How therapeutic parenting helped to relieve my anger and guilt

Rosie Jefferies explains how ‘high nurture’ parenting has enabled her to make sense of her emotions and build healthy attachments

Photo: Zdenka Darula/Fotolia

By Rosie Jefferies

I recently came across this quote saying “the kids who need the most love ask for it in the most unloving of ways”. For me this summed everything up about my childhood. When I think back at all the times I was at my angriest, I would do and say awful things.

I wanted to push away the people who were close to me or anyone who was trying to help me. After a while people didn’t enjoy being around me because I was angry, unpleasant and unpredictable – no one knew when I would erupt with anger.

Community Care Inform subscribers can read the in-depth Guide to therapeutic parenting to find out what therapeutic parenting is; why it is necessary for children who have experienced early life trauma and how it differs from other parenting styles.

People described that being around me was like walking on egg shells. Most of my family, friends and even school withdrew from me because they did not know how to cope with my anger. The one person who did not withdraw, and actually drew closer, was my adoptive mum. The more I pushed, the more she would show her love. At the time I did not know this was what I was seeking, but looking back I can remember how sad I was, but could not explain how I felt and could not make sense of my emotions – I only understood how to be angry.

Being angry meant that I did not let people in…I was scared.

Being therapeutically re-parented helped me to understand my emotions, make sense of my feelings like sadness, that it wasn’t wrong to feel sad and what I had to do when I felt this way. As time went on I realised why I felt sad, because I had felt a lot of guilt about my early childhood and many unanswered questions that I had bottled up inside, which created this angry persona to show on the outside.

I felt that showing my emotions meant letting people in and made me feel weak. But all of the hard work that my mum put in with me, through therapeutically re-parenting, taught me to self-regulate and understand my emotions. I was able to start looking into my past and I now have answers to some of my questions.

I know there are some questions I will never get answers to, but I am fine with that and have come to terms with it. I no longer feel the guilt and have dealt with my sadness with the help of my mum. Therapeutic parenting has helped me to become a much stronger person and has taught me that I don’t have to be angry to be a strong person – letting people in is good and has definitely made me much happier. When I feel sad, angry or anxious I now know how to deal with these emotions, and I can now ask for help without erupting with anger.

Therapeutic parenting involves high nurture parenting that helps children feel safe. It allows children to relax just enough to begin to heal, make sense of their emotions and build healthy attachments. I believe if I hadn’t received this kind of parenting I would still be a very angry person. I probably wouldn’t be able to hold down a job and would not be able to be in a long term, happy relationship. Mine and mum’s relationship would not have been able to survive.

I now have the strongest relationship I have ever had with my mum, I have been in a long term relationship and recently got married. I am able to work for Inspire Training Group as a co-trainer alongside my mum to give foster parents and adoptive parents the skills to therapeutically re-parent and understanding to help them heal their traumatised children.

Rosie Jefferies is a co-trainer for Inspire Training Group and part of Fostering Attachments.

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8 Responses to How therapeutic parenting helped to relieve my anger and guilt

  1. By the Bridge with Cambian January 5, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

    At By the Bridge with Cambian we’ve found it refreshing to read Rosie’s story of how a therapeutic re-parenting approach helped her. We’ve been using a therapeutic re-parenting model for caring and healing traumatised foster children since 2002. For us as a company this goes much beyond foster parents as we believe the best results comes with the whole organisation thinking therapeutically – not just at the point of delivery of care, but in the way members of staff interact with each other and with foster parents.

    It is great to see therapeutic fostering being given more attention as people in the sector continue to improve their understanding of therapeutic fostering. Our ethos is that those caring for the children, the foster parents, need to be held in mind therapeutically, and the staff working with the foster parents need this too from their managers.

    Our training has been meticulously developed to nurture knowledge, mindfulness and emotional intelligence and regulation in all our foster parents and staff, whatever their preferred learning style. From a wide range of one day courses to feed the mind, academic courses from Certificate to Master’s degree in therapeutic fostering are also on offer.

    Our policies, procedures and systems are all instilled with the therapeutic values of the organisation to ensure that even the newest of foster parents are supported by a way of working that is therapeutic to its core, with foster parents recognised as a member of the professional team.

    When thinking therapeutically – sometimes it is the little things that matter. For example, we place great importance on creating a family environment that is comfortable and homely, thereby making it a warm and welcoming experience for all of our visitors and colleagues. This marries one of the highlighted factors by the recently published Social Care Questionnaire that feeling safe and a part of the family is important to foster children. Alongside Rosie’s experience of therapeutic parenting involving high nurture parenting that helps children feel safe.

  2. MammaG January 5, 2016 at 11:35 pm #

    I wish I new how to be that therapeutic adoptive mom. Right now I’m so tired of walking on egg shells with my adoptive 22 yr old daughter. I simply want to run away from her. I know a lot about trauma and know what I “should” do and how I “should” respond, but it is simply exhausting and it feels like she kicks me in the gut quite regularly. She is so passive aggressive and no matter what I do it feels like it isn’t enough. Exhausted.

    • Sarah Naish January 6, 2016 at 8:36 pm #

      If you join our therapeutic parents Facebook page we have lots of support and strategies for you.

  3. Sarah Naish January 6, 2016 at 8:37 pm #

    Our Therapeutic Parents Facebook page will be able to help you. Rosie is one of the admin for this.

    • MammaMoon January 7, 2016 at 8:36 pm #

      Hi, could you post a link to the Therapeutic Parents FB page please

  4. jane. January 7, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

    I started reading your article and was so interested .Its hard to get feedback from ‘your’ children! Did i do ok? I recently had my first ever foster child (22) come ‘home'( it was a family birthday) and he just opened up and thanked me for being his mum just that. but it meant the world to me. I was so glad we got it right for him when he was with us (^6 years). He did absolutely exhausted me.I took a long time to realise that i need to look after myself to look after him!
    I’m sure i know, and if so love your mum! Her training has always been inspiring but gentle. I am so happy that you had her and she had you!She has many times during my career both as a social worker and foster mum given me the incentive to carry on ‘just a bit more’. It is worth it even when you are exhausted and just at rock bottom. I am so pleased you wrote this article. Thank you .
    Can i just say i was a bit put off by the By the Bridge lengthy response it felt like a advertisment!but i did only read the first 5 lines.

    • Rosie Jeffeires January 13, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

      Hi Jane,
      thank you for your comment, I’m pleased that you had your foster son come and tell you how much you meant to him, takes a lot to say it as it opening up and I know my self I really struggle with this, I probably would struggle saying it to my mums face even now, takes a lot of courage, so how lovely that he had the courage to do it and clearly you have left your mark on him 🙂

      Thank you for you lovely comments about mums training, I am glad it has helped so much. I’m not sure if you are on our Facebook page but we do have a bespoke seminar coming up in March if you would be instead in more information about it.