Olivia Bergeron: Transforming Parenting Through Empathy and Connection

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In the realm of parenting, where daily battles over getting dressed, meal times, and bedtime routines seem inevitable, Olivia Bergeron, LCSW, offers a refreshing perspective. A psychotherapist and parent coach with nearly two decades of experience, Bergeron is on a mission to end power struggles between parents and their children, making the journey of parenthood more manageable and enjoyable.

“What if one small shift could end power struggles and bring you closer to your kids? Would you do it if it were simple but not easy?” Bergeron poses this question, challenging parents to reconsider their approach to common family challenges. According to Bergeron, it’s the role of parents to guide their children through tasks they may not want to do, especially during transitions, such as getting ready for the day, mealtimes, bath times, and bedtime.

Having navigated the turbulent waters of parenting herself, Bergeron understands the frustrations that arise when children resist or push back against parental directives. The result is often a power struggle where emotions run high, leading parents to resort to lecturing, yelling, or punishment. Bergeron, however, proposes a different way—a way to sidestep power struggles altogether.

As a psychotherapist and parent coach, Bergeron has assisted countless moms and dads in finding effective strategies for parenting. Drawing on her personal experiences as a mother of three, including twins, she empathizes with the chaos that can ensue when siblings vie for the same toy or when a child persistently pleads for ice cream for dinner.

So, what is this transformative strategy that Bergeron advocates for? It’s a simple yet powerful concept: empathy. 

“Seeing your child’s point of view— without arguing or agreeing— is the very definition of empathy,” Bergeron explains.

But how does one put empathy into action, especially in the heat of a parenting moment? Bergeron introduces a practical tool she calls the “3 Ss”: Stop, Soften, and See. The next time a parent feels the urge to reprimand a child for not picking up their clothes or resisting bedtime, Bergeron suggests stopping the talking or yelling, softening one’s heart towards the child, and finally, seeing the situation from the child’s perspective.

This shift, according to Bergeron, leads to a profound change in the parent-child dynamic. By understanding the child’s point of view, parents can create an environment where the child feels heard and, in turn, becomes easier to parent because the child wants to please us.

Bergeron acknowledges that while this strategy is simple, it’s not always easy to implement. Nevertheless, she emphasizes its importance for fostering happier parents and, consequently, happier kids. By employing empathy, parents can navigate situations like saying no to another stuffed animal at the gift shop or anticipating a potential meltdown at the playground, all while parenting in a way that they can be proud of.

In conclusion, Olivia Bergeron’s approach to ending power struggles with children through empathy serves as a beacon of hope for parents seeking a more harmonious and connected family life. Through her wisdom and practical tools, Bergeron invites parents to embrace empathy as a transformative force, ultimately making the challenging journey of parenting a little bit easier and a lot more fulfilling.