Is Your Family Struggling to Communicate, Connect and Resolve Conflict?
Has something shifted in your family dynamic, and you now find yourself up against new behavioral or communication problems? Is your family struggling to adjust after a significant life transition, such as a divorce, the introduction of a new family member or the loss of a loved one? Maybe it seems as though one member of the family has changed, and now everyone is lashing out, withdrawing or walking on eggshells to avoid upsetting him or her.
You may feel as though child behavioral issues, teen rebellion or sibling rivalry are the main issues causing discord in your family, but feel unsure what to do. Perhaps you’re increasingly worried about a child who no longer seems like the little boy or girl you once knew. Or, maybe you are raising a child or teenager the best you can, but you and your co-parent disagree about appropriate activities, rules and discipline. Are you feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and defeated by ongoing issues in your family? Do you wish you could bring your family together, learn effective ways to communicate and find a way to move forward with mutual respect, stability and cooperation?
Regardless of what you and your family members are going through, figuring out how to navigate disagreements, mental health issues, grief and loss, divorce and children, blended family problems and so much more can be exhausting, frustrating and disheartening. And, family issues can arise at anytime and during any stage of life. You may be an adult child who doesn’t know how to foster healthy communication and set boundaries with a parent. Alternately, you might feel hurt and helpless when it comes to your strained relationship with adult children who live outside of the home. Whether you’re parenting young adults, teenagers or children, or trying to manage adult relationships with siblings or parents, it may seem as though you can’t make your family happy, no matter how hard you try.
All Families Go Through Shifts and Changes
No family is perfect, and it’s completely normal to face challenges and struggle to navigate varying family dynamics. Families are made up of unique, complex individuals with their own ideas, hopes and needs, and sometimes, those ideas, hopes and needs don’t align. As you go through life together, you’re bound to experience differences and face challenges. Families can encounter a wide range of internal and external hurdles, from lay-offs and moves to addiction and illness. Over the years, many families find themselves struggling to cope with both the expected (e.g. the birth a new child) and the unexpected (e.g. a distressing diagnosis). And, even when you understand the source of family conflict or a particular challenge, it can be difficult to know how to offer every family member the support, patience and attention he or she needs.
For some families, challenges can be more difficult to identify. You may know that your child is talking back or breaking rules, but feel lost when you try to figure out why. You may know that your co-parent ignores your wishes, but question what more you could do to get him or her to listen. To make matters more complicated, guide books, Internet tips and loved ones can offer conflicting advice that never quite fits the nuances of your particular family.
Throughout our upbringings, few of us receive education in resolving sibling conflict, helping children cope with divorce or any other real-life issues that families face. Thankfully, whether you need help unpacking the issues causing an unhealthy family dynamic or getting over a specific roadblock, there is hope. With the individualized guidance and support of a therapist who specializes in family counseling, you can help you entire family resolve pressing issues, develop new problem-solving skills and begin to truly work as a team.
Family Therapy Can Help Your Family Communicate, Cooperate and Connect
At Eddins Counseling Group, we know that every person has a different way of understanding the world, responding to stressors and trying to problem solve and relate. That’s why our team of therapists is trained to help each individual and each individual family find solutions and strategies that work for them. In family counseling sessions, you and your family members can develop skills for healthy communication and learn how to interact in supportive, productive ways.
Unlike individual therapy, family therapy considers the role each person plays in the overall family dynamic. Although it can seem like one person or one issue is the primary source of familial conflict, in truth, families work as a system. The most obvious problem is likely an indicator of a deeper misalignment in communication styles, wants and needs. Even if you know that one family member is struggling more than others, your therapist can help you understand that no person is the problem – instead, the problem is the problem. For example, if one child is acting out or throwing tantrums, his or her behavior is the problem. The child is just a child responding to situations or events that he or she doesn’t know how to manage. Instead of trying to “fix” the child, you can begin to shift how you respond to tantrums and identify ways to prevent them in the future. No matter what the “problem” may be, together, you and your family members can learn how to stop assigning blame and start discovering solutions that create a nurturing home environment for everyone.
Our therapists work with families of all shapes, sizes and structures. When appropriate, you can use family counseling sessions to augment or support work that an individual may be doing with another therapist. For example, if someone in your family is struggling with an eating disorder, a family counselor can help parents, siblings, etc. learn how to best support that person’s recovery. Or, when helping children cope with divorce, you may decide that a combination of one-on-one child counseling sessions and family sessions best suits your child’s needs. We understand that every family is different and are here to help you determine a flexible therapy plan that works for your unique situation, concerns and therapy goals.
You and your family don’t have to stay stuck in dysfunctional patterns of conflict, avoidance or miscommunication. No matter what your family looks like, there is hope and help. A compassionate, objective trained family counselor can help you gain a new perspective, understand each person’s role in the family system and create a harmonious family unit.
You still may have questions or concerns about family therapy…
Does everyone need to attend every family session?
Families are busy, and we know how hard it can be to find time that fits with everyone’s schedule. It’s not necessary for every family member to attend each and every session. However, because a family is a system, it can be important for members that live together and often interact to understand how they influence and are influenced by one another. If it seems as though one family member is struggling more than others, family sessions are appropriate for anyone who plays a supportive role in that person’s life.
My children are adults. Isn’t it too late for family therapy?
It’s never too late to learn better ways to interact with your loved ones. It can be difficult to maintain a connected relationship with adult children, especially as they move away and create families and lives of their own. Working with a therapist can help you and your adult children resolve past wounds, navigate healthy boundaries and adapt to your new roles in each other’s lives.
Other families are able to resolve their problems without help. Is something wrong with us?
Despite appearances, no family is perfect, and everyone needs help from time to time. If your family is struggling to adjust to a difficult transition or engaging in the same repetitive arguments, an experienced and compassionate family therapist can help. Your therapist can offer individualized tools to help your family address and overcome issues now, as well as in the future.
We invite you to give Eddins Counseling Group a call at 832-209-2222 or send us an email at [email protected] for more information about family counseling and our practice in Houston, TX.