When a parent brings their child in for therapy, they often say, “Fix them!” When they hear this, many people say that they think about how their parents took them to the psychologist when they were young because they needed “fixing,” as we say in the South. At these times, we at Gooding Groove Associates in Homer Glen deliberately look at the adolescent or child to see what they do. Sadly, most of them don’t react at all because they hear statements like this all the time.
But when the child comes home, they will be in the same family system. They could meet with the parents and try to convince them that the real problem is in the rest of the family system, most likely in the parental subsystem. That would be like a box of rocks.
They must seek out a way to assist those in need
In family therapy, we try to figure out why the child is behaving incorrectly. Why does the child act out? Is it because they’re wrong or because they’re already done? Or could there be more significant problems that make the child do what they do? Family therapy tries to figure out why people do what they do so that they can change the whole thing, but that’s where the problem comes in.
It might be hard for parents to believe their child’s misbehavior is linked to things like parents arguing, a change in the family’s economic or living situation, a job loss for a parent, the death of a loved one, or how the child feels disconnected from their parents.
Understanding the Structure of the Family is essential
In the 1940s, experts realized that working with the whole family helped people understand and deal with different problems. There was much work done with families in the beginning, to help them better understand schizophrenia. They found that many kids’ actions made sense in the context of their families.
A child who grows up in an environment like that is likely to have many problems with self-esteem. It can be challenging for a child in that situation to be happy. They can be angry, sad, lonely, lose their friends, have lower grades, have bad behavior at school, and try drugs or alcohol. A parent might say, “This child is out of control.”
The family therapy approach considers a child as part of the whole family system by getting a complete family history. As we look at the child’s behavior through this lens, we try to figure out how it might make sense to their family. When the rest of the family isn’t at home, what could be going on that could be affecting the way the child acts? This isn’t meant to blame the parents or let them off the hook for their child’s actions. If you look at the larger picture, you can find a more stable and long-term answer to the problem at hand.
Working with this family meant that we had to pay attention to many different things.
It works because it helps families see that the “enemy” is not other family members. It’s time to fix how families communicate and how they feel alone, afraid, or abandoned. Family therapy isn’t always fun or exciting. Still, research shows that it can make a big difference for the families who come in.