As a psychologist much of my work has focused on helping children and adolescents cope with life’s challenges and changes. You would think my clinical experience and knowledge would make me an expert parent. A super-mum, with a well-behaved child. The reality has been far from it.
My profession has helped me to understand how children and adolescents work, what they need, and how to respond to them. What it didn’t do is prepare me for the ongoing juggle of responsibilities of parenting, working, and keeping home life functional. All the while being simultaneously sleep deprived. I have been the far from perfect parent. I have gotten frustrated, used screens as a distraction, forgotten to praise for positive behaviour, yelled instructions down the hallway, and on some days been caught up doing jobs. all the things that are part of normal, everyday parenting that I know don’t work.
Becoming a parent has made me truly understand that parents are doing their best with what they know and what they have. They are just trying to survive, and at times to make it through the day. As a psychologist though, I often stop to think how can I survive and help my child thrive?
For me this has been focusing on my relationship with my child. I try, and I say try as I do not always succeed, to start and finish the day well. I see these routine tasks as a chance for us to spend time together and connect. We sing songs and march around the house as we get ready. Or she sits on my lap when I do my hair and make-up. At night I sit by the bath and play with her, then read some books before heading off the bed. Being a psychologist has helped me make the most of the little things, knowing that over time they make a difference.
How can you make the most of the little things to help your child thrive?
Jessica Buster (M Clin Psych, Grad Dip Prof Psych, BA Psych Hons) is passionate about creating a caring and safe space to promote effective working relationships. Jessica applies evidence-based interventions in a client focused and collaborative manner to assist children, young people and their families move towards their goals of growth and wellbeing.
Jessica’s clinical training and experience has equipped her with skills in the assessment and treatment for mental health issues. She has gained experience working in roles across non-profit, hospital and private settings. This has included working as an Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Therapist and roles at Guardian Youth Care, Headspace, Westmead Children’s Hospital Psycho-Oncology, and Healthy Minds Happy Kids.
Across all her roles, Jessica has pursued her interest in working with children, adolescents and their families experiencing a range of mental health difficulties including anxiety, emotion regulation difficulties, behavioural difficulties, social difficulties, and disability. She has been able to promote understanding and engagement with these clients by integrating a sense of fun and creativity into treatment.