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Windmills of the Minds

Counselling & Parenting Services for adults and young people

'When the wind of change blows, some build walls, while others build windmills'

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My Blog

Blog

Being my own Worst Enemy.

Posted on April 5, 2020 at 4:18 PM Comments comments ()
I have heard these words many times in the therapy room.  'I am my own worst enemy'.  I can remember saying them to my therapist some years ago. Now it did not happen over night, I didn't necessarily force changes, it happened naturally.  I befriended myself , I do nice things for me, I work on making better decisions, I practice reassuring, comforting and lower my expectations of myself. 

We can explore how we came to this place of treating ourselves badly?
We can think about where did it all start?

We may find ourselves creating havoc in relationships, over committing, letting others down.
We may find ourselves thinking we are bad people, not worthy, choosing less than we deserve. 

Exhaustion and chronic fatigue may be physical symptoms.
Constant headaches from feeling pressured. 

It may not a specific time or place when the blaming or shaming started. When guilty feelings propelled us into giving too much. 
It is usually over a period of time,  when repeated messages are reinforced, by parents, society, cultural beliefs, religion, peers, teachers. 

Think about if you put yourself last or  find it difficult to say no? Feel constantly heavily compromised? 

I want to be clear, the way I practice is not about blaming others. Therapy allows us the time to understand, firstly what we are doing that's  badly affecting our life and secondly the reasons. We can in time learn to understand how these ways of beings are now established in our relationships, decision making and life choices. 

Imagine what it is like to have an embedded splinter, it may be painful, sore, irritating, you know its there. 
It may be slightly embedded so we can see it, or it may have got buried beneath the skin, we may need help to remove the splinter. For a while it will feel worse, it may hurt finding the splinter, it may take some time. Eventually though, it will heal, you will not be bothered by it. 

Therapy is about  considering your own responsibility and what others are responsible for. Of taking responsibility for your life, your choices and your behaviours. To consider your own needs as well as others. Therapy might free you, liberate your choices and mindset.
Or choose to live a simpler, happier, more content life.

We can learn to befriend ourselves. Therapy is not an easy journey, for some it is a difficult and emotionally turbulent.  For most, the feedback is,  that it has been worth it.

Paul Gilbert is one guru for self compassion. Check out his resources.


Sarah  May Thorpe.

Get in touch. 

Book an initial consultation by emailing [email protected]
or telephone 07727115371
Visit my website - windmillsoftheminds.com

All work is currently remote due to the Covid 19 (Coronavirus)

If you are concerned about working therapeutically, over the telephone or video, lets talk about it, we may be able to reassure you of any fears or concerns that may be stopping you, or decide that waiting for face to face sessions is the safest option. 

The power of listening to your children

Posted on January 6, 2017 at 8:56 AM Comments comments ()






Listening well is a skill that takes some time to practice and master.  To be able to listen well to your child consider the following. This will usually reduce any behavioural issues, confusion and most of all strengthen the bond between you both. 

If you can, forget your own concerns, stop what you are doing for the time being and concentrate on what they are saying, watch body language for extra clues. Listen for content and feeling, what is it they are trying to tell you? How are they feeling?

If you don't have the time to stop, let your child know that you want to listen to them and will make time for them once you are able to.

Look at your child, eye contact and make physical contact if your child is comfortable with this.

Check with your child that you have heard and understood them well, reflect back to them their words.

Listen out for themes, repeating words, how they say they feel, hurt, angry?

Listen without judging or trying to offer them a solution. Encourage them to think of possible solutions if there is a specific problem. Or they may need a hug or someone to listen and know they understand. 

By doing this we strengthen the bond by 
DEVELOPING TRUST
COMPASSION
SUPPORT
UNDERSTANDING 
FEELING VALUED

Children will feel 

HEARD
UNDERSTOOD 
IMPORTANT
SUPPORTED

Your child will learn skills 

EMPATHISING 
LISTENING TO YOU AND OTHERS
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
VOCABULARY TO EXPRESS EMOTION

If you would like more support in building this relationship with your child please contact me [email protected] to discuss services offered.


