Attachment therapist suggests practices that should be avoided by parents to have a better and healthier relationship with children.
Parenting is hard and no one can deny it. People want to ace it, but more often than not, they mess up in one way or another. Though mess-ups are fine it is crucial how parents move on from them. In order to have a healthy relationship, there must be an acknowledgment and a desire to do better. Steph—who goes on TikTok by @stephanne221—believes it is missing in boomer parents, which leads to so much estrangement. Her suggestions are not limited only to boomer parents. In another video, she also warns millennial parents that their addiction to technology might also not be doing them any favors in cultivating a strong bond with their kids.
Steph is an attachment therapist who is sharing her experience of working with boomer parents. She wanted to bring attention to the missing accountability within such parents and why that is such a big reason they are dealt with isolation from their millennial children. The therapist believes that many parents, in such cases, become closed off when their children come asking for a conversation. These children, after becoming adults, go through their journey, which causes them to want to address issues they might have with their upbringing. They have questions, and it is paramount that those are addressed.
She writes in the caption, "Accountability matters and can heal relationships. If you're a parent who is serious about improving your relationship with your children, this is for you!" The therapist told Boomer parents they have two options while interacting with their children who want answers. She explains, "You can choose to be open to their feedback and figure out how their emotions make sense or you can choose to be close to their feedback." In her opinion, if parents want to have a healthy relationship with their children, they need to take the former route.
In her opinion, the former route might be difficult, but it is relationship-enhancing, while the latter will just destroy the relationship. The first choice of being open to the conversation is challenging because it involves a lot of self-analysis. It forces parents to accept that they messed up and did not do better when they could have. "It's very difficult you have to tolerate your distress and regulate your own emotions to make it through." It might cause both parties to face the past, but it will help them to build a better future. On the other hand, the choice to close off will just block any path of improvement.
The therapist further explained why it is hard for parents to accept blame and take accountability. Accountability forces parents to put themselves in the equation and have them become a part of the problem. She explains that when people remove themselves from the circumstances, all that is there is the other person. So, only that other person will be blamed. Accountability asks people to evaluate their role in everything and does not allow the transfer of blame.
She later gives an example of commenting on someone's body shape. If the person who has commented does not take into consideration themselves or their comment, they will never find faults in them. They will always blame the person crying because of the comment, believing they are the problem. Steph believes it is a great strategy to avoid pain and accusation, but it will also cause individuals to have no contact or interaction with others. There will only be a 'me' in the equation. In her opinion, if Boomer parents want to contact and associate, they need to avoid this route and instead open themselves to an exchange of feelings.
In another video, she sheds light on the mistakes of millennial parents. She shares that the biggest thing that hampers the parenting performance of millennials is phones. This view is a 'consensus' within her community. To prove her point, she takes the help of the Stillface experiment. This experiment at first features a toddler daughter and mother completely in 'sync' with each other. The mother is present and responding to her nonverbal daughter.
The challenging part follows after this when the mother's face goes still. The daughter tries to engage with her mother but fails, which causes her to go in distress. She loses control of her body and begins to panic. It showcases the impact inattentiveness has on children. The therapist equates that with parents who are busy on their phones. She shares, "If you are not giving your child that attunement, that empathic connection, then they are going to get it from someone else." It will cause a direct breakdown in the relationship.
The comment section agreed with the views presented in the videos. @barrytoot shared their experience with closed-off boomer parents, "I learned from my boomer parents that if I want to cry, they will give me something to cry about." @lellowww was inspired by the therapist's millennial video to correct herself, "This called me out, I need to be more conscious about my own screen time around my daughter."