While conflicts are normal — and at times, healthy — for families, there are some severe cases that demand attention. Thankfully, even when things get bad, there are always ways to seek help and heal for your family. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that child abuse most commonly occurs from within the family. Factors that may heighten the risk of abuse may include parental depression or other mental health issues, a family history of childhood abuse or neglect, or substance abuse and domestic violence. When all of these may severely impact an individual’s parenting and the overall health of their children, it’s important to seek help to remedy these issues.
One of the best ways to do this is by seeking professional assistance through parent counselling.
What is parent counselling?
Parent counselling seeks to help individuals through difficulties that might be harmful to their parenting. Therapists provide parents with the necessary tools, knowledge, guidance, and emotional support to better equip them to provide the necessary care for their children.
Some crucial problems that might be causing issues in parenting include marriage problems, anger management, mental health illnesses, substance abuse, or coping with loss. By gaining a better understanding of these issues, patients are assisted in correcting these behaviours or tendencies.
Benefits of parent counselling
As parents, it may be difficult to accept or understand where things are going wrong. Having an unbiased perspective from a trained therapist can help you regain your perspective on your parenting.
Parent counselling allows you to understand your own personal conflicts by processing your behaviours and sorting out their root causes. Your counsellor will help you work through your own issues so that you’re more aware of how your actions affect your children’s growth and happiness. It also provides you with professional guidance in discerning what parenting styles would be best for your children’s developmental behaviours. In doing so, you can gain crucial insight into how to better yourself as an individual, and how to build a healthier relationship with your children.
How to get started with parent counselling
You can access parent counselling both by referral or by voluntarily seeking help. Parents who choose to undergo parent counselling will have to seek a professional within their access so that they can sustain consistent and effective communication.
In the US, this may be difficult for those who aren’t in prime areas with many therapists available. An article by the Washington Post reports that the therapist shortage has always been particularly disadvantageous for those in rural areas with limited healthcare choices, but that this shortage is even more pronounced now. Fortunately, those who are currently working are able to accommodate more patients through remote counselling.
However, your options for therapists depend on the state you’re in, as different states require different licensing and certifications. For instance, in New York, family counsellors must pass the "Examination in Marital and Family Therapy" administered by the Professional Testing Corporation, as New York does not accept California exams for licensure. Similarly, remote licensed marriage and family therapists in Michigan need a Michigan Marriage and Family Therapy license — a document that can only be bestowed upon passing the local Marital and Family Therapy Exam. However, professionals who seek to accommodate clients across state lines may have to seek additional licenses to do so.
You can find a therapist offering parent counselling by getting a referral from your doctor, local community leaders, or social workers. You can also get in touch with your insurance company to see if they can refer you to a therapist that they have coverage for. Parenting can be a difficult process but it begins with a sincere desire to connect with your child.
Our article "Connect With Your Child Using Conversation — 10 Top Tips" states that strong relationships with your children can bring about wellness, longevity, and positive mental well-being. Fortunately, with parent counselling, you can find a way to becoming a better parent.