Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Parental Relationship Problems and the Effects on Children

Parents who are having relationship problems often worry about the effect of these problems on their children and wonder if they should seek therapy for themselves and/or their children.

Children pick up on the emotions of their parents, even when their parents do their best to keep any tensions or problems from them. Young children are still learning to regulate their emotions and they learn this via their relationships with their parents. Consistency, predictability, warmth, support, positive regard and feelings of security promote healthy growth and development and help children learn to manage their emotions. When an environment feels more chaotic, a child's acting out behavior is likely a reflection of his/her internal state of being. If parents are struggling with their relationship, it makes sense that they would see it in their child. Ensuring that the parents have a space to work through their issues not only helps their relationship but it gives them the emotional strength to be available to their child as well. Children, even very young ones, feel responsible for their parents. A child having a therapeutic place to process confusing feelings and work through anxieties via play, talk and relationship building can be very beneficial. The whole family then has a chance to grow individually and together.