Therapy for Parents, Therapist for Parenting Issues (2022)

Therapy for Parents, Therapist for Parenting Issues (1)Parenting can be satisfying and fulfilling. But it can also be difficult and time-consuming. Parents must tend to an infant or child’s daily needs. They are also responsible for helping each of their children develop life skills. These skills include daily living skills, social skills, and appropriate behaviors. Parents with more than one child must account for the personalities of each, as well.

New parents, overwhelmed parents, and parents facing mental health conditions may benefit from the support of a mental health professional. A therapist or counselor can help parents through difficult situations or behavioral concerns.

  • What Is Good Parenting?
  • The Challenges of Parenting
  • The Four Parenting Styles
  • The Influence of Parents
  • The Limitations of Parents
  • Single Parenting

What Is Good Parenting?

From the moment a pregnancy or adoption is announced, most parents receive many suggestions on how to raise their child. Pediatricians provide information to new parents about the health and safety of infants. Media sources offer extensive and often conflicting advice on parenting. Family members may have varying opinions on what is best for a child.

New parents may feel overwhelmed by parenting information and advice. They may be unsure of what is best for their child. So they may turn to a pediatrician, therapist, or other specialist for advice. Experts in child psychology and development generally agree no one method of parenting is “best.” Parents may wish to try different parenting styles to see what works for their family.

Research generally backs the advice given by pediatricians and other health professionals. For example, they encourage parents to place infants to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Other advice may be less valid. Parents may wish to speak to an expert before following advice that makes them uncomfortable in any way.

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The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development states parents are generally responsible for:

  • Keeping children safe
  • Listening to children and spending time with them
  • Providing affection, order, and consistency
  • Setting and enforcing limits for children
  • Monitoring friendships children make
  • Seeking help for any medical or behavioral concerns

The Challenges of Parenting

Raising a child can be difficult for many reasons. Some common challenges parents face include:

  • Providing consistent care
  • Attending to the needs of an infant or toddler
  • Maintaining adult relationships
  • Financial difficulties
  • Feeling rushed or “out of time”
  • Scheduling and planning children’s days
  • Lack of sleep

A parent who stays home with a child or children may feel overworked. They may resent the other parent for working outside the home. This can strain a partnership. Parenting is also often physically demanding. Parents with young children may spend much of their day performing household tasks.

Parenting may become more difficult when a child shows signs of behavior issues. Parenting may also become more complex if the child has a physical or intellectual disability. It can be hard to cope when a child needs extensive medical treatment or other extra care. Parents may find it difficult to give their children equal attention. This may cause some parents to feel guilt and greater levels of stress.

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Research highlights some factors in parenting that can increase behavior problems. One of these is when parents are not united. This may mean they do not communicate well. It can send confusing messages to children. Kids may be unsure of what their parents expect of them. They may react to inconsistent parenting with misbehavior. Child psychologists emphasize the importance of being a cohesive parenting team.

The Four Parenting Styles

Many experts recognize four parenting styles:

  • Authoritative.This is considered the most effective form of parenting for most children. Authoritative parents have high expectations and goals for their kids. These are tempered with an understanding of their kids' limits. These parents are willing to communicate flexibly. This can make parent-child communication easier.
  • Neglectful. Neglectful parenting can mean a lack of time spent with the child. Neglectful parents may be unfamiliar with their kids' teachers and friends. They may not care for their kids' basic needs. This type of parenting is rarely practiced on purpose. It’s important to recognize if you or someone you know has this parenting style. This type of parenting can be damaging to kids long-term.
  • Permissive. Permissive parents are nurturing, loving, and supportive. But they can take this too far. Permissive parents may avoid conflict at any cost. They rarely enforce their own rules. Doing this can be harmful for children, as they thrive on routine.
  • Authoritarian. Authoritarian is not the same as authoritative parenting. Authoritarian parents are strict and demanding with their children. Their parenting style is not often flexible. They generally rely on punishment to maintain obedience. There is rarely room for open communication between parents and kids.

Each style represents a different parenting mindset. Knowing which style you are can help you approach conflict in a healthy way. You may also identify which style you would like to be. You can even learn about which style your partner is. Recognizing your parenting styles can also help you communicate with your partner.

The Influence of Parents

A parent is often the most influential person in a child’s life. Even after the child grows up, they may look to their parents for guidance. They may ask for advice on ethical issues as well as the typical concerns of daily life. A parent’s behavior and beliefs can influence those of their children. This is especially the case during a child’s early years. The biases of a parent are often learned by the child.

Children can overhear parents using language that implies a certain group of people is inferior to other groups. Parents may share stigmatizing beliefs about others. Children can adopt these attitudes as part of their own beliefs. Parents' religious and political views often become the child’s views. These views can change when the child is old enough question belief systems. Some parents strongly encourage a child to support their own beliefs. This may cause trouble if parents discourage their child from thinking about new ideas. This can cause children to develop a limited worldview. They may be less likely to seek out other viewpoints in adulthood.

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Children also learn attitudes of acceptance from parents. Parents can raise kids who do not discount the ideas and viewpoints of others. This can allow children to grow up to be open to different people and new experiences.

