While individual therapy focuses on one person and his or her needs, family counseling focuses on the needs of the entire family. In family therapy, I’m interested in everyone in the room, and their interactions with each other. I’m even interested in those not present in the room with us. They could be siblings not present, or extended family members such as Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Great-Grand parents. Close family friends can also play a important role in family therapy.
Since your relationships are such an important component of your emotional health, involving families in solutions will often help you and those important to you. Your family’s participation in counseling will lead to a stronger understanding of who you are, and will make a great impact on many other relationships in your lives.
Whether you are separated, divorced, or in-tact family, this is an important message. One of your children's most important needs is to see their parents respect each other. They are watching you when you're getting along, and they are watching you when you aren't. Remember, children tend to take everything personally and feel loyalty to both of their parents no matter how "good" or "bad" they are, so your complaining is probably causing your child unnecessary anxiety. They are also learning how they should be treated by the way you treat each other. In the end, if you devalue your child's other parent, they may lose respect for both of you.
Unfortunately, chances are that there is probably good reason to complain about your child's other parent. You are trying to be the best parent you can be, but you are probably the one who has to deal with your child's disappointments and that can be heartbreaking. Find a healthy outlet for your stress and disappointment. Consider talking to a close friend in private, working-out, prayer, and of course counseling. You definitely need a release for your legitimate concern for your mounting stress.
Leana Sykes is a Relationship Counselor and the owner of Leana Sykes Relationship Counseling & Mediation in Oaklyn, NJ.