Millennium Parenting

Posted on December 7, 2016 at 1:17 PM Comments comments ()
Sharing my thoughts with you today about parenting in the millennium. Parenting has changed so much over the years, thinking of myself being parented as a child, to parenting my eldest and youngest child.
I strongly believe that the changes are a really good thing, smacking children and eliminating punitive punishments are some of the best things to happen over the past 20 years.

Reasons why? Let me share a few examples, punitive punishment that are intended to make a child feel guilty, ashamed and embarrassed of his actions is simply not going to help their confidence or the relationship with a parent strong. Messages such as, ' wait till i tell your teacher what you have done' or ' you are a horrible child for hurting your friend', are not going to teach them how to behave, only how to feel bad and guilty for being a child.Putting children in the corner is considered a punitive punishment and is widely discouraged.

The seasonal message used by many parents is' Santa is not coming now'... this breaks my heart because children are so vulnerable and believe what we say. To use presents as a punishment to me is setting a parent up for a really hard time up to Christmas, with tears and tantrums for all the family.

Teaching a child firm boundaries is essential, not doing anything or laughing at children for hurting another is going to leave you wide open for many problems down the road.

What we need is a good balance of discipline and love. Telling a child what they should be doing is much more effective in my experience of many years of working with children and parenting. Giving them choices and consequences also works really well.

Unfortunately we have messages on social media that say bring back old punishments. 
There's a reason they have been replaced because of damage to children's well being.
Especially when used excessively.

There are many ways to manage behaviours that will not involve hurting a child. Keeping calm and handling behaviours immediately will help you and your child.

If you ever feel like a stuck record then no doubt you are out of control and end up exploding at children because of the frustration. You are not alone, it happens. We need to learn how to discipline assertively, effectively to help our own and our childs wellness. 

No parent is perfect and we all parent in different style. However, when it comes to setting boundaries and consequences, having a clear plan of rules and expectations and agreeing this with a partner or other family will reduce your stress levels to a healthy level.

For more information on Triple P parenting programmes and family support please visit my website.

www.windmillsoftheminds.com




I feel lost without my children ...Empty nest syndrome

Posted on July 26, 2016 at 7:24 AM Comments comments ()
I am sure if you are reading this and you have small children then you may find it hard to understand how parents may feel this way. However, lots of parents do and will.

Many parents feel a deep sense of loss and feeling literally 'lost' not knowing what to do when children leave the home to live somewhere else or go to university. 
 
Like any loss, the stages of grief may hit home, depression, being the most common feeling, mostly because parents (being one myself and having experienced this) feel a sadness. 

Working parents may regret that they did not spend more time at home with their child, or any parent, may have regrets about something or other and therefore feel guilty.

Whatever it is your feeling as a parent, be accepting of the feelings, there is no need to feel silly for feeling this way. Every emotion is valid, we do not need to push it away and try to get on with life, or be feel pressured to 'get a life'. 

You can help themselves by allowing whatever you need to feel, to be expressed and be fully felt.

After all, you are their mum or dad, or carer, grandparent and you have spent many years rearing them, laughing, crying and being there for them through all kinds of challenges.

Nothing you do can change the past, none of us are ever going to not regret anything, that is part of the process of life. In hindsight, we could have always done more or different.
Once we can fully feel the pain of the loss, this will shift, and we can celebrate a new beginning of the next stage of life.

However, be prepared for your children to return to the nest... but that is another story for another day.

A good article to read below.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/empty-nest-syndrome-the-long-goodbye-2330118.html


Managing conflict for Separated Parents

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 1:35 PM Comments comments ()
Many parents who separate because they don't want to be in conflict anymore, usually find that they end up in more conflict over the children. If you are a separated parent reading this, try to focus on your own behaviour, how you can help ease the conflict and the impact on your child.

Why does the conflict arise?
Separated parents actually take some time to separate beyond the actual physical separation. Emotionally we sometimes stay attached, this can take a while to move on if you were the one that did not want the relationship to dissolve. It is worth thinking, 'am i struggling to detach after 6 -12 months', what is holding me back'? 

