As a parent of a struggling child, do you find that you are isolating yourself more than you used to? Do you skip social events? Have you stopped attending worship services? Do you make up excuses so that you don’t have to be around people?
If the answer is yes, consider yourself normal. Is that a relief?
Yes, it is very common for parents of kids who are struggling in any way to back away from their family, friends, and other vital parts of their social community. We can shy away from public events, stop calling our friends, and even hide in the grocery isle to avoid people we know.
Even though this is common and somewhat ‘normal’, the problem is that it really only hurts us more in the long run. We parents of troubled kids can have a lot of shame, and as Brene Brown explains in her very popular book, The Gifts of Imperfection, shame thrives in secrecy and isolation. Though I am not a ‘shame’ expert, my guess is that some of our tendency to isolate roots in the shame we feel around our situation. And if so, then isolation will only serve to foster and grow the shame, where connection, community, and telling our story, will serve as shame busters.
‘We don’t heal in isolation, but in community’. - S. Kelley Harrell
And not to add confusion, but our possible need for solitude should not be mistaken with isolation. We need time. We need time to be by ourselves, sort out what has happened, learn from it, grow from it, formulate plans, etc. Can you discern the difference between that beneficial kind of solitude and isolation? Only you will be able to know for sure. Perhaps the following question can help you:
Do you feel more at peace after your time alone, or do you just feel worse and want to isolate more?
If the answer is the latter, then I urge to examine what you are doing. Get out, find someone to talk to tell your story, find your community. Help is out there and it is up to you to find it. There are religious organizations, support groups, therapists, coaches, neighbors and friends who want to help, and really do share similar experiences. You are not alone!
So I ask you. Have you isolated in the past, or are you doing it now? How have you ‘come out’ of it, and what did that do for you? Please share in the comments section below!
Leslie Ferris is a Certified and Credentialed Life Coach
Serving the parents of struggling tweens, teens, and young adults
Contact her today for your 1/2 complimentary discussion to explore what life coaching can do for you.
Connect with her via her website at http://www.phase2foryou.com