As well as being among the most rewarding parts of our lives, parenting can be among the most challenging. We live in a culture that sometimes seduces parents into thinking that if their children are not happy all the time, something is wrong. Ironically, this not only makes it harder to set appropriate boundaries, but also to be emotionally responsive in a healthy way.
I work with mothers experiencing postpartum depression, with fathers (and mothers) having difficulties with the changes in their relationship after a child is born; with parents concerned about their children’s feelings such as anxiety, or about problematic behavior that may surface in school or a new social situation.
Whatever the situation or their children’s ages, parents are right in knowing that their responses can help improve things or can contribute to the problem.
Sometimes parents seek help to try to clarify the difference between their children’s needs and wants. I work with parents individually and as couples. Often parents have difficulty agreeing on consequences, a problem which is sometimes aggravated in blended families where questions of loyalty and who has the “right to parent”may arise. In blended or intact families, these disagreements between parents, if they cannot be worked out privately, are often detrimental to the children or teens.
Some parents have to deal with drug use, or eating disorders which parents can’t cure but do have to respond to. Another frequent time that parents seek treatment is when they are struggling with changed relationships and expectations with their adult children or even when they have begun to take on a more parenting role with their own parents.