I want to invite you to join me on an 8-week transformation journey designed to move you toward a more meaningful relationship with your parent(s). If you’ve ever felt frustrated by the interactions you have with your parents – whether it’s arguments around the holidays or the tension of avoiding meaningful conversation – then this group is for you! We will meet face-to-face in Oak Cliff over the course of 8 weeks, discussing relevant topics and engaging in practical exercises (see below for more details) that will move you toward a more life-giving relationship with your parents.
Next cohort will begin Fall 2020. (Specific days/times determined by participants.)
Why this work is so challenging AND why it is so worth it!
Do you ever wonder why it’s so hard to be your true self around your parents? Consider this: Your family existed long before you were born. In whatever environment you were raised, you were surrounded by people who were already trapped in emotional patterns before your entrance into the world. As a young child, you adapted yourself to these patterns and figured out the optimal way to “be” to get your needs met in that environment. And as a child, that was brilliant! If your father had an anger problem, it made a lot of sense to minimize your needs and keep quiet. If your family was so busy they barely noticed you, it made sense to obsess over your grades in an attempt to get some attention. These “ways of being” served you well as a child and helped you to survive to adulthood. But now that you’re here, you might be starting to realize that some of these patterns are still with you, and they aren’t serving you anymore.
Now, many of us have learned to “be” different around friends and co-workers, but our family of origin is the final frontier. The absolute hardest place to break old patterns and learn new ways of being is with your family of origin. And this makes sense – we have been “practicing” these patterns with them since birth! Everything in our bodies is wired to respond the way we’ve always responded, so even when our thinking changes, it is an uphill battle to get our bodies to cooperate. This is why psychologist Murray Bowen (a pioneer in Family Systems Theory) suggested that our emotional maturity can never progress beyond what it is with our family of origin. We may feel “grown up” because we can behave with maturity in other settings, but according to Bowen, this is only the appearance of maturity. Our true maturity is revealed in our interactions with our parents and our siblings.
And that is why this work is so important! And so worth it! Your relationship with your parents is the highest leverage arena for personal transformation. As you work in this one area, the impact of that work will spill over into every other area of life. For example, my struggle to “make space for myself” in important relationships – e.g. asking for what I need, expressing my feelings, initiating important conversations – flows directly from my struggle to “make space for myself” with my parents. But as I do this work with them, the fruit is already starting to show in other relationships and contexts.
What about you? Are there areas in your life where you feel stuck? Relationships where you aren’t able to show up the way you want to? Arenas where your growth has felt limited by voices from your past? Opportunities you have let pass you by for fear of putting yourself out there? What if working on your relationship with your parents could change all of that? It might sound crazy, but what do you have to lose? And if it worked, what could you stand to gain?
This group MAY be a good fit if…
- You have at least one living parent with whom you desire a more meaningful relationship.
- You’re tired of being stuck in the same patterns – whether that’s arguments around the holidays, or the tension of avoiding meaningful conversation.
- You’re frustrated that you aren’t able to relax and be your true “adult self” around your parents.
- You’re jealous of friends who seem to have deep and meaningful relationships with their parents.
- You’re at a place in life where you feel generally positive feelings toward your parent(s). (This doesn’t mean that every past conflict has been resolved, but it does mean that you don’t primarily feel anger or resentment. You genuinely want good things for them.)
- You feel that this is a good season to begin taking small action steps toward this goal.
- You would benefit from the accountability of weekly face-to-face meetings to talk about your situation, steps you’ve taken, where you feel stuck, etc.
- You live in the Oak Cliff area, or are willing to travel to OC for face-to-face meetings. (I will consider facilitating a group online if at least 3 people want that option.)
This group may NOT be a good fit if…
- You are extremely satisfied with your relationship with both parents.
- Your parents are no longer living.
- You’re under 25 years of age. (I’m open to pushback on this, but it feels like a good rule of thumb.)
- Your primary feeling toward your parents is anger or resentment.
- Your parents are actively abusive and pose a threat to you and/or your children.
- You don’t have the emotional energy and/or time in your schedule to engage with four assignments over eight weeks, and to meet weekly with the group to share about your experiences.
- You’re not in a place where you can share about this issue vulnerably in a small group.
