Child Behavioral Problems: How Family Counseling Can Help

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Too often parents send children with behavioral problems to individual counseling without recognizing the crucial role they play in remedying the problem.  When looking at counseling from a systemic approach, you recognize that children are largely a product of their environments.  As individuals in a family, we all play a role based on the roles and behaviors of the other family members.  It is impossible to fully understand a person in isolation because we are all a part of an emotional unit, a family. You must look at the unit as a whole in order to properly remedy the source of the problem.

It is often said, “Children don’t come with an instruction manual,” which is why family counseling can be such a wonderful tool to help you figure out the best ways to parent your child, based on the overall structure of your family.  Children function best when living in a structured and stable environment.  This helps to create a sense of safety and security for the child, thus allowing them to thrive.

Child behavioral problems often emerge during times of major life changes, such as parental divorce, a death in the family, birth of a new sibling, or moving to a new location. These life changes can lead to a change in the family’s current balance, and thus lead to role changes.  Because these changes can cause instability, it is important during these times to check in with your child; communicate with your child about their thoughts and feeling, and look out for any changes in their mood and/or behavior.  During these times it is also important to maintain a routine, and stay consistent with any rules, consequences, and rewards system in place.

In family counseling, parents and their children are able to work together with the help of their therapist to learn the tools needed to create a happy, healthy family unit.  You will explore possible sources of your child’s symptoms by looking at the structure and roles of the family unit, create a personalized treatment plan, learn new communication skills, learn new parenting techniques, and implement them while under the guidance of your therapist.

 

Priscilla Hurd

M.Ed., NCC, LPC-I