Parents and their children will experience conflict. This is inevitable and this conflict rarely occurs because the child is incorrigible, or bad. More often than not, parent and child conflict occurs due to parenting styles that clash with the reality of child development. Parenting styles evolve from a number of factors. Culture, how one was raised, adopted and adapted styles shared by parents, as well as re-marriage, blended families, and co-parenting.
When conflicts between parent and child arise, this does not mean the child is bad, and it does not mean the parent or parents are bad. It just means they are different. That is what conflict is, two opposing forces colliding. When these collisions occur they often leave both child and parent feeling embattled, and sad (Gerard, Krishna kumar, & Buehler, 2006). This is what happens when there is a rift between two people who love one another. Parents tend to carry the burden of guilt following conflicts, and may feel they are horrible parents because of the conflict. Feeling guilt is nonproductive and may further harm the relationship between parent and child.
Often parents, especially single parents will feel incredibly isolated when they are at odds with a child. This is normal; however, also very painful to the parent. Understanding the source of conflict is the first step to resolving the guilt. Parent counseling or therapy can be very helpful to parents who need help in understanding or dealing with parent-child conflict.
Conflicts of any kind are often resolved when one side defeats the other. However, no caring parent truly wants their child to be utterly defeated. Parents may want the child to behave a certain way, certainly. They might want their child to obey them easily. However, what they can learn through therapy is that both parent and child can win once the conflict is managed or resolved in a positive way.
When a parent-child relationship has gotten to the point that neither parent nor child can be a winner, the best solution is usually to take a step back and reassess goals. What does the parent expect from the child? Is it a reasonable expectation? What can they do if the child has other ideas or feelings? A Psychologist can help the parent reevaluate their expectations. They can help them learn a more advantageous parenting style as well as techniques to deal with specific behaviors.
Parents sometimes resist going to counseling for parent-child conflicts because they fear they will be harshly judged. However, the role of the counselor is to work with the parent, not against them. Psychologists are aware that the parent is the one who has the most power to bring positive change. They see the parent's wellbeing as a crucial part of a peaceful home environment.
There was a time when counseling for parent-child conflict began with the child. The child might go to a Psychologist for play therapy or even individual counseling. While some children still need to go to counseling in certain instances, therapy for parent-child conflicts is now typically focused on the parent. This makes abundant sense, because the parent has greater capacity to make changes that are reasoned and beneficial.
Parents are often so worry-worn and overstressed that they need a few sessions to learn how to be gentle with themselves as they deal with the tense conflicts at home. As the guilt begins to ease, they often start seeing hope where they once saw despair. The conflict may diminish somewhat at this point, because the parent is more relaxed and positive already.
The parent learns about herself or himself as well as their child. The counselor can help them identify problems that the child may not yet be able to understand. Since the parent is presumably more mature and has more life experience, it is usually easier for the parent to look at the conflict objectively when guided by a knowledgeable Psychologist than it would be for the child.
In this way, parent counseling can provide a type of education for the parent that they may not get any other way. Rather than learning just about how the typical parent might deal with the typical child, they learn about themselves and their child specifically. This knowledge then provides the basis for better understanding.
Learning parenting skills from the counselor or Psychologist also allows the parent to move on from therapy as they gain the skills and proper mindset for resolving parent-child conflicts. Once the parent develops the skills to create a win-win situation where both child and parent benefit from the resolution, their home will be more peaceful, their child will be better-adjusted, and the parent will be able to relax into their role in a way they never dreamed they could.
If you need consultation about your parenting skills, we can provide you all the help you need. They have professional psychologist who can greatly contribute to your concerns on parenthood.