Chico Center for Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy and Counseling services for Children & Adults | Support for Parents


Chico therapist An Bulkens, LMFT is psychotherapist and counselor in Chico, California.  An Bulkens specializes in psychotherapy and counseling for young children  (toddlers, preschoolers, adolescents) and support for parents, with a special emphasis on  early childhood psychotherapy, and counseling  for preschoolers and Kindergarten aged child.  She also offers parenting skills support. She offers psychoanalytic psychotherapy for adults.  Her approach is grounded in  Lacanian Psychoanalysis. She was also trained as a clinical psychologist in Europe, Belgium.  Her education emphasized developmental psychology and psychoanalytic therapy. 

Parenting from your 'own space.'

In my clinical practice as a therapist I often see parents struggle with 'where to draw the line' with their child.  The tendency to 'give the child what he wants,' 'to give in' typically ends in a type of interaction that is 'reactive.' Because, typically after 'giving' your child what he or she 'wants' (ok, 5 more minutes, ok 5 more, 2 more....) we reach a limit where we can't take it anymore and then typically respond in a 'reactive' way by blowing up, yelling... Feelings of resentment grow as all this giving is not met with gratitude. And your child might be confused that you suddenly withdraw your love, after having given him all these extra tokens of 'love' by 'giving in.'  When these types of interactions become the typical way of interacting, the parent might feel that his or her space is 'shrinking' and the child's is 'growing' beyond their control. Something is out of balance, and neither child not parent are happy about it.

Underlying this dynamic that is confusing to both child and parent, there is often the parent's sentiment to not know where to draw the line, how to set a limit. 'What is reasonable?' There are indeed no standard rules that can be applied: each family, child, parent is different. A parent might want to distance himself from his own, more 'authoritarian,' or 'hands off' role model:  How do you draw a line without being authoritarian? There might be an implicit insecurity: Is the parent still entitled to her own space,' to a world where the child is not the ruler? The child has often become the parent's ideal: He should not lack anything, should not be 'deprived.' 

Typically, when the parent becomes clearer on claiming his or her own, separate space from the child, it becomes more natural to have the child respect that space. And the nice thing about it is that the child will feel more respected in his own space, allowing for better connection between parent and child.  

An Bulkens    |    Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist    |   MFC 52746

Tel. (530) 321- 2970    |   186 E 12th ST,  Chico, CA 95928