- Time Frame: 8 weeks
- Day/Time: TBD
- Meetings: 1 hour / week
- Exercises: 1 “assignment” every 2 weeks (4 total)
- Commitment: attend a min. of 6 out of 8 meetings, and engage with every assignment at whatever level you are able. (Assignments will not be wildly time-consuming, probably 1-2 hrs / week.)
- Format: Each week you will either have a reading or an assignment. On “odd” weeks we will discuss a topic/reading. On “even” weeks we will share about our experience doing the assignment.
- Group size: All groups will be capped at 6 participants so that everyone is able to share.
Readings (“odd” weeks):
- Week 1: One Person Can Change the System
- Week 3: Grieving Wounds, Accepting Reality
- Week 5: Seeing Larger Patterns in Your Family of Origin
- Week 7: Engaging in Dialogue
Assignments (“even” weeks):
- Week 2: Brainstorm Vision + Current Reality; Write out Transformation Conversation
- Week 4: Visualization Exercise + Letter of Grief (to “child self”)
- Week 6: Interview parents about relationship with their parents; create Genogram
- Week 8: Capstone Project (related to your “Vision,” different for everyone)
Related Blog Posts:
Interested in learning more about the topics we'll be exploring in the group? Check out my blog series on the Parent/Child Relationship:
Early bird (register interest by August 1st): $165
What does this include?
- A hard copy of the 50+ page notebook, which is filled with valuable content, practical exercises, and reflection worksheets.
- A weekly, face-to-face "check in" where you get to share about your experiences in a small group, receive coaching when you're stuck, and gain insight from the stories of others.
- Two private coaching sessions outside of the regular meetings for additional, individualized support. (These sessions are valued at $150 under my standard coaching rate, but I'm including them for participants of this group at no extra cost.)
If the cost is prohibitive, you can apply for a scholarship here. It is my firm belief that transformation work should not be a privilege of the wealthy, but should be available to anyone who wants it. If you determine that this group is a good fit and are willing to invest your time and energy, please don't let cost be a barrier!
A note to donors: If you are currently a donor to Body Oak Cliff, then you can choose to pay for any of the above out of your gift. If you choose to do this, the amount that is diverted toward this course will be considered a “program fee” and will no longer be tax deductible.
In the unlikely circumstance that you have a negative experience, I will issue a FULL REFUND, no questions asked. (Ok, I’ll ask some questions, but it will be for my learning to know what I can do better next time, not to argue with you about the refund!)
"When I heard about the Parent/Child Relationship group, I knew it was perfect timing for me. I had been putting up walls with my parents and processing through some things from my past, and I was getting stuck. This group helped me to articulate what was really going on with our relationship, gave me a safe place to dream about how things could get better, and gave me both knowledge about my underlying hurt-driven patterns and strategies for beginning to get past them. This study and support has been a huge blessing to me."
- Ruth, past participant
"I was nervous to open up the oldest wounds I carry - parental wounds. I was cynical in my initial approach. How could something that’s been wrong for 41 years possibly change? And even if I gained some sort of understanding about my parents, how were they going to gain understanding about me? It just didn’t seem like it was a format that would work. But I decided to participate because doing something is always better than doing nothing. And I was tired of doing nothing. If it didn’t work I wouldn't lose anything except for some personal time. But if it worked, I would gain peace and transformation in my relationship with my parents, and my mother in particular.
What I learned was that it never matters who is on the other side of the equation, it matters how I come to the situation. I learned to change my interactions, expectations, and input. I learned to show up differently, and that just making that decision put me in control of a relationship I never felt I had any say in. I also learned with my heart (not just my head) that my parents parented from their own set of wounds and assumptions about their parents.
My mother and I have a much better relationship now. We communicate differently. I learned a lot about my father too, even though he wasn’t the one with whom I struggled to communicate. Even if your relationship with your parents doesn’t improve, you will gain insight into other relationships in your life. And that is always helpful."
- Nicole, past participant
I want it to be clear from the outset that I am not promising (or even suggesting) that your relationship with your parents will be magically transformed in 8 weeks. It has taken a lifetime to get to where you are, so it will take some time to unlearn the old ways of being. However, I do believe it’s possible to see substantive change in this period of time, and to gain enough awareness and momentum that you can continue the work after the group ends.
Group begins Fall 2020. Register interest by August 1st for Early Bird Pricing.