Families go through times of stress and fluctuations, change through divorce, death, step families, step siblings generations living together and members moving away. Each time the family changes, roles change, identities are challenged and new ways of living become the norm. This change can be difficult for everyone. For the new parent, knowing when to discipline, when to reach in, and when to give space to your step children can be difficult. For the children learning to live with an additional parent can cause feelings of loyalty and broken loyalties that are confusing.
When a parent or child dies, the entire families grieves. The first few months are a fog. It is hard to understand why the world is still going on at the same pace. Your mind may be spinning while you feel like you are in slow motion. It is also unsettling for your children. Children will grieve according to their own developmental stage and specific to the relationship they had with their deceased loved one. They will grieve at each stage as they mature. When families are grieving, it is common to see one person in high stress while the rest of the family waits and holds their breath. Then the winds of grief change, another family member will take their turn in crisis. This is a normal part of family grief. It can be helpful to work with a family therapist to unravel some of the feelings, some of the confusion, and gain tools to learn to live again while still saying goodbye.
Divorce and separation:
Divorce and separation are difficult for parents. Divorce and separation can also set children and teens on edge. Their world is ending as they know it. As much as parents may have some control the children have none in this situation. I work with parents working to parent separately. I also work with children as they are trying to understand their new normal.
Is your child having difficulties in their teens? Are you wondering how you got here? Are you arguing all the time or concerned about their behavior? Are you wondering what is going on? When children reach their teens and beyond there are many developmental stages that coincide with body changes. The outcome of these transitions can be hard to understand for both the parents and for the children growing up. The children are starting to separate from their families. They are forming friendships that have more importance. They are forming identities about themselves that may change form week to week. As a parent, we can be left with our heads spinning…. what’s next?
It can be helpful to bring in the help of a family therapist. Working to help your child/teen to navigate the changes in light of their world view and your family dynamics can help your teen to express their needs in ways that are understandable. And, on the other side, help you to learn more about how to make this transition a smoother ride.
As a Play therapist, I work with my clients to understand their world and experiences without words. Children with trauma carry the heavy weight of their experiences and memories. Some times these experiences block them from seeing the good around them, the help around them and keep them from moving forward. Through play- we take each layer and make sense of their experience to help children, adolescents and adults heal.
I work with families as they seek to redefine who they are and how they will work together. In therapy I work with the emotions that drive us together or apart. This is done with proven therapies to assist families through these changes in life. You can view a video about connecting with children and your partner here: Loving attachment from cradle to grave.