How to help my 6 yr old

by M

Hi, I am a mother of a 6 and 3 yr old. I have just discovered the concept of toxic shame. I had Postpartum Depression and anxiety and I am worried I have wounded my 6 yr old. I would get very frustrated with him and yell at him. I did not name call, or compare, or anything like that but I would say things like "why do you always do this?" He has been very oppositional recently and anxious.

Is it too late to help him heal? I think I have to be gentle, set limits but not get angry with him, listen to his upset and acknowledge his feelings, spend 1-1 time with him, let him know I love him, if he does something wrong tell him the behavior is not ok but he is. Are there other things I should be doing?

I think I just recognized my own toxic shame from my father and possibly mother. My father was an alcoholic who would rage (not usually at us) and my mother was self deprecating and gave guilt trips. I think I will need to do work on myself too. I am just worried about my child right now though.

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Aug 09, 2015
by: Don

Thank you so much for the courage it took to take this inward look at yourself. It is a beautiful act of love for your son and love heals all wounds (as long as you keep on loving with this kind of accountability.)

"Wounded people wound people" so this is not about blaming yourself or your parents either. It is about seeing the wounds and taking action to heal them. As you heal, so will your children because you will become more and more able to meet their needs fully. And remember "healthy people heal people". :)

As for your son: He will likely have some issues but he can heal them if someone leads the way and shows him how. Furthermore, if our parents were able to shelter us and keep us totally free of trials and adversity in childhood then we would have to go out into the world unprepared to deal with adversity.

Seek help for the toxic shame through Adult Children of Alcoholics and other Dysfunctional Families (ACoA or ACDF meetings) or Codependents Anonymous or Alanon. And if you have the resources, find a therapist who knows about addictions and the impact it has on families.

Your children need consistency. It is not good to bounce back and forth between dysfunction and recovery. If you find that cycle developing, get help asap and commit to doing whatever it takes heal.


PS> If you find this too overwhelming or have trouble locating help in your area, I offer telephone coaching to help get started in recovery. Contact me at the link below:

Contact Don Carter

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