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How to be a Confident Parent Advocating for Your Child

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Every parent wants the best for their child, and more so cannot be true than when it comes to special education needs, where advocating on behalf of the child is often necessary. When we say, advocating we usually refer to direct engagement with anything from just teachers and school leaders, right up to Local Authorities, healthcare professionals, and a judge sitting on a SENDIST tribunal panel. This could be extreme, and most parents may find themselves far from a full and prolonged campaign of advocacy that lasts for many years, maybe your only concern is the lack of consistent homework, wherever you are on the depth of child advocacy work you are about to engage in, you need to be confident.

For some parents, the thought of assertively advocating and negotiating for their child, whether through letters or in meetings, can seem daunting or even unreachable. One moment you’re looking to rent your first room, the next you’re trying to find that first job, then life ticks along, putting food on the table, and a bigger roof over the head, and then you are a parent, about to step outside your comfort zone, to go face-to-face with the ‘system’, that only a few years earlier, you conformed too and followed.

The challenge is often one of not seeing yourself as that ‘type’ of person. It may feel like to some you are just a bigger version of your playground self.

Understanding Confidence and Self-Belief

Being confident means having belief in your abilities, it is having a level of self-assurance, and being comfortable in your skin. Recognising your strengths and having the courage to face challenges head-on.

Confident people tend to be more decisive in action because they have a good level of trust in their decision-making processes. Does this mean confident people are always right in what they do? No, but they will more likely be found to fail trying something and learn from that experience than to sit and ponder what could have been, and not to have tried at all.

Confidence is a key characteristic in your toolkit to become an effective advocate for your child. The question is, is the confidence you need something that you are born with, or can it be learned?

Confidence as a learned skilled

Confidence is a skill that can be developed over time. We all remember at school the confident kids, the ones who were very comfortable in their skin and would make their mark even in the hustle and bustle of assembly, all the teachers knew them, and possibly for all the wrong reasons. In those days, confidence was currency, and these students looked wealthy in the chit-chat marketplace of school.

Then there was the rest of us, which included those who were cautious of the draft that flowed across the playground, to those who were less invested in contributing to the public discourse of the day. Wherever we were as children, it’s not necessarily a deciding factor as to where or who we become as adults.

  1. Set Small Goals, start with small, achievable goals and gradually increase their difficulty. Achieving these goals can boost your sense of accomplishment and confidence.
  2. Practice Self-Affirmation, positive self-talk can help change negative thought patterns. Regularly practising affirmations focusing on your strengths and achievements can improve your self-image and confidence.
  3. Educate Yourself, knowledge is power. Learning more about a subject can reduce fear and uncertainty, making you feel more confident in that area.
  4. Seek Feedback, constructive feedback can help you understand your strengths and areas for improvement. It provides a realistic view of your abilities and how you can grow.
  5. Surround Yourself with Support, being around positive and supportive people can uplift you and boost your confidence. Avoid those who undermine your self-esteem.
  6. Embrace Failure, and view failures as opportunities to learn rather than a reflection of your worth. Understanding that everyone fails at times can help you take risks and try new things without fear of judgment.
  7. Celebrate Successes, acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. This can reinforce your belief in your abilities.
  8. Visualise Success, visualization techniques can help you imagine achieving your goals, which can increase your belief in your ability to succeed.
  9. Practice Self-Care, taking care of your physical and mental health can improve your overall well-being, making you feel more confident.
  10. Challenge Yourself, stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things can be empowering. It demonstrates your capability to handle various situations, which builds confidence.
  11. Develop Competence, becoming more skilled or knowledgeable in areas that are important to you can naturally boost your confidence. Invest time in learning and practising new skills.

Illustration of a parent practicing deep breathing exercises with thought bubbles showing EHCP challenges A calming aura surrounds the parent
Illustration of a parent practicing deep breathing exercises with thought bubbles showing EHCP challenges A calming aura surrounds the parent

Unlock Personalised Support: The Power of 1-on-1 Therapy

Embarking on the journey of personal growth and healing can be transformative, and there’s no better way to navigate this path than with the guidance of 1-on-1 therapy. Our private practice is dedicated to offering personalised support that adapts to your unique needs and goals. In these sessions, you’ll find a safe, confidential space where you can openly explore your feelings, challenges, and aspirations. Our experienced therapists are committed to working alongside you, providing tailored strategies and insights that foster self-understanding, resilience, and meaningful change. Whether you’re seeking to overcome obstacles, improve relationships, or simply wish to invest in your personal development, our one-on-one therapy sessions are designed to empower you at every step.

For a Free Consultation please making a call booking via the contacts on this page

EHCParent 1 – 1 Therapy focuses on

  1. Stress and Anxiety Management: Through tailored techniques, CBH therapy helps parents manage stress and anxiety, allowing them to approach EHCP meetings with a clearer mind and calmer emotions.
  2. Building Resilience: CBH therapy equips parents with resilience-building tools, enabling them to navigate difficult situations more effectively and bounce back from emotional setbacks.
  3. Learning Coping Skills: With the guidance of a skilled CBH therapist, parents can develop new coping skills that specifically target the emotional challenges associated with EHCP meetings.

The Benefits of Guided Therapy

  1. Personalised Approach: Each parent’s journey is unique. CBH therapy offers a personalised approach that addresses individual concerns and emotional triggers.
  2. Holistic Well-being: CBH therapy targets the emotional challenges of EHCP meetings and promotes overall well-being, fostering a healthier mindset.
  3. Long-Term Resilience: The coping skills and techniques learned in CBH therapy extend beyond EHCP meetings, empowering parents to manage stress and anxiety in various aspects of their lives.

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