Raising children can be one of the most rewarding experiences a parent could ever imagine. However, it can also be one of the most challenging. This is particularly true as children ascend into adolescence. With peer pressure and mixed messages from the media, not to mention the raging hormones, this particular stage can be a confusing whirlwind of emotion and rebellion. And with all of these changes, communication becomes extremely limited or may even cease altogether. This is very troubling for parents, because they do not have any way of knowing how their child is spending his time.
While it is completely natural for an adolescent to pull away from his parents, teens are faced with far too many dangers for parents to simply accept the lack of communication. When a child is unwilling to disclose the details of his school and after school activities, how can parents hope to keep him safe? Furthermore, difficulties with a child can significantly impact a marriage. Differences of opinions about what is or is not acceptable can put undue strain on the relationship between parents.
Eventually, with all of this turmoil and animosity, communication between everyone breaks down until the whole family falls out of sync with one another. In some cases, it can feel as though there is no family unit, but rather a group of individuals who share a living space. This emptiness can lead to depression, drugs, alcohol, affairs and even suicide. If a reasonable amount of time has passed and all efforts to extend an olive branch have failed, it may be time to consider family therapy as an option.
Family therapy can strengthen the bond between all members of the family and enable individuals to experience a fulfilling home life. Couples who were once considering divorce can be reminded why they fell in love to begin with while children and teenagers develop a renewed sense of trust and stability. Major changes will not occur immediately, but some smaller changes may be apparent shortly after the first session.
In therapy, individuals learn to stop blaming each other and to use positive ways to solve conflicts before they spiral out of control and lead to resentment, anger and permanent damage. The techniques learned in family therapy can offer a new perspective and help each family member better understand and respect each member and his differences. Disagreements are a normal part of every relationship; no two people can have the same opinion about everything all the time. The key is to work through these conflicts together. But when this cannot be achieved alone, family therapy may be the best answer.