You are in therapy with your child for behavior issues, or you are looking into it.

Your family could be dealing with a variety of issues; anger, hitting, throwing, tantrums, bed wetting, fear and the list goes on. “Symptoms”, as we call them in my field, can sometimes seem to be coming out of the child seemingly without a cause. You go to therapy and the therapist may focus on “fixing” the child, but there may be a bigger culprit at play.

What is wreaking havoc in your home? The answer to this could rest in the interaction patterns of your family.

Sounds complicated? Good news for you and your pocket book; it’s not. It doesn’t take long for a therapist to look at a family and see the patterns at play that are inadvertently ruling the roost. You may or may not need help from a professional to see what’s at play in your family; it may just take some sitting and thinking on your part to figure out if the patterns of interaction in your home are what is causing behavior issues in the kids.

If you can’t put your finger on it and want to find out for sure, get professional guidance. 

After you either get guidance from a therapist or come up with some changes on your own it is time to implement them. Here is an example of a situation a family may have in a two child home along with a simple fix:

Let’s name the our pretend kids Sally and Susie.

Mom brings the kids into therapy because the older child, Sally-10, is having anger issues towards her younger sister, Susie-5.

The family recently divorced and the children do not get much interaction with their dad. Mom thinks the anger is mainly coming from the divorce and moving around.

After further investigation and time spent it is clear that the youngest is ruling the roost and Mom is playing right into it. After pointing this out and some parent coaching, the family is able to make changes accordingly and Sally begins to react differently to her sister.

Life is complex, luckily, solutions can be simple.

Just like with any habit, it is going to take a month or two to break old parenting patterns. The kids need some time to adjust as well to new expectations and their brains also need time to adjust as they build new interaction pathways in their mind.

Best of luck to you!