I WANT TO SUPPORT MY CHILD
Teenagers and adult children may make their parents as much troubled and worried as small babies do. Being a parent to a teenager or a young adult only seems to be easier than being a parent to a baby. Our child is self-reliant, studies at school or at a university, makes significant decisions regarding his or her life, seeks his or her own path in life or builds new relationships. Perhaps our child already earns his or her own money or is even a parent himself or herself. He or she has already his or her own ideas, some plans for the future and a group of friends that he or she meets regularly. Still, it may happen that the life and issues of an adult child engage the thoughts and time of his or her parents to a great extent, and his or her life evokes a lot of emotions, often the difficult ones: concern, anxiety, sorrow, grief, embarrassment, disappointment or anger.
How a psychologist may assist parents and their teenage or adult children
A psychologist or a psychotherapist may help parents and their children (also adult children) in many ways, depending on the specific needs of the parents, children and the entire family. In general, the following methods of psychological assistance are available:
- individual work with one of the family members (if the issues are related to that person) in the form of psychological assistance sessions, psychoeducation related to specific topics, or longer individual psychotherapy
- work with the couple – most often the parents, who together with a psychologist in the course of marital therapy, seek better solutions to problems that have arisen in the family (many difficulties of teenage children are related to family problems. Change in the parents’ behaviour and relationship often results in reduction or even disappearing of the children’s problems)
- work with the entire family or, as the therapists call it, the “family system” – persons living together (when difficulties are related to the entire family or difficulties of one person are clearly related to the functioning of the entire family system), so called family psychotherapy in a form of regular meetings over a longer period of time
Psychological or psychotherapeutical assistance usually begins with an initial consultation with one or more persons. Family members discuss the reasons that made them decide for a consultation with a psychologist and the psychologist presents available possibilities of further work. It often happens that individual work with one of family members is combined with the work with the couple or systemic work with the entire family (in various schedules, e.g. session with an adolescent child once a week, additional session of family therapy once in 4-5 weeks or additional meeting with the child and the parent).
Any work of a psychologist or a psychotherapist with an underaged person should always be preceded by a consultation with the person’s parent or parents. During such meeting, the therapist describes the planned work with the child, and the parent gives permission to such work.
Additionally, if the psychologist or the psychotherapist works with the child for a longer period, once in a while the therapist holds meeting with the child and his or her parents, during which the parents are informed about the progress and asked for support or cooperation in some extent, if needed.
The topics of psychological consultations of a parent of a teenager or a young adult
Everything that relates to the psychological functioning of a person, as well as the client’s (the parent) needs or interests may become a topic of a psychological consultation. The topics that I have discussed during psychological consultations, individual psychotherapy and couple therapy include:
- what is normal and what is an issue? Are the behaviours that I am concerned with the reason to suggest psychotherapy to a child, or are they just an element of the child growing up and becoming separated from the parents?
- how to set boundaries wisely? What to forbid and when? Should you punish your child and how to do it? Why do we and our adolescing children need boundaries?
- am I a bad parent? How manage the situation when I have shouted at my child? What should I do when I feel powerless and exhausted? How to make it up when I have done something that I regret?
- how to manage too many tasks within too little time? I want to be a good parent, be present in my children’s life, but I work hard to support my family and I have to work several jobs. How to solve such situation?
- how to support an adolescing child in a difficult situation: parents’ divorce, a new demanding school, during or between depression episodes, not replacing for the child and not hampering him or her becoming self-reliant and learning how to manage his or her own life?
- how to protect myself from my child’s behaviours that hurt me? May I refuse my child’s request? How to refuse not risking losing contact with the child or a grandchild?
If you need a specialist assistance to support you in being a parent, call me. I encourage you to visit my psychotherapist’s office in Warsaw.
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If you need psychological help, contact me.