Becoming a parent is among life’s greatest joys. It can also provide some of life’s loneliest moments. There’s little training or preparation before we’re handed a tiny human being and told whatever happens to them is our responsibility. We find our way through parenting through trial, error, advice that isn’t always helpful, and plenty of dumb luck. At times, it can be so overwhelming it drives us to tears.

Nobody else understands exactly what parents are going through. Even our fellow parents — whether it’s our closest friends or our siblings — haven’t experienced what we have and haven’t faced the challenges we face. Plus, we’re hesitant to reach out for help, because we’re afraid that’s admitting we’re not very good at being a mom or dad. That’s why parenting can feel so lonely.

It doesn’t have to be. When we’re facing especially difficult situations as parents, it’s okay to reach out for help, but we need to reach out to people who are truly capable of helping us, such as the professional counselors at Care to Change. As Karyn Purvis, the co-creator of Trust-Based Relational Intervention®, advises, “You cannot lead a child to a place of healing if you do not know the way yourself.”

When kids act out or misbehave, they’re telling us what they need. It may simply be that they need us to pay more attention to them. It may be that they’re hurting emotionally and don’t have the words to express it. Sometimes, it may be that they’re testing us to find the boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable.

There is one thing we can do to become better parents, Dr. Purvis notes: “Parents who are seriously committed to helping a troubled and challenged child thrive will vastly increase their odds of success by making a fundamental policy decision: to slow down their lives and put their child’s needs first.” If you’re finding it difficult to do that, or you’re feeling completely overwhelmed, there’s no shame in asking for help. Set a time to sit down and talk with one of our professional counselors. We’ll listen carefully and without judgment, and then guide your along the right path. You don’t have to feel alone. Schedule an appointment today.

Mike Spencer is one of Care to Change’s professional counselors. Trained in trauma-based treatment, parenting and children’s issues, Mike helps parents cope with today’s unique challenges. Mike also helps men with addictions, church leaders, and kids who are having a difficult time dealing with life.