Power battles
Parents can feel out of control of their lives and over their ex partners lives. For some the battle can be about blaming one another. The children often will be used to exert power by stopping contact or threatening to take the child away. This is damaging to the child and your relationship with them. The children may be used by competing whose home is the best, who can buy them the most presents and so on. Unfortunately, there are no winners, the ones that loose out are the children. Children loose out by parents failing to consider the impact on a childs mental health and well being by being stuck between two parents who cannot put their own feelings aside to protect their child.

How might we start to stop letting the children get caught up in the middle?
 
Here are a few ideas to contemplate..................

Listen to your child, not only by what they say but how they behave. Do they seem happy? Are you having problems with their behaviour? They speak through non-verbal communications.

Do not use your child as a weapon, your child deserves to have two parents, unless you have issues that your child is at harm or risk with another parent, stopping contact is hurting your child.

Learning to communicate in a non aggressive but assertive tone and manner will reduce stress levels and help you stay in control of your emotions. Stop blaming one another for problems and start taking responsibility for your own actions.

Refrain from criticising the other parent in front of the child.

Children look up to us as role models, they copy and learn. They deserve to have a childhood without being expected to choose between parents. Ask yourself, are they caught up in the middle?
If the answer is yes, act now, find some support for you and your child.

If you are affected by the above and would like to learn more about how you or your child can get help visit my website. www.windmillsoftheminds.com

Sarah May Thorpe.





Recovering Relationship Ruptures in Parenting- Mini Blog

Posted on July 4, 2016 at 1:15 PM Comments comments ()
Below are some questions that can help heal past parenting relationship issues and understand yourself as a parent. It helps to ask these questions without judging or blame, this is about understanding, then being able to take action to improve relationships, our own well being and parenting. 

Write down five words which describes what you feel towards your parents or did do?

Did you want something from them that you didn't receive, what was this? What difference would this have made to your relationship?

What might have prevented them giving you what you needed?

How can you give yourself what your parents were unable to?

What do you struggle in giving to your children as a parent?

If you have children, what helps you bond, feel close with your child?

How important was it for you to feel loved and accepted as a child?

How might you start to give yourself that love and acceptance now and if you have children, to them if you don't already?

Do you have support in parenting?

Can you recognise your parents strengths and your own? Name these?

Have you happy memories from childhood, what were these doing?

Non of us are infallible, we all make mistakes, nobody is the perfect parent. Trying to be will mean we only end up feeling endless guilt. If we can forgive ourselves and our parents for not being able to give us everything, imagine what this would feel like?
We sometimes repeat patterns of behaviour, whether building or damaging relationships. Learning more about your own parenting, your relationships, your behaviours can help you be less stressed, assertive and creative in parenting. Also creating healthy attachments.

I am currently writing some Mini booklets. 

Early warning signs of mental health in children/teens, what and who can help?
Ideas on how best to manage testing teen behaviours?

These will be at a price of £3.50 via email and £5 for a posted hard copy plus PP. If you are interested in purchasing these, please email me your details.

I look forward to hearing from you.
If you want to read more on how to gain more practical face to face support with parenting visit my website. www.windmillsoftheminds.com


FOR SEPARATED PARENTS

Posted on March 2, 2015 at 3:46 PM Comments comments ()
For Separated Parents
children counselling






I would first like to acknowledge that I write from a separated parent perspective and I am supportive and compassionate to all single parents, regardless of race, gender or age etc.
I think single parents receive some bad press, however, single or together is not the issue here. How we relate to one another is. Relationships being the key to having a happier life.
 
Secondly, I’m sure you will agree with me, being a separated parent can be incredibly tough. We may feel like we are up and down emotionally, not sure how to feel. Usually tensions are high, there are feelings of hurt that turn into anger and for some an overwhelming sadness.
So what can help us get through this challenging time?
In my experience, compassion, support, time and eventually acceptance and forgiveness.
 
Compassion
Compassion for yourself. You may feel guilty, this is part of the process of parenting and loss, if we don't forgive ourselves or others we remain often in such a place that is destructive, to you, the other parent and the children. Be your own best friend. Be good to yourself. Allow your self time to feel what you need too and work through those feelings. Find ways to let go of these emotions that are not harmful to you or anyone else. Be creative, write a journal, sing, exercise, talk. 
 
