As co-founder and Clinical Director of Evoke Therapy Programs, my emphasis has been working with the parents of children struggling with addiction and mental health issues. I travel the country speaking to parent groups and have broadcast over a thousand podcasts for parents. Experience has taught me a few things: First, we must change the question from “What should I do?” to “Who am I, who is my child, and what is my relationship to their problems?”
There is no generic solution to parenting struggling children. Rather than offering advice or formulaic directions, my book seeks to teach parents how to think about their parenting questions. This moves away from asking the expert to becoming your own expert.
Borrowing from the philosophy of Joseph Campbell and the hero’s journey, in The Journey of the Heroic Parent readers learn about the transformation that comes from dealing with a struggling child. Parents discover new ears and eyes, developing their capacities to hear and see their children more clearly. Before trying to change behavior, we would be best served to listen to what their behavior is trying to teach us.
Shame and guilt are also explored in this book as parents are invited to do their own work. Parent education doesn’t change children– it changes parents. And the outcome of healthy parenting is serenity, confidence, and courage. Being a healthy parent doesn’t mean having well-behaved children, it means being a healthy person.
Dr. Brad Reedy is co-owner and Clinical Director of Evoke Therapy Programs, an experientially-based therapy program for adolescents, young adults and families. Find him on Twitter at @EvokeTherapy or check out his podcasts on Soundcloud.