Family life includes our ongoing relationships with our family of origin and with our current family (partner, children, and possibly others who live with us in our household). These relationships are precious to us, but often challenging.
A family has an identity, a name, and a life of its own with specific rules, customs, ways of dealing with problems, and roles for family members to play. Many families develop clear values and expectations with one another that work well. When there are disagreements, there are positive ways to be heard and to resolve them most of the time. Sometimes, things may not go as well and feelings are hurt or people pull away from one another. When things are relatively healthy, the breach will be healed with attempts to reach out by one party or another.
Parents are able to model healthy conflict resolution skills with support for one another even in stress and disagreement. Children see loving and respectful exchanges between the adults. They also are treated with fairness, love, and respect. Healthy families are able to play, laugh, entertain, vacation, and relax together as well as help one another appropriately in times of real need.
When things are not going well, many families experience unpleasant conflicts that may include:
- Physical attacks
- Long withdrawals
- Threats of leaving or of ejecting a family member
- Sibling rivalry
- Marital conflict
- Disagreements about parenting strategies or discipline
- Temperamental children who storm
- Rebellious teens
- Substance abuse
These kinds of challenges cause stress for all family members. Add sickness, school problems, job loss, accidents, natural disasters, trouble with the law, and financial difficulties, and distressed families begin to self-destruct.
We all know frightening moments when we act and sound just like the worst part of our mom or dad as we deal with each other or with the children. These cycles can be broken. We do not have to repeat our past family troubles in our current living. The family therapists at 3-C can help individual adults change ineffective home behaviors, help couples learn better communication and problem solving skills, help establish workable family rules and roles, help develop discipline systems that work, and help improve parent-child communication. These therapists live in families themselves, have worked to solve their own family problems, and are now ready to help with yours.