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to feel like a rubbish parent despite working with kids professionally?

(35 Posts)
swaddleaholic Mon 19-Nov-12 13:42:22

You know what they say about children of psychologists??

Just wondered if anyone else has this conflict? I work part-time as a clinical psychologist with children 0-19 and whilst this is specifically with mental health problems eg Obsessive compulsive disorder, low mood etc I do some stuff that blurs into parenting eg: toilet training (when its gone wrong), eating issues etc. I have two little ones nearly 3 and 18 months and I feel really rubbish at parenting at the minute - my elder one has dropped his daytime nap recently, his eating is crap at the moment, and he is in the 'no'/ defiant zone, not to mention that he totally and utterly refuses to poo on the toilet - tells me calmly that he needs to but demands a pull-up despite being totally fine with weeing! Also massively sleep deprived following consecutive vomit bugs/ teething (me not them)...

Whilst I know that being a parent is a totally different experience to seeing families professionally, I had more expectations of myself (and friends also seem to think I should) have more ideas about how to manage? On the one hand I have so much empathy with families in a way I was not able to before (although I like to think pretty empathic before anyway). On the parenting front I am feeling completely de-skilled, incapable and crap. I am getting referrals for similar cases and feeling like such a fraud. Unfortunately the key missing part to this is that my supervision at the moment is really uncontaining - and whilst I am looking at other jobs, it takes a lot of energy to change jobs. There are no other members of my team who could supervise me, and I really love the team!

It all makes me feel awful - I'd really appreciate if anyone wanted to share their thoughts (constructively), less of the bashing if ok, feeling fragile! thanks for reading.

swaddleaholic Mon 19-Nov-12 21:48:21

Ps what does op mean? Has taken me so long to decipher online acronyms?

McPhee Mon 19-Nov-12 21:54:13

I'm a professional nanny, and have been for 13 years. Been in childcare for 21 years. I've done some high profile, and some average Jo families. Both were a breeze. Now I'm a mum to a 5 month old girl and not a fucking clue what I'm doing grin

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Mon 19-Nov-12 21:55:44

And another one here. I think it's the lack of emotional distance involved that makes it so much harder to deal with our own kids.

SminkoPinko Mon 19-Nov-12 22:13:13

OP = Original Poster

God, I sympathise! I'm a family therapy-trained Mental Health social worker. My family comprise of a clinically depressed partner, a teenager whose recent behaviour has been really, really, seriously poor, another teenager whose only socialising occurs via online video gaming and a super-stroppy tantrumming 3 year old... I have worked with all these groups/ages over the course of my brilliant career and does that help? Not one iota!

bissydissy Tue 20-Nov-12 01:19:31

I'm glad this thread has felt helpful. My other thought was that your work makes it harder to see your own kids clearly - someone up thread mentioned being terrified daughter would turn to drugs and I'm assuming she knows some troubled teens through work.

Remember an 18 month wanting a pull up is pretty common and most does not mean he will grow up into or is the same as 10 year old soiler. Most kids don't after al

I had assumed you didn't have any supervision and they were being shitey about puting in place but if it's just crap that's tough. Maybe make a case for a supervisor from a sister team if thats possible by saying you want to have supervision from a different model for a bit? Or set up some peer supervision? Or make the problem clear to them, discuss what you need in supervision.

I assume they can do better as I'm guessing when clients come to them and say I'm terribly worried about my child they don't say 'You wait till they are teens - ha ha!' Or maybe they do!

Good luck.

lisad123 Tue 20-Nov-12 01:34:05

I always remember someone saying if you want a lovely house don't marry a builder/painter ect. Most of us can do wonders for others when it's our job and we are not emotionally involved.
I have spent years working with families in education and social care, have stood in court, argued with heads of CP and helped families voices be heard but sit me in a room with Dds pead and I cry like a baby sadblush

We all can only ever do our best and one thing I learnt as a parent that they fail to make very clear in training is that every child is different, same things don't work for all children and you learn as you go.

Journey Tue 20-Nov-12 11:38:01

Quite simply parenting isn't the same as a job. In a job you're emotionally detached from the work. From the heart there are no worries or concerns about the child. You're also not doing the hard work unlike the parents. You tell them and advise them and that is it. Putting things into practice is totally different.

I've sat in sessions with my dc and sometimes I think the professional's view is so one sided. Yes they have the text book knowledge and the research to quote but beyond that I can tell they haven't had a dc of their own going through it.

Value the learning experience your dcs are giving you. It will make you better at your job. Also learn to listen to the patients and their parents more. Quite often we don't have a voice because if we question anything then we're in denial about the situation; get the puppy dog eye look of sympathy which is patronising or the well you should be trying harder.

Mrsjay Tue 20-Nov-12 11:42:48

being a parent and doing your job is so different because you have that emotional bond with your own children and all the dynamics that go with it, MY dds are older but I have the old nursery nurse qualification so of course i knew what i was doing WRONG,blush It is so different please don't be too hard on yourself it is ok nobody is the perfect parent,

I have a friend who is a social worker working with young people and children with major issues and problems yet she is all in a tizz at the moment because her 2 yr old is having tantrums ,

picketywick Tue 20-Nov-12 13:37:08

swaddle, lets hope its a phase you are going through. Good luck. I sometimes get an "off it" period. It passes

FreudianLisp Tue 20-Nov-12 14:26:05

Another clinical psychologist here (although I don't work with kids), just offering sympathy. Maybe we put too much pressure on ourselves: "I'm a psychologist so I SHOULD be able to ensure that my children are the most perfect, well-adjusted kids in the world." But our children may have other ideas!

I bet you're doing just fine.

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