundaries. Without agreement in parenting, the child learns to play one off against the other and all hell breaks loose!

Teach Time Out for both adults and children. When emotions run too high, 10 being a temper tantrum, anything over 5 means the child or adult has lost control and needs time out to regain composure. In this state, no one can be reasonable or logical!

Respect parent and child rights, have the courage to both parents and children say sorry. This teaches the child that mistakes are how we learn and part of the human condition.

Let them fight it out, if it looks like an even battle; mutual cooperation can be seen in a fight or in a mutual play.

Be patient, this is a process and can be fostered via the family meeting. (Email me if you would like more information). Parenting wont be effective in times of conflict, set the boundaries when the child is receptive.

Give the child one chance to misbehave. We all need a chance, it is fair to let the child make one mistake that they can learn from, if the behaviour in repeated, then enforce the boundary.

Think about when to intervene– siblings have to learn to assert themselves. Sometimes fights are created to get the adult involved, by not intervening we give the message that we trust our children to sort it out and learn to get along better.

Don’t do for the child what the child can do for himself this fosters dependence, denies opportunities for the child to learn new skills and diminishes self-esteem.

Children live up to our expectations – we all do! Convey the message that you trust your child to make the right decision and they will!

Over protection is the on the same continuum as rejection. If I am over protective, I am teaching my child to be irresponsible, to put me in his service and not to take risks. I am effectively saying I reject and have no faith in my child and don’t believe s/he can shoulder responsibility.

Reward good behaviour/ ignore bad behaviour. Rewarded behaviour is perpetuated.
Understand the child mistaken goal of behaviour


“The ABC’s of Guiding the Child,” by Rudolf Dreikurs and Margaret Goldman.)Also see “Classical Adlerian Guidelines for Educating the Child,”
and “Educating Children for Cooperation and Contribution – Volume II.”
based on the original ideas of Anthony Bruck.

china 3

Pregnancy Shiatsu
Shiatsu is a traditional Japanese massage. It is a safe and effective form of bodywork in pregnancy and the postpartum period. Pregnancy is a time of extraordinary change and development f


or both mother and baby. Regular shiatsu sessions can help the mother to adapt to the changes that are taking place. The deep breathing and stretches encouraged by Shiatsu have been described by clients as “passive yoga”. The practitioner uses palm and finger pressure to bring the body to a better state of balance. Shiatsu is a deeply relaxing experience that can benefit the following conditions:

  • sore backs, shoulders and necks
  • headaches
  • insomnia and anxiety
  • nausea, sciatica
  • general stress and strain

Treatments take place lying on a table in side position, with cushions for support and comfort. Shiatsu is received through clothes, so it is best to wear loose comfortable clothing, incorporates the power of touch, stretching, breathing techniques and pressure to bring the body to a better state of balance. Following the treatment there will be a feeling of increased vitality and deep relaxation.

Shiatsu for Labour
Certain pressure points are extremely effective for promoting labour and have been used many times over for many ladies effectively. Feel free to just book in for this alone when the time is right.

Postnatal Shiatsu
A new mother will often feel exhausted in the weeks and months following the birth of her baby. This is an ideal time to experience the restorative power of shiatsu. Feel free to bring your baby with you as shiatsu can be received with your baby lying next to you.

Fee: £55 per 60min treatment
3 x treatments – £149
6 x treatments – £297

NB. All fees payable at first appointment in cash, cheque or bank transfer format
Available in Berkhamsted & Tring clinics only

For appointments please call Jan Murphy (MRSS) (TBCCT – / / 0788 6655 705