Time and Support
Who can we talk to?
Finding another adult to talk to is maintaining good self-care and is necessary for a healthy mind and emotional state.
Someone who isn't involved and can remain objective usually helps. It is healthy to show emotions in front of our children, leaning on them for emotional support causes them to feel too responsible for us. Children love both parents and it is good for them to let this continue to happen. How you feel is not how they feel. Unless there are safe guarding issues, seeing you both working together as separated parents helps them cope with the changes and loss.
Stages of loss below. We may not go through them all at once or in the same way. Grief is individual and can be very different for each person. No one can tell you how you should be feeling.
Bereavement, anger, depression
 







Is time precious for you? It is for me.  Changes in life take time to adjust too. We are creatures of habit and also we may feel highly emotional in the first few months or it may take longer. Take time to grieve your loss and recover.
If you do find yourself stuck or struggling day to day to cope, letting down our guard and seeking help is one small step forward.
Children also need time to adjust to changes that are happening. Help children to feel safe and secure, reassure them and communicate it's not their fault, this reduces many major emotional and behavioural issues.
 
They may struggle with the separation needing some professional support too. This is not your fault.
Schools and GPS initially are a good source of first contact for support
Often explaining to schools what is happening and that life is challenging for you all due to the changes will help them to understand and offer more support.

My son went through a real challenging time dealing with loss. I spoke to the school and I could not believe the difference in a week. They gave him lots of general encouragement and praise to help boost his confidence.
Asking for help can take courage. I felt like I needed to cope due to the work I do. Once I accepted that I'm allowed to have problems and not be superhuman, life became much easier.  Be brave and ask for help.
 
Acceptance and forgiveness – moving on
These are words often presenting challenges. I can hear some say there is no way I'm forgiving my ex-partner. At one time I would have felt the like this too.
Managing our emotions is undoubtedly difficult when we feel betrayed or hurt.

Part of moving forward means letting go of the past and the emotions that we feel
connected to what happened . We may hold onto our anger and resentment, what does this do? Keeps us stuck in a cycle of frustration, anger, guilt, resentment. Feeling stuck can be emotionally debilitating and draining. I've been there a few times. What's important is what and learning from how we got in the pit and how we get out.
 
                                 Accept ‘What it was, what it is and what it shall be’
 
Personal responsibility
Whether we are angry at ex partners, ourselves or someone else, we are blaming someone. Blame means what? That we are not taking responsibility for our own life.


We may find it leads to us feeling deeply depressed, physically ill and our relationships deteriorate with others at home and at work. Many separated parents who have high conflict seek medical treatment for depression. Children in high conflict situations also may need professional and medical help due to the effects on their emotional health and well -being health.
It is good for our children to see us moving on in time, so they can. Life is tough right! 

We need to be tougher, become more resilient. Reducing conflict helps children feel more secure, sociable, and happier. Think about how you know your child is happy? What do they do, how do they look? How do you feel? Often when we are happier our children reflect our behaviour. Of course life has its challenges that inevitably affect our mood, we can learn to accept these into our life, if we accept that life does not run continuously smooth.


Remember your own and your family’s life is precious and time is precious.
Make the most of your life! Make different and better choices. Remember this, if you always do what you’ve always done, is it likely that repeating your actions only leads you to the same place time and time again. Feel familiar? How frustrating that is too. It is like ground hog day.
 
Move forward not round in circles
Counselling, road to your destination

 









Start to turn your life around today. Make small changes each day and you will see the difference.
 
If you've enjoyed reading this and want to read more.
Go to my website and sign up for a newsletter or read my blogs.
www.windmillsoftheminds.com. Also I am hosting a radio show ‘It's Your Life’ focusing on living your life, with guest speakers talking on social and health topics.  Starting in the middle of March 2015 on Thursdays 12-1pm on Sine FM local Doncaster radio. http://www.sinefm.com/ the radio is available worldwide on the Internet. Shows can be listened to for a week after they broadcast on the website so listen out for me.
Written by Sarah Thorpe
 

This work is copyright ©. All rights reserved to Windmills of the Minds. 

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