Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

Am I a bad parent? What did I do wrong?

Receiving a call from a tearful parent asking me these questions is not a rare occurrence.

Temper tantrums that last an hour or longer and happen several times a day are a big part of the stories I hear from parents. Children who can’t handle the word “no,” who are defiant, willful, and running the house are the main characters of these stories.

I hear of children who are aggressive toward siblings, peers, and even adults. In hushed tones, I hear parents losing their temper and yelling at their children. Shame and embarrassment are a big part of these calls.

These parents love their children with all their hearts. But in heartbroken tones, they also share that sometimes they don’t like them very much.

The answer to the questions is no.

You are not a terrible parent; it’s just that parenting can be challenging.

If you have ever felt at a loss for how to deal with a child’s tantrum, you’re not alone.

Screaming, crying, or running away are typical responses of children who do not receive what they want or demand attention.

These head-turning reactions usually happen because children are still developing coping skills and learning how to navigate big emotions.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy can help.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a proven approach to helping young children better manage their powerful emotions.

PCIT is a strengths-based approach that uses basic play therapy and behavior management skills and focuses on building an even stronger parent-child relationship while putting the parent back in charge.

PCIT is a very different therapy experience and involves working with parents and their young children during real-time interactions with the child.

PCIT is about learning skills to enhance parent/child relationships.

Parents receive coaching in two sets of skills: basic play therapy skills to enhance the relationship and the behavioral approaches to improve child compliance and decrease acting out behavior.

As parents master these skills, children learn how to seek attention positively and become enjoyable, well-behaved young people.

The experience allows parents and children to relax and enjoy playing and interacting with each other. Children who have experienced PCIT feel safe and secure in understanding the rules and what will happen if they don’t listen. They WANT to make their parents happy!

The great thing is that the skills generalize to all your interactions with the children in your life.

Honestly, I think the world would be a better place if all adults who have interactions with young children received training in PCIT!

If you are feeling at the end of your rope, call today.

Let’s talk about what is happening and see if PCIT is right for you.

Please call me at (215) 872-9254.