Disclaimer :: My Health My Resources (MHMR) of Tarrant County sponsored this post and crafted this post about early screening and other mental health support services.
Scrolling Facebook is how I end each day. It’s a way for me to clear my mind and get my brain ready for bed. One night, a post from Early Childhood Services at MHMR of Tarrant County caught my eye. Clicking the image led to life-changing benefits for my son and me.
I had been looking for help for a really long time. My son had trouble at home for the previous three years. He was having trouble at school as well.
Dominic (Dom) would always be either super high energy and jumping off of things or super low energy. He would kind of shut down emotionally. We were also really struggling with getting him to understand the concept of personal space, regulating himself, and communication when he was in those shutdown moments.
It Starts with Screening
I was at a point where I felt like I had tried everything, and nothing was working. Then I saw the ad on Facebook: Parenting is hard.
There are so many different parenting styles, and even though each parent tends to use one or maybe two, that doesn’t necessarily mean that style is going to work for your kid.
As a mom to four kids, I know it’s hard to take a step back and parent them the way they need to be parented versus the way you want to parent them.
I visited EarlyIsBestNorthTexas.org and found the free screenings. The screening made me feel good about where my son was on a developmental scale. It also confirmed my concerns about his emotional well-being.
After submitting the survey, Early Childhood Services contacted me and explained there would be someone (a family coach) coming in to our home to help teach me and Dom helpful strategies.
Formulating a Plan
Everything progressed faster than I imagined it would. Before I knew it, Bethany was in my home for the first visit. We discussed my concerns and set up a plan of care.
When we were done making the plan, I felt like she had restored my hope. I was, and still am, excited to help my son. I also don’t feel like I’m stuck trying to figure this out on my own. Not feeling alone in parenting my son has restored my confidence in my ability to be the mom I want to be.
Bethany has helped me know I’m not alone. She has also been a voice of reason and a positive resource for me to turn to. She encourages me when I am feeling frustrated. Her positivity has really helped me reframe how I think about things.
The focus is always on Dom and how we can support him.
I love the approach of meeting us where we are at. I personally would forget everything you tell me If you sit me down in an office and tell me what to do. I think it makes a huge difference that we can do our sessions in our home or wherever we are having concerns. For instance, Dom has a serious issue with putting on his seatbelt in the car. Bethany will get in the car with us and work on that. This makes it so much easier for us to practice and establish routines that we can maintain!
The first thing that changed with Dom was his ability to express inner emotions. Now he has a simple way to express his emotions and frustrations. We are only a few sessions in, so I would have to say that is the first major change that has been so helpful.
My way of thinking has changed. I see the way Bethany thinks through things sometimes, and I try to do the same instead of losing my head when we face behavior struggles. And I have been making an effort to remove things that trigger my son’s behaviors.
If you have concerns about your child, please complete the screening and talk to someone. It has been so helpful for our family. Also, be open to trying new things and changing yourself to fit the needs of your child. The reason kids don’t come with instructions is because they are all so different. It helps to have the support of a family support coach who knows a wide variety of strategies to help your kids.
Early Childhood Services provides resources and in-home support to families of children age zero to six in Tarrant, Denton, Johnson, and Ellis counties. (Services are available to families of children age zero to three in Denton, Ellis, Erath, Hood, Johnson, Navarro, Palo Pinto, Parker, Somervell, Tarrant, Wise, and Cooke counties.) Early Childhood Services also offers free child screenings. Early Childhood Services is a division of My Health My Resources of Tarrant County, which has served families in Tarrant County for nearly 50 years. If you want more information, call 844-NTX-KIDS or visit www.EarlyIsBestNorthTexas.org.