For all its joys, parenting is often a roller coaster of challenges. Even when parents are at the top of their game, the most routine curveballs—quarreling siblings, a child’s public meltdown, or a phone call from a teacher—can trigger unresolved shame, guilt, or anger. But the Internal Family Systems (IFS) approach can help parents more fully understand and heal the wounds their children will inevitably evoke in them, allowing them to better set healthy limits, while also creating a more nurturing family environment. You’ll discover how to help parents:
- Talk to children about difficult subjects by using “part of me language,” which cultivates honesty, clarity, and calm
- Explore their own reactive moments with compassion and respond to triggers with more empathy, using dialogues with inner parts
- Co-parent in a way that’s supportive, collaborative, and leads to a fuller expression of mature selfhood
- Recover from the inevitable moments when they “lose it” and take the necessary steps to repair with fuller awareness
Frank Anderson, MD, is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. He’s the vice chair of the Foundation for Self Leadership and a supervisor at the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute.