The New Year has always marked a time of reflection and change. Family members might decide to make individual changes that impact the whole family. These may be quick changes, spurred by news of a new opportunity or an unfortunate circumstance, or the changes might be drawn out. Either way, big changes in a family are pretty much inevitable, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily always easy on a child.
Exactly what types of changes are these, which are difficult on a child? Well, conflict can arise from any number of large changes, but some of the most common are: divorce, which can engender feelings of guilt or abandonment in a child; moving to a new location or changing schools,which can disrupt important friendships and cause social anxiety; or the introduction of a new sibling, which, to a child, can upset the established dynamic of the family.
And with these big changes come a fresh wave of small changes – if you move or introduce a new sibling, maybe the child’s room will change, and they’ll be further away from their parents. Their school might demand a different kind of standard from them, which can be challenging.If it’s a divorce, there might soon be new spouses to deal with. And as this is all happening, family communication might suffer – after all, big changes are stressful for adults too, who need time and space to process things.
This is where it’s important to consider therapy for either your children or the whole family. If you’re in the Ajax are and need counselling services for your children or the whole family, there are wonderful options, like Integrate Health, an organization offering multidisciplinary mental health support. They offer both family counseling and child counseling. But which one should you choose? Well, that depends on your assessment of the issue.
If it’s the family dynamic you’re worried about, head straight for family counseling, There the whole family will work to strengthen relationships, working on communication patterns, cycles of conflict and problem-solving skills. This is an opportunity both for individual reflection, and to understand how individual behaviors affect the whole family. If you’re looking to fortify the family’s relationship, definitely look into counseling.
If, on the other hand, you’re worried about the resulting behaviors your child has adopted as the result of a big transition, in addition to family counseling, you might also consider counseling services for your child. Big changes can invite behavioral difficulties, and if you want your child work on those behaviors in a safe, professional environment, child therapy is key. The therapist will be able to prepare the child, as well, for changes in routines and role in the family, or help improve their social skills if they’ve moved to a new place and are feeling insecure.
Often, the parents will know before the child if a time of big transition is on the horizon. If big family changes are on their way in 2018, don’t hesitate to contact a child or family therapist to talk about how to manage that transition.