Critical Parent

May 3, 2020

Gail (40) noticed that she had become over-critical of her two boys aged 15 and 12.  She was growing increasingly uncomfortable with her behaviour towards the children.

Counselling helped Gail link her own upbringing with some of her current parenting. She learnt to recognise that her Mum had often focused on negative behaviour. When Gail achieved something positive, her Mum didn’t notice. She picked up on things Gail did wrong instead. She also used emotional blackmail and manipulation to make Gail “behave properly.”

“If you don’t get top of the class you’ll be a big failure!”

“I’ll know that you love Auntie more if you go to her  place and leave me alone.”

“If you’re naughty no-one will ever like you!”

Gail often felt guilty and ashamed of herself. She also became a people pleaser, which was well-practised in an effort to gain positive recognition. It set a pattern of behaviour in motion that she took with her into adulthood and her own parenting. Her self-esteem suffered also. She had lost her sense of identity which led to resentment of others. With her own children, she noticed she was using manipulation also.

Gail requested an appointment when her frustration reached a high level. Counselling helped her:

  • link her current parenting with her own upbringing.
  • gain an understanding of herself instead of thinking she was bad.
  • explore other, less manipulative strategies.
  • become a consistent parent, able to parent unconditionally.
  • become clearer about her own expectations and those of her family.
  • develop confidence in herself.
  • lower her expectations of her mother and in doing so let go a need for her approval.

As these things changed so did her other relationships with friends and immediate family. This type of counselling is not a quick fix. Sometimes people have an expectation that they will only need one or two sessions. It takes time to change well-practised patterns of behaviour.  Learning to value yourself is part of that process.

If this sounds like you please call me on 027 488 9236 or email me on I am located in Birkenhead, North Shore, Auckland.

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