Therapy for Family Issues, Parenting and Step Parenting
Parenting Therapy, Issues of Family Conflict and Blended Family Challenges
Whatever your family configuration, domestic life presents a multiplicity of complex challenges, nowadays more than ever. Therapy for parenting, for family crisis or conflict or for issues around parent-child relationships can result in a constructive, healthier perspective and empower you to address issues that have arisen or seem likely to arise as the life of the family unfolds.
This is particularly so in times of crisis, whether it’s dealing with the aftermath of an affair or the emergence of other secrets, or with a child’s emotional needs as they transition into a new stage of their development, or with challenging sibling relationships, or extended family and unconscious inter-generational issues.
Parents and Siblings
Being a parent brings you up against yourself. That is equally true whether you have entered into it via the ‘traditional’ route or through adoption or surrogacy, or indeed are a lone parent or step parent.
Becoming a parent will trigger echoes and memories within you, which can be painful or at least unhelpful. You may find that you behave with children in ways that you don’t like. When that has happened and you have time to reflect, how able are you to empathise with your child, to put yourself in their place and understand how they are interpreting the events and realities that they are living?
Every stage of a child’s growth presents questions:
- How does your relationship survive the early sleepless nights, and the exclusive attention babies need from their mother (or mother figure)?
- How do you parent a toddler, giving them just the right, loving balance of freedom, security and protection?
- How do you handle choices (and disagreements) about education, or religion, or values, or discipline?
- How do you approach differences and disabilities – autism or dyslexia, for example?
- How much independence or autonomy do you give your child at different ages? How do you set and maintain boundaries, while staying consistent with your values?
- How do you engage (or not) with sibling rivalries amongst your children? Do you or your partner have, in any sense, ‘favourite’ children? Would that be OK?
- What examples did your own parents set, and what rights, responsibilities and involvement are they due now as grandparents? If they have strong views that differ from yours or your partner’s, how do you best handle that?
- What is age appropriate for teenagers?
- How do your relationship with your intimate partner and with your children survive – even hopefully thrive – during or after major stressful incidents such as extramarital affairs, redundancy, physical or mental illness, periods of addiction, or eating disorders?
- What is it like to experience the transition into being the parents of children who now live away from you and are becoming autonomous adults?
Parenting Therapy following Divorce and Separation
The ending of a marriage, partnership or intimate relationship does not end the life of the family or the bond you have with children, but moves these on to a new and different phase. Therapy for Family and Parenting Issues can support you as you handle not having daily contact with your child, as you learn to co-parent (possibly with someone whom you don’t consider a good parent or perhaps even a good person) and as you deal with new intimate relationships coming into your life or that of your ex-partner.
Living with your partner’s children from a previous relationship or finding a way for children from different relationships to cohabit can bring strains and conflict. There can for example be major age differences between the new siblings, or personality clashes, or different financial provision applying to them. Having the support of a therapist through the process of forming, re-forming and sustaining blended families can make it more positive and manageable as well as providing you with an outlet for the feelings, doubts and questions that will no doubt arise.
Boarding School Survivors and Families
Ex-boarders typically have particular issues with families, in light of the early disruption of your family life, the lack of appropriate safeguarding, protection and guidance, and often the near-complete rupture of the bond with parents, extended family and everything represented by the words ‘family’ or ‘home’.
There can sometimes be unexpressed anger towards parents or siblings, and certainly a sense of your not being understood or appreciated, which may translate into a brittle, defensive attitude which can influence your treatment of your own partners and children. For more on the specific issues around Ex-boarders and their family and parenting relationships and how therapy can help please see my Boarding School Survivors Therapy pages.
Therapy for Family & Parenting Issues with Marcus
If you are struggling with a family crisis or the challenges of parenting, then take the first step and contact Marcus to talk about Therapy for Family & Parenting issues.