Is Your Child’s Behavior Causing You Stress and Worry?
- Is your child – whether school-aged, an adolescent or an adult – engaging in worrisome behaviors, such as acting out, yelling, self-isolating or abusing substances?
- Are you worried that your child’s behavior will lead to harm, pain or disappointment rather than success, peace and happiness?
- Do you fear that your adult child may be suffering from a mental health issue, such as severe anxiety or depression, psychosis or substance abuse?
- Are you or your loved ones struggling to adjust to the changes brought by blending families, a new marriage, the death of a family member or the birth of a child?
- Do you feel helpless, hopeless and unsure of how you can effectively support and nurture your family?
- Do you wish you could figure out a way to resolve your family issues and assure your child’s safety and well-being?
- Are you and are partner struggling to work together to effectively handle family issues?
No matter how old your child is, parenting can be an incredibly difficult job. Maybe you’re increasingly concerned about your child’s daily behavior – whether child or adult. You might wake up in the morning already worried about your child’s mood or emotions. Then, at some point during the day, your child might act out by screaming, crying or even hitting. Even though you attempt to support your child or stop the harmful behavior, nothing you try seems to work. You and your spouse or co-parent might disagree about the best way to address your child’s behavior, and you worry that you are sending mixed messages or adding negativity to your home. Maybe you feel resigned, demoralized and hopeless.
Or, perhaps your child is an adult who no longer lives at home. Maybe your interactions with your individual adult children seem to go just fine, but there is inevitable conflict when the whole family gets together. Or, maybe one of your children seems to be suffering or engaging in seriously risky behavior. You may feel an unsettling lack of control, especially when you watch your adult child engage in harmful behaviors. You might feel as though you should do something more and be confused about your role as a parent: what is in my control and what do I have to accept? How can I ensure my family’s future and happiness? You may even be living in fear that something bad will happen to your child and you won’t be able to stop it.
Many Families Face Challenges
If you are feeling helpless or demoralized as a parent, you are not alone. Parenting can be difficult, no matter how old your child is. Most parents have to learn on the job. There is no manual to parenting that holds all of the answers and solutions, especially when one considers the vast diversity between family structures and individual personalities. In addition, we live in a culture that talks a great deal about family values without actually offering support to real families. We have very few strong parental roles models in the news or in the media.
Often, we learn how to parent by adopting the behaviors of our own parental figures. However, often the styles and tools used by our parents do not work with our children. Sometimes co-parents struggle with deep conflict about the best way to raise a child or cope with challenging issues. When the only tools you have just don’t seem to work, you may find yourself stuck. Perhaps you look at other families and wonder, “Why can’t my family be happy like that?” But, in truth, every parent struggles, and no family is perfect.
Sometimes, familial issues stem from disharmony within the larger family system. For example, fighting between partners and co-parents can lead to stress and confusion for everyone, especially when resolution is not reached. Family members may unconsciously adopt behavioral patterns that have been passed down for generations. Even if these patterns are recognized as causing conflict or unhappiness, it can be difficult to break out of them on your own. Thankfully, with help, you can begin to break free of old cycles and make positive changes for you, your child and your family as a whole.
Family Counseling Can Help You Create a Safe, Supportive Family Environment
Since 2002, I have helped a tremendous variety of parents in many situations – from those experiencing small daily conflicts to those in high-risk situations – find new ways of supporting their children and bringing their families together. As a parent myself, I know that being in a family can be a tough job. Sometimes I can’t believe the things I have said to my children! It can feel like parenting brings you back to point A, and you have to learn all of your life lessons about behavior and communication all over again. We have all been there. Even if your child is struggling, you have not failed as a parent. But, just as I have come up against the challenges of parenting, I have also seen family counseling bring dramatic, positive change to parents and families in distress.
During sessions, I offer a safe, compassionate space for you, your co-parent and your child to freely discuss the difficulties you’re struggling with. I will tailor my approach to your specific needs. If it seems like the family system is stuck in old patterns of interacting, I can help you identify the behaviors that are keeping you from finding resolution. In sessions, you can feel confident and comfortable to try new ways to communicate and interact with each other.
If you are a parent whose child is struggling, I can help you develop a new parenting toolbox. I can offer you advice and support so that you feel empowered to engage with your child in productive ways. You can begin to accept the differences that exist between yourself and your child and open up new avenues of mutual understanding so that everyone’s needs can be heard, understood and met.
Family counseling helps parents and children rediscover trust in each other. With help, you can begin to enjoy parenting rather than feeling weighed down by stress or hopelessness. Your family can become a safe, supportive place for each individual, from parents to children of all ages. With effort and willingness, you can renew your hope in resolution, exercise empathy in new ways and build a collaborative family team.
You may believe that family counseling can help you resolve challenging issues, but still have questions or concerns…
Family counseling sounds great, but between work, school and extracurricular activities, we don’t have much extra time.
It can be really tough to set aside time to come together as a family. However, that difficulty often reveals just how important scheduling that time can be. When you make a commitment to dedicate time to therapy, you have already started the process of healing by saying, in action, that you all are going to solve the problem together. A huge payoff can come from such a huge commitment.
I don’t think the family member I am the most concerned about will come.
While it can sometimes be hard to convince people to join family counseling, the majority of the time, that family member will come if you just start the therapy process and say, “We’re going.” If that family member still resists, he or she is likely to come around when he or she sees the rest of the family change and develop. Family counseling can bring a rich and fulfilling life to the family members that attend, and even a stubborn child or co-parent is unlikely to want to miss out.
Family issues are private. I am worried about a secret emerging during sessions.
While it can feel scary or uncomfortable to share your concerns and challenges, I will never judge you for anything that you say or do during family counseling sessions. In addition, although you may feel pressured to do it all on your own, the support and guidance of an experienced therapist can help you break out of old patterns that can be difficult to recognize.
During sessions, we will create a safe space and work at your family’s pace. You don’t have to share anything you don’t want to. But, I invite you to consider what happens if you allow secrets, guilt or tension to fester under the surface. Typically, these hidden things will emerge eventually. Therapy sessions are a safe space for you to express these difficult feelings or fears, finding acceptance and resolution.
No matter what your family is going through, you don’t have to face the challenges of family life alone. I invite you to call me at (415)-935-4605 for a free 15-minute phone consultation to learn more about family therapy and my practice. You can ask me any questions and we can determine if I am the right therapist for you.