Women of Reverence welcomes Dr Cathy Davies as a guest blogger.
My name is Dr Cathy Davies and I am a social worker, specializing in Play Therapy. I received my Honours in Social Work at the University of Port Elizabeth, then completed my Masters and Doctorate degrees, specializing in Play Therapy, at the University of Pretoria. I have run a private practice in Johannesburg for the last 15 years, mainly providing therapy to children between the ages of 2 and 10 years old.
The focus of Play Therapy is to provide emotional support for children. This may be needed due to a traumatic experience/event such as a car accident, hijacking or robbery; a change in life circumstances such as parental divorce or loss of a loved one; or any other emotional struggles children may experience. This includes anxiety, difficulty socializing or settling into their school environment. I also provide parental support. Play Therapy is based on the premise that children communicate better through play than verbal language. I have been married to my husband, Dave, for 15 years and we have two children. Our son is 11 years old and our daughter is 9 years old. We are part of a local church, Upper Room (formally known as Sandton City Church). When it comes to parenting, there is so much “advice” out there that often we become overwhelmed and confused. Parenting is not a perfect science, however the points below are a few keys I trust will help you on your parenting journey. 1. Consistency We can all agree that we want our children to succeed in what they do. Therefore, it is necessary that we do all that we can to encourage them to listen to our instruction and guidance. Colossians 3:20 ‘Children, do what your parents tell you. This delights the Master no end” (The Message). A great way to assist in achieving this is for us, as parents, to be consistent in the way in which we interact and guide our children. It is important that they know that we will be the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. 2. Develop security Proverbs 22:6 ‘Point your kids in the right direction-when they’re old they won’t be lost’ (The Message). In order for a child to be happy they need to feel secure, first and foremost within their home environment. This can primarily be achieved through providing a child with clear and consistent boundaries. They need to know what is expected of them, on a daily basis, as well as understand the consequences of the choices that they make. Proverbs 13:24 A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them’ (The Message). As such, the Word encourages us to love and discipline our children. 3. Develop emotional expression Children will take any opportunity to communicate with us, whether through verbal or non-verbal language. It is important that we give them the opportunities to do so. As stated by Catherine Wallace (on SpirituallityThinking.blogspot.com), we need to ‘listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff’ A good way to foster this is through encouraging our children to talk about how they feel as often as we can. This can be done throughout the day, on an age appropriate level, through simple conversation, use of books or games that focus on feelings. 4. Find joy in the small moments Mark 9:36-37 ‘Children are God’s love-gift; they are heaven’s generous reward’ (The Passion Translation). Our children are truly a gift from God, and we need to do our best to find joy in the small moments, rather than letting life pass us by waiting for the big moments. We need to be present for the cuddles, the silly jokes, the tummy aches and bad dreams. We need to cherish the moments when they run to us with a scraped knee or a broken heart.
We need to connect with them while choosing their outfit for the day, starting their first day of school, baking cupcakes or while preparing for exams. All these moments allow for times of connection, talking and expressing love.
5. Grace and love
Parents,the most important thing to remember is give ourselves grace. I am often reminded of the phrase “for just such a time as this” (Esther 4:14 The Message), and believe that we are all called to raise each one of our children. The best way we can do this is by loving them fully. “Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13 The Message). I hope you will find the above keys helpful. In closing I quote from John 10;10 “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of’ (The Message). I trust that this will be true for your parenting and in your family life. This is a journey we are all on as parents, with each stage and age coming with its own challenges and joys. Embrace it, show yourself grace while you and your child are growing together and most of all, love.