The Limitations of Parents

A parent’s influence can be limited. Children may learn new ideas from friends, from the media, and at school. Trauma may also impact a child’s development or behavior. Peer pressure can lead a child to develop problematic behavior. This may happen regardless of a parent’s efforts to keep the child safe. Many parents choose to use their own parents’ style or method of parenting. They may believe what worked for them will work for their own children. But each child and family is different. One method of parenting may not work for all children.

Many parents continue to offer support and guidance to their adult children. This may especially be the case of a child who is coping with a chronic or temporary issue. But some adult children resent what they see as continued parental influence. These adult children may refuse assistance. Some children may engage in risky or destructive behavior. Parents may be unable to reach them or unsuccessful when encouraging them to seek help. This powerlessness is likely to be difficult and distressing for parents. A therapist or other mental health professional can help parents learn to cope with this. Therapists may also help parents learn how to reach out to their children, when possible.

Some parents cope with issues outside the home or in their personal relationships. They may struggle with finances or health. These parents may find the challenges of parenting more stressful or hard to cope with. This may also be true if it is the child who is facing an issue.

Single Parenting

Single parent households are becoming common in the United States. Some parents are single by choice. Others may lose a spouse or partner through death or separation. A single parent often experiences increased stress. This can be due to a greater amount of parenting responsibility. When a parent suddenly becomes single, children may have trouble coping. This can lead to behavioral difficulties.

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Divorced parents may share custody of children. The children may find rules and routines differ from one house to the next. This inconsistency can be difficult for them to adapt to. Newly single parents might find it harder to enforce rules without support. They may also experience the added stress of financial difficulties.

Single parents may find it hard to meet potential romantic partners or go on dates. This can be even harder for parents of small children.These parents may feel isolated and lonely. They may also have a higher risk for anxiety or depression.

There are ways single parents can cope with challenges. Some of these include:

  • Staying connected with relatives and friends
  • Creating a support network
  • Making time for self-care and childcare
  • Enrolling children in after school programs

These tips may help single parents cope with challenges and reduce stress in their lives. A therapist may be able to help address specific concerns.


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  1. Alvy, K. (n.d.). How do parents' own biases impact their children? Retrieved from
  2. Grusec, J., & Danyliuk, T. (2014, December 1). Parents' attitudes and beliefs: Their impact on children's development. Retrieved from
  3. Hansen, A. (2013, September 3). The mysterious and alarming rise of single parenthood in America. Retrieved from
  4. Single parenting and today’s family. (n.d.). American Psychological Association. Retrieved from
  5. Usakli, H. (2013). Comparison of single and two parents children in terms of behavioral tendencies. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 8(3), 256-270. Retrieved from


What is parents therapy? ›

Parenting therapy provides you with a safe, unbiased, and non-judgmental space to talk about your most intimate thoughts and feelings concerning parenthood.

What therapy is best for families? ›

The following are the most popular types of therapy and family counseling:
  • Structural therapy.
  • Strategic therapy.
  • Systemic therapy.
  • Narrative therapy.
  • Transgenerational therapy.
  • Communication theory.
  • Psychoeducation.
  • Relationship/Marriage Counseling.
12 Mar 2019

What are Parent Child Relationship problems? ›

These problems include a lack of boundaries, rejection, restrictiveness and overprotection, overindulgence, substance abuse and unrealistic expectations from children. The parent child relationship problem can permeate into multiple aspects of life.

What is therapeutic parenting support? ›

Therapeutic parenting is a research-based approach to help children who have experienced early trauma. The aim is to encourage feelings of safety and connectedness so that the child or young person can begin to deal with their experiences.

What is parents CBT? ›

Parent Management Training (PMT)/Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) helps parents/caregivers learn how to respond to their children in ways that promote more positive behaviors and less negative behaviors and improve parent-child and family relationships.

How do you resolve parent issues? ›

How To Overcome Conflict With A Parent
  1. Understand Their Story. ...
  2. Seek Another Adult's Advice. ...
  3. Figure Out What You Want From The Conflict. ...
  4. Avoid Yelling. ...
  5. Pick The Right Time. ...
  6. Brew Tea. ...
  7. Take A Deep Breath Before Speaking. ...
  8. Say How Much You Love Them.
2 Jun 2016

How do you resolve parenting conflicts? ›

Model how to discuss differences and resolve conflict calmly. Be clear with children that they are not to blame for the fighting. Reassure children that you love them and that you are sorting the problem out. Make time to listen to and accept your child's feelings and worries about the fighting.

How do you fix a strained relationship with a parent? ›

How To Build A Healthy Relationship With A Parent
  1. Focus On The Issues, Not Each Other. ...
  2. Slowly Ease Back Into The Relationship. ...
  3. Look Within Yourself, Too. ...
  4. Set New Boundaries. ...
  5. Be Aware Of Your Limits. ...
  6. Stay Away From Personal Attacks. ...
  7. Don't Focus On Time. ...
  8. Have Realistic Expectations.
13 May 2016

What is a family therapist called? ›

Essentially, Licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) are mental health professionals and practitioners trained in psychotherapy and family systems, with clinical practice experience averaging 13 years