Often, parents say the children are to be the problem and there is usually relational strife due to these accusations. However, the child that is complained about is not always the underlying problem. Sometimes, the actual issue is a parenting or marital problem that has negatively affected the children. The therapist can determine the actual root of the complaint with the help of the family members.
Parents are not always effective at the difficult responsibility of raising children and may blame the child for their own mistakes or personal issues. Therapy can help parents learn better coping skills and improved reactions to problem behaviors. Children cannot always express their emotions in a healthy manner and will often act out to get attention or to have their other needs met. Couples or marital problems are often the root of parenting difficulties. In therapy, the couple can be educated about their own relational dysfunction and its effect on their children.
Blended families, where there are children from multiple sets of parents, also have their own set of challenges. Step-parents, in addition, can be a source of great stress for children if not accepted well into the new family unit. Resentment and loyalties may lead to acting out behaviors such as violence or school problems. The therapist will work with the family to reorder family dynamics after couples conflict.
Technology’s impact on families and parenting has been dramatic and is constantly changing. It cannot be overstated how much influence it can have on a family. Over-use or misuse of computers, phones, etc., can result in relational, social group and family miscommunication or a total change in normal family dynamics. Parents may have trouble keeping up with Internet apps, websites and social media that their children take for granted and use constantly. Pornography, violence and other inappropriate content can be very disturbing to children and parents must monitor this carefully. Social problems in and out of school can result from social media misuse and friendships can be difficult to maintain. Online gaming is a huge problem and can lead to addiction. Developmental skills and stages and normal brain formation in younger children are at risk from too much technology use.
Violence towards people or property can result from substance use, anger, depression, family conflict or grief, to name a few stressors. Safety of all family members is a prime concern in therapy. Threats of suicide harm to others or homicide should be taken very seriously. The therapist may advise an Emergency Room screening if any of these are voiced.