I know family is hard, but is it supposed to be THIS hard?
Yeah, Family is TOUGH. See if any of these starts to hit home:
You are a step-parent who never got to take on a full role as a parent in the house.
You are an adult child trying to for once in your life be seen or acknowledged by your parents.
You have kids with complex needs in the house, and you are on a razor's edge between guilt for not doing enough and exhaustion because the pace is impossible to keep up with.
You are parenting teenagers and they are driving you crazy with attitude, school refusal, shut downs, or yelling matches.
You and your partner can't seem to get on the same page with parenting.
You are a parent to young adults, trying and trying to find the right balance between supporting and letting go.
Families are super complex. You care about each other, which naturally means that you tick each other off.
Help for you and the people that get on your nerves the most.
Sometimes you hit a hurdle that you just can't get over on your own. You know what? It's just a sign that those jerks mean everything to you. We approach family therapy from a really normalizing point of view that way: loving people means that we are often terrified of failing them and even more terrified of losing them.
The attachment relationship between parents and kids (no matter their age) is like a stream that runs down hill: the love wants to flow from parent to child. It's just that sometimes things get in the way to block it from getting there. A big old boulder falls into the stream. Then a downed branch catches on it, and soon enough leaves, twigs, and other stuff reduce the flow of water to a trickle. The good news is, that once we start remove some of those blocks, the water starts flowing pretty quickly again. Emotionally Focused Family Therapy is an evidenced-based approach to family work that helps us look at those blocks.
Family therapy is highly flexible. You might come in as a family for the whole time, or your therapist may choose to have you come in different subsets. For this type of talk-based therapy, we recommend only family members that are verbally able to process some basic emotions. Other than that, just about everything is fair game. Come to family therapy with your 70 year old dad, your 17 year old daughter, your step kids, your adopted or chosen siblings, or your drag mom. Family struggles come in all shapes and sizes.
Learn to like your family again.
The love is there, that's for sure. It never left. But the liking? That's harder to come by. But would you believe us if we told you it's possible? It's totally possible. With family work, often one little shift starts the water flowing, and sooner than you might think, all that debris gets washed downstream.
We named our practice YEG Family Counselling on purpose. Because we love working with families of all sorts, and we think it's a really under-used resource. There comes a time in every family where you just need someone to come alongside and give you a little guidance. If you've read this far, that time is probably now. Let us help you get through to each other so that you can enjoy being a family again.