What is parent counseling?
As parents of a troubled teen, you are susceptible to different types of stressors and problems that can greatly affect how you care for or manage your family. You can’t make your children do something, and your child will make choices on their own, but you can control how you decide to respond to their behavior. Parent counseling is a service that helps provide the necessary support, guidance, knowledge and tools to parents, without bias or judgement, so you can gain a better understanding of how your emotional state and behaviors impact your child. Parent counseling also helps to repair the trust, health and harmony in your relationship with your child. Becoming more aware of how you’re thinking, emotions, and actions affect your child, helps us develop behavioral interventions that can transform your relationship with your child and their behaviors as well. We look at your internal stressors such as: mental health challenges, addictions, health concerns, marriage, immediate family dynamics, relationships, self care and past experiences. We will also explore external stressors such as: your home and work load, career, your child’s school/sports schedule and social commitments, your social media involvement, legal/financial burdens or future emotional commitments or concerns that impact the current state and quality of your relationship with your child. This type of counseling tracks progress closely so treatment modifications can be implemented as needed for further improvements to be made.
How does parent counseling work and what can I expect?
There are two ways parents can undergo parent counseling. You may be referred to me either by your doctor, psychiatrist, another therapist, prominent member of the community, or even workplace. You may be seeking professional help on your own, because you have identified the need. Either way, I will meet with you at a scheduled time. I will conduct a thorough assessment to identify the main issues, gain a better understanding of the presenting problems, assess the current behaviors, and your emotional state. At first, I will work with just you the parent. As you try new strategies/ interventions, other members of the family such as the child or siblings may be invited to participate if and when it seems appropriate. Depending on what is needed, I may or may not introduce the parents to support groups that could enhance our work together as progress is made. Support groups can be beneficial with parent counseling, because you would have the opportunity to relate to, learn from, or help other parents who share similar experiences.
When is parent counseling recommended?
Parent counseling is a good idea for all parents who would like to maintain a close, healthy and authentic relationship with their child. Child and teen behaviors change over time and parent counseling helps identify what that means and how to positively adjust to those changes. However, parent counseling is more of a necessity for those who are:
- Experiencing their child or teen feeling socially anxious, bullied at school or by social media, angry, depressed, stressed, low self esteem, fluctuation of intense moods and emotions or absent of emotion, lack of motivation, and may have some degree of suicidal ideation.
- Parents battling addictions or abusing illegal drugs and alcohol or have teens or at-risk youth who are facing the same addictions.
- A parent experiencing abuse or aggression- Any abuse inflicted on the parent can build tension, fear and more aggression in the household which can influence the child or teen to become aggressors themselves.
- Undergoing separation or divorce. This may be just as impactful to the child involved as it is to the parents. Making the transition has many moving emotional pieces involved, as parents learn how to cope with becoming a single parent.
- Parents struggling with legal, financial or marital issues like infidelity- All of these stresses can have a huge impact on your mental health and those emotions can be absorbed by the family members involved.
- Suffering from a health problem- Health problems including mental health challenges can prevent parents from being emotionally and physically able to help care for their child.
- Coping with a loss – The loss of a family member, a marriage or even a job can disturb the mental wellness of not only the parent but the child as well.