No doubt, as a parent, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do things the right way. As a parent, it's a very vulnerable feeling to wonder if you might actually be doing something to contribute to your child's struggles. Therapy is a safe place for your child to discuss not only the things they are struggling with, but to share some of the things they see in their family system that are difficult for them to cope with. So, therapy most likely will include recommended changes for the entire family system to make, not just focusing on the child alone.
Therapy can be sabotaged, therefore, when a parent:
Takes things or suggestions personally
Doesn't want to look at altering their parenting style when recommendations are made by the therapist
Feels embarrassed by the therapist knowing the family "problems"
Unfortunately, many times this means that a parent pulls the child from therapy too early, or doesn't implement the recommended changes that are encouraged by the therapist.
It's difficult to keep in mind that no parents are perfect-- we all make mistakes and could use help in understanding why our children might be struggling with something, as well as recommendations of things that might help them. Remember the old saying, "it takes a village to raise a child"? There is a lot of truth to that!
If you find yourself doing any of the above things, we encourage you to remember that parenting is very rewarding, but it can often be very DIFFICULT, as well. A therapist should be a neutral third party who can look at your entire system, and help your family learn to function more effectively as a whole. This might include changes on your part as a parent. But that doesn't mean you are a bad parent! It just means that you are human, and that you might need help. Let therapy be part of the village you utilize, in order to raise your child.
Joleen Watson, MS, LMFT, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.