Why I Do What I Do?

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I do this because I don’t want your family to go through what my family went through.  I do this because I want to help you avoid the hard lessons I had to learn.  I do this because I don’t want you to sit in an emergency room listening to the doctor tell you how close your child came  to successfully committing suicide.  I do this because I have learned that if dysfunctions in the family are caught early enough, they can have successful outcomes.

As a Result of my Family Dysfunction

I have spent the last 10 years working with children with extreme behaviours.   Every one of these kids reported family life that was riddled with strife; divorce, abuse, addiction, trauma, death, or general lack of structure.  Each of these kids began to act out for 2 reasons:

  1. Negative attention was the only attention – they felt they didn’t exist unless they gave their parents something to scream about.  Positive behaviours were expected – good grades, obey house rules.  They felt they were not acknowledged for the good things, but they were for all the bad, and the bad always got worse.
  2. Trauma / abuse within the family – every family have a history.  There is some sort of trauma in the closet.  My family was abuse, divorce, life-threatening illness, un-intentional neglect and a lack of coping skills for all of us.  The kids I worked with reported similar issues.

The Coles-Notes version of my family story

I had 2 beautiful little girls and an sociopathic husband.  As my awareness of his disorder grew, so did my strength.  I eventually asked him to leave and we divorced (no…it wasn’t that simple).  This was both a relief and a point of insecurity for the girls and I. Shortly after this, my oldest daughter was rushed to emerg with a  pulmonary embolism.  This is a life threatening blood clot in her lungs.  She was 14.  My entire world flipped upside down.  I spent every waking moment trying to balance her care and protecting my little one from the devastating news.  Somehow, we saw the light at the end of this tunnel and she recovered.  I knew I hadn’t recovered, but as a single mom, there just wasn’t time for me to break down, so I pushed on.

In the next four years, I remarried.  This time to an incredible, kind, caring man.  We had support, but my trauma was still very evident (to everyone but me).  Then the same daughter who was deathly ill, was involved in a single vehicle roll-over that most people wouldn’t have survived.  Again, I threw myself into caring for her.  Again trying to balance a healthy child with a sick one.  Little did I know, my healthy child wasn’t so healthy.  She had begun to self harm, hid in her room and withdrew very deeply into herself.  And this is where my learning began.

I Learned

Life has a funny way of teaching us things we don’t want to learn.  In order to help my child with her mental health, I had to help me with mine.  I had to show her that it was possible.  Children watch us like little hawks.  She needed to see me growing, learning, dealing, coping and this began her journey of growth.

My Journey Has Lead Me to You.

As every member of my family embarked on a journey of self-discovery (we all had skeletons), it became clear that we were not the only ones struggling.  I turned my career to support children of abuse and neglect.  I loved working with these children as I was able to witness amazing feats of determination, strength and resilience.  But each one of my clients had the same secret wish – they wished their entire family could support their growth and celebrate their potential.

So, I am here to help you to help your children.  I understand that life happens.  I understand that we, as parents don’t always have the time to take a step back and deal with our skeletons.  As much as we try to avoid it, our “stuff” usually becomes our kids “stuff”.  I also understand that as a parent, it is really hard to determine when, or how, or even where to seek support.  I have made it very simple and hopefully non-invasive.  On the left hand side of this post, you will see available free downloads.  Start here and reach out when you are ready.  There is hope, let’s try to catch it early.

As always, loads of love

~AndreaFamily Coach

PS: Update – my girls have both grown into amazing young ladies!  They are both using their own talents to help others and our family only grows stronger with time.  Yours can too…

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