There are many issues that can arise in a family setting that can affect the family dynamic and cause emotional issues for different members of the family. Children are at the highest risk to be affected by these family issues. One of the main problems that arises are attachment issues, either becoming too dependent on a parent, or not forming enough of an attachment with a parent.
Many children and parents have a difficult time on the first day of day care or school, which can especially be a problem with first born children. A little bit of anxiety or nerves is normal for this transition and can be expected. Some people, however, experience higher levels of anxiety that can lead to emotional troubles. Some children have a difficult time adjusting to being away from their parents. The anxiety may cause them to be anti-social with other children, not participate in class, act out in class, or other forms of rebellion. Some parents may become depressed because of the separation from their child. They can become so attached to their child because they are together so much that the separation is difficult to deal with. Therapy can help in these cases where the anxiety or depression exceeds what is to be expected. A therapist can help to manage these feelings and ease the anxiety from separation. A child therapist can also help children feel more at ease and help to develop social skills so they are happier at school or any situation away from their parents.
The opposite can also be true in situations where children do not receive enough attention or care. Children need a solid, constant source of care. Whether it be a revolving door of nannies, moving from foster home to foster home, parental neglect, parents working long hours, emotional problems that prevent a parent from caring for a child, or the loss of a parent, there are many situations that can disrupt a child’s emotional development. Therapy can help the child express their emotions and deal with any attachment disorders they may have. It also brings the issues to the attention of the parents so they can better deal with the situation and make more time for their child.
Family Therapy: Divorce
Divorce obviously affects the couple that is going through the process, but it also has a resounding effect on the children the couple may have. Divorce is a tumultuous time for a family, and people will react to a divorce in different ways. It is important to discuss a divorce with children before any major changes happen. If you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce you should sit your children down and explain to them what is happening. You do not have to give a specific reason for why you have decided to get a divorce, but you should make sure you do not present your spouse in a negative light and emphasize that your children were not the reason for the divorce. If a child thinks this it could be crippling to their mental state. The conversation may be different depending on the age of your children as well. You children should know what changes to expect and you should prepare them for the process. The more up front you are with your children, the easier the transition will be.
Some children may have a hard time discussing the divorce with their parents due to apprehension or not wanting to seem like they are taking sides. If your child is having a difficult time dealing with divorce a therapist can offer an outlet to discuss their feelings and provide a way for them to deal with the divorce in a healthier way.
Family Therapy: Blended Families
After a divorce you may decide to remarry. This is another major change for both you and your children. A new environment and new living situation is something that can be difficult to adjust to for children of any age. If you notice that your child’s behavior is changing, they are displaying resentment or aggression towards new members of the family, or feels excluded it is a sign that they are having issues adapting. There will obviously be an initial phase of uneasiness or apprehension, but if this continues it could be a deeper issue. If you feel like your child is not adapting to the new situation you should try to talk to them and find out what is bothering them. If you are not able to help, a therapist can be very effective at finding out what is troubling your child and help them deal with their emotions.