Facing challenges is a natural part of being a family. When you take part in family therapy at PARC, you work with relationship therapists experienced in working jointly with members of families and extended families, such as parents and adult children, young adult and adolescent children, grandparents, in-laws, siblings, and aunts and uncles.
When functioning well, families can work through issues together and emerge stronger, even continuing to nurture one another throughout adulthood. With family therapy, we can help your family develop the tools to overcome challenges together, strengthen your relationships with one another, and create a supportive family environment.
Tips for Happier Family Relationships
It’s no secret that bringing up children can at times put a strain on even the healthiest relationship, whether married or not. Here are is some advice about how to keep your relationship with your partner strong as your family grows.
1. Never side with a child against your partner.
This is a surprisingly common point of conflict between parents. Presenting a united front is critical to establishing boundaries with your children, and to creating a secure environment in which they can develop and learn. To do otherwise would be to undermine your partner’s authority, and imply that you don’t respect him or her – as a person as much as a parent. If you don’t respect your partner, why should your child? Understandably, this situation creates huge anger and resentment on all sides, and can be greatly damaging.
If you disagree with your partner on any aspect of raising your children, raise the matter privately, in a respectful, non-confrontational manner. Be prepared to listen and to work towards a solution well away from the ears and eyes of your children.
2. Put your partner first.
Yes, even before your children! This is not to imply in any way that your children are less important. Rather, this is to cement your relationship as the foundation upon which your family and household rests. There are myriad small ways in which you can show your partner how important he or she continues to be for you in your busy lives as parents.
Greet your partner first as he or she comes through the door with a big kiss. Set up a regular date night that only an actual emergency should disrupt. Show each other affection whenever you can. Your children will feel more secure, and your relationship will flourish.
3. Embrace your differences as parents.
As parents, you may find yourselves naturally falling into different approaches. This is based on fundamental differences in your personalities, and will likely never change. Dad might be the more relaxed, fun-loving one, Mom might be the more anxious, “helicopter” type – or vice-versa!
Accept that these differences will keep coming up over and over again in different contexts as your children grow, and there’s no point in either of you trying to change the other. It does no good to judge or criticize. This will only lead to conflict and resentment.
As long as there is mutual respect, and you both present a united front on the issues that really matter, try to remember that both your parenting styles have their advantages and drawbacks. If your children are happy and healthy, you’re both doing a great job!
When children, whether adult, young adult or adolescent, are facing physical, emotional, relationship or financial difficulties at a period in your own life when you want and need more time for yourself, it can be draining and emotionally stressful. Our family therapists can help you in sessions with you and your children.
When tension arises between your partner and your parents, it can place a great strain on your own relationship. That kind of stress can cause strains in your own relationship. PARC therapists can help you improve the situation in an impartial and supportive setting.
Illness in the extended family often brings out old hurts, struggles for control and conflicts over responsibility. A licensed, experienced and well-trained PARC family therapist can help your family find solutions.
Siblings often have trouble improving their relationships even into adulthood. Old hurts and misunderstandings may be carried over from childhood, spoiling potentially rewarding relationships. If strains between you and a sibling are preventing the closeness you’d like, or have even caused you to stop communication, PARC relationship counselors can help. They are licensed, experienced and skilled and can work with you in family therapy to modify these patterns.
Mothers and their adult children sometimes have difficulty communicating with one another. PARC’s experienced and skilled family therapists can help you find ways of creating new and better relationships with your adult children.
Fathers often have difficulty relating to their children once they reach adolescence and adulthood. Tension often replaces outgoing affection, leaving father and child feeling hurt and distant. PARC’s experienced and skilled relationship counselors provide a helpful and understanding approach to dealing with these feelings, helping you re-create better relationships with your adult children.
Just at the point when your children are grown, you’ve made the last tuition payment, and you’re looking forward to some free and enjoyable time for yourself, your own parents start to decline and face the problems of aging and mortality. One parent may be ill or deceased and the other may feel emotionally overwhelmed and alone, or ill, as well. Relationship therapists understand what you are going through. Family therapy can help you cope with this new set of demands and create strategies to ensure that your own needs are met.