Sometimes, parents request to work with their children's deviations (phobias, aggressive behaviour, anger, depression, etc.). In response, I usually invite parents to join the work, and more than that – to work on themselves. What for?
The answer is simple. Usually child’s behavior is a direct reflection of the relationships in the family. Phobias, frequent illnesses or violent behavior is not taken by the child out of nowhere. And then, if the parents are not part of the counselling process, my work comes to nothing.
If I help the child to change his/her behavior, anyway coming back into the old system (the family), he/she regains old thinking and reacting templates.
The true is that family for some reasons needs destructive child’s behavior. Usually, due to child problem, adults solve their relationships difficulties (though not doing it consciously).
Thinking about this subject just a metaphor came to my mind. Imagine that you are a very small child and you were given a quite complicated toy. You do not know how to handle it for its intended purpose. After playing with the toy for a while you just break it. Then you bring the toy to an adult (a professional) and ask for reparation. He does, he repairs the toy and gives it back to you. Then you break it again because you haven’t actually learned how to handle it. Same with the child…
You raised him/her for several years. Then you “break” him/her and ask a counsellor to fix him/her in an hour. And in fact, you don’t want to know how to deal with him/her, you even do not want to learn, you don’t need instructions...
Don’t be surprised, Dear Parent, in my work with children sometimes I experience feelings of powerlessness too. Because, quite often adults do not want to make any changes in their own behaviour! So, let’s do it together!
p.s. I strongly recommend the book of Virginia Satir ”Conjoint Family Therapy”