I remember it like it was yesterday. I had taken my youngest son, who was three years old at the time, to a gym class. I had learned long ago that quiet, library story times were not a ‘good fit’ for an extremely active, rough and tumble boy. I figured a busy, movement filled class would be ideal to channel his energy.

We arrived a few minutes before class started and free play was allowed. I could sense early on that something wasn’t right. He didn’t seem to be a fan of sharing the various equipment, mats and contraptions spread throughout the gym floor. When the class began, he was even less enthused at the structured format. He didn’t like waiting in line for his turn and he kept trying jump to the front in an often physical and unpleasant way (understatement!). By the end of that first class I was so frazzled and he was so frustrated, we both ended up in a puddle of tears.

I left there feeling judged by the other parents and caregivers and also disappointed in myself that I didn’t know how to get my kid to behave. The whole endeavor was a huge bust.

Looking back, I realize that sure, other people may have judged me about this situation, but all parents face areas that we can’t get a handle on. If you doubt yourself, it’s easy to imagine that everyone is doubting you. What I found to be most helpful was connecting with other parents that could relate to what I was going through. Through sharing our experiences I felt less alone and relieved that I wasn’t the only one who felt like I did.

Riverview Counseling Services offers social groups for children that serve as a great support tool for both children and parents. A group like ‘3 & 4 Let’s Play Some More’ would have been ideal for the situation I just described about my youngest son. This particular group is geared towards helping preschoolers with skills like waiting, sharing, taking turns and boundaries. Riverview’s groups are always run by licensed clinical social workers and counselors and offer a personalized, focused atmosphere capping enrollment at six members per group . Be sure to check out the descriptions for all of their groups serving a variety of needs and ages. Groups are on-going and run throughout the year so you are able to join at any time.

By Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent

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