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A Mom Discovers How to Help Her Struggling Teen

Last year the mom of a struggling teenager participated in a COS-P group. Her son had recently participated in a month long intensive day treatment program because of depressive symptoms, struggles at school, and feelings of isolation. The mom described how her son would talk about how dumb he was at school, how he didn?t have any friends, and how he had nothing to look forward to in his future. His mom responded by trying to prove wrong his complaints. She pointed out all the ways he was a good student. She listed off all his friends. She talked about all the possibilities of things for him to do after high school. During a COS-P group, this mom began to recognize that her son was on the bottom of the Circle* when he shared with her his struggles, and that she responded to him by trying to reassure him and explore with him on the top of the Circle* by pointing out all the possibilities for him and the things happening in his life. She shared how hard it was for her to Be With*?him in his struggle, and her fear (Shark Music*) that he would go to a dark place. She went on to talk about wanting to protect him. ?I don?t know what I think I am protecting him from, his own feelings?? She used her new awareness to lean into her Shark Music* and Be With* her son, expressing empathy and understanding during those first moments when he shared his distress to her. It?s been a year since this group. Last week I ran into this mom, and she shared with me an update of her relationship with her son. She expressed how different things are, and how well he is doing. In the past, when he was distressed, her son would take off on his own, or isolate in his room, or refuse to go to school. Now when he is distressed, he seeks her out. We smiled together and I said, ?He turns to you! Instead of turning away, he comes in on the bottom of the Circle and you welcome him in*.? We both smiled and her eyes teared up, and so did mine. The Circle of Security. *Learn more about?Being With,?Shark Music and how to use the Circle of Security graphic by watching our Animated Videos on our website. __________________________________________________________________________________

I invite you to share with me your comments, reflections, Circle stories and individual experiences with parenting and the Circle of Security. Your submissions may be used in future blog posts, with all identifying information excluded, unless you specifically request to be identified. Contact me at deidre@circleofsecurity.com


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