Does Your Family Seem to Argue About Everything?
Is your family frequently in conflict over who took what from whom and who made a rude comment? Do you feel as though your kids just won’t listen to you and your partner? Is one person targeted in the family as being the “problem”? Do you and your partner disagree on how things should be done in the family? Are the kids supposed to complete their chores or is that battle just not worth it? Are they supposed to get homework done before anything fun or should they be responsible for their own time management? Does your partner travel a lot for work and feel like an outsider in your home? Are the kids more aligned with you because your partner works so much and may not be home a lot? Are you frustrated and exhausted and wish there were a way to resolve all of this conflict?
Maybe it seems as though one of your children enjoys pushing his or her siblings just to get a reaction. Sibling arguments might be driving you up the wall. Or perhaps your family struggles stem from the conflict between you and your partner. Your children might listen to your partner and not you, or vice versa. Maybe your partner gets frustrated because you can’t get the kids to listen. Or maybe your partner is not as involved with decisions involving the kids and that frustrates you.
If your partner travels a lot for work, maybe your connection to him or her is not as it used to be or maybe it’s taken for granted. Or maybe the kids wish he or she were around more, but don’t respect his or her say in decisions when he or she is home. Maybe he or she or she wants to be more involved in your child’s life, but struggles to balance work and family values. Your family may feel like it is a divided unit and you aren’t sure how to bring everyone together.
Many Families Face Conflict Between Partners, Parents and Siblings
Whatever your struggle may be, family therapy can help. There’s bound to be conflict in any family. Everyone has his or her own personality and many times, personalities clash. Sometimes, siblings argue just to argue. If you have siblings, think back to when you were growing up. There was probably a fair share of arguments in your childhood home, just as there may be in your home now.
Whenever there is more than one person living together, there’s bound to be conflict. Conflict may include debates about which way to face the toilet paper roll or what constitutes disrespect. The conflicts may seem small to those not involved, but to those involved, they are real. It is better to figure things out now, rather than to have the conflicts continue until your children are adults.
With Family Therapy, Your Home Life Can Get Better
Since 2003, I have been providing family therapy to help partners, parents and siblings resolve conflicts. In sessions, we will look at everyone’s role and how he or she relates to other family members. Each person plays a role in the conflict just as each person can play a role creating change. Even if one person does not want to make changes, once the other family members make changes, this person will naturally do so as well. Don’t get me wrong…Change is not easy! The thought of making changes may be scarier than what’s happening now in the family. At least the current way of relating is predictable. But, change can help you turn your family into a supportive, safe place for everyone.
No matter what direction your family wants to take in family therapy, it will be important for family members to notice the relationship they have with everyone and what they may want to be different. This will guide our work together and keep members focused on their goals. After discussions around what’s happening in the family, we may decide that some restructuring of the family unit is in order. Who’s in charge? What are the family rules to live by? What’s the incentive to change? Your family may also want people to manage their emotions better so that conversations are calmer. When you help each other, no one will feel alone in this big task. Everyone will leave our sessions with a task at hand to make a difference.
My personal experiences in my Italian family have helped me learn how to understand and manage family dynamics. I think there’s something to be said about being Italian and having strong emotions! How do you get a word in edge wise when everyone else is already thinking they’re right? My family has a strong love for one another, which comes across as… well…passionate! Managing different personalities in one room can be a challenge, but it’s a challenge I love.
In my work as a family therapist, I use humor and take an interested, inquisitive stance to help everyone feel more comfortable in sessions and help people take responsibility for their roles. No matter how different your family members seem to be, you can find common ground and create a loving, harmonious home. You don’t have to feel like you’re tiptoeing around emotional explosions anymore. With help and support, you can bring your family together.
You may believe that family therapy can help your family resolve conflict, but still have questions or concerns…
Would it be better to just focus on one person in my family?
We can approach family therapy sessions from many different angles. Unless someone in your family seems to struggle with mental health issues (which would need to be addressed first), then I would say it’s probably best to work with the family as a whole. Working with the whole family can take away any further stigma that your family may feel about seeking help. The group dynamic can also prevent members from feeling that they are the problem – it is a family issue. If someone feels like they are the reason for therapy, then they will likely feel more defensive and less open to counseling.
I’m afraid family therapy won’t help.
That’s a natural fear whenever starting something new. You certainly don’t want things to get worse. If your family has been in therapy before and it was not helpful, then we will spend some time talking about what worked with the previous therapist and what did not. By understanding these two things, we will be better prepared to not repeat old patterns in family therapy. If your family has not been in therapy before, then we will talk about what each person needs from each other and from me to feel comfortable in making it work.
My family does not want to come to therapy.
I understand. Maybe they, too, are afraid it won’t help. Or, maybe they are afraid that I will judge them or force them to make uncomfortable changes. Bringing a stranger into your personal life to talk about very intimate details is never a comfortable thing. Maybe some of your family is worried that others will judge them for seeking therapy. Perhaps talking with them about their concerns about counseling and their feelings in the family will motivate them to talk about how things can improve. Getting used to the idea of coming to therapy is the beginning phase of starting treatment. Once you arrive, the rest is up for discussion.
Free Phone Consultation
You can feel like you have a better understanding of your family dynamics and your individual role within the family unit. Change is possible. Feel free to contact me at (703) 554-2882, to address any specific questions you may have about your family or my approach in family therapy. I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation for potential new clients.