“Keep Your Marbles” While Caregiving for Multiple Generations

“Keep Your Marbles” While Caregiving for Multiple Generations

Have you ever been in the position of taking care of your children while also taking care of your parents/in-laws? If so, you might be a part of the “sandwich generation.” Miller (1981) was the first researcher to name this population. She wrote that individuals who fall in this generation are unique because they often give resources and services without them being returned. Many researchers note that this population faces challenges such as emotional strain, financial burdens, health problems, and little self-care (Chisholm, 1999; Finnegan & Ferron, 2015).

So how do you take care of your children, your parents, and yourself all at the same time?

Well, for starters, self-care can be extremely beneficial! Below is a list of ways you can help to increase overall well-being and combat some of the stresses that come along with this caretaking position.

  • Ask for Help– Asking for help can be a huge time saver! If your children are old enough, get them to help with chores or other household activities. If financially able, you can hire in-home services to help with normal day-to-day activities.
  • Do Stuff for You– I know that it may seem impossible to do anything for yourself while in the middle of caregiving for children and parents, but it is essential to remember to refill our tanks now and then! Burnout is a word commonly used to describe the threshold at which your tank hits empty. This can be very damaging because you have nothing left for you or others, therefore burning out. Take time for you!
  • Remember to be Present– When you are splitting your time and energy, focusing on multiple people, it can be difficult not to be constantly thinking ahead. Remember, not everything has to be done all at the same time. It is alright to let yourself enjoy the moment and to be present within that particular activity.

Caregiving for others is a big task and can often feel overwhelming. Having to be a caregiver for multiple generations can make it even more difficult. However, by implementing these steps, it can make the process a little bit less challenging for you and your family.

About the Author

Stephanie Grobstitch, LMFT works with individuals, children 3+, teens, and families.

 

 

 

 

Teens & Fathers In Therapy

Teens & Fathers In Therapy

Therapy is an art.

One of the hardest sessions is when you have a father and the so called “troubled teen” sitting in a counseling office.

Let’s just say that tension can run a bit high.

Usually, the teenager feels like the father will never listen, and the father believes the teen is just obstinate and irrational.

Now here’s where the art comes in.

If the therapist sides with the parent over against the teen, then the counselor loses the teen, and he or she will shut down.

If the therapist sides with the teen against the father, then the counselor will upset the father and the likelihood of them coming back is very slim.

So what’s a counselor to do?

You have to make sure they both feel heard and understood.

How I do it is by letting both teen and father know from the get go that I respect them both deeply and that I can’t take sides initially if this is going to work.

Then I try and “pick on” both of them throughout the session, seeking to get them to see the repetitive fighting cycle they are both stuck in, and if they want something to change, then they are going to have to do something different.

For example, the father might have to slow down a bit and acknowledge the thoughts and feeling of his teenager even if he judges them to be “irrational.”

Or, the son or daughter might need to learn that a father understanding them doesn’t necessarily mean he agrees with his or her requests.

What I have found over and over, is if I can slow the communication process down by helping the father, so love and kindness to the teen and have the teen show respect, then things typically seem to work out.

Here’s what one mother just wrote to me:

“I was pleasantly surprised! Because in the past my husband has been completely unimpressed and not supportive of therapy. But he was impressed with you. He said you are the most knowledgeable of all our therapists and he thought you did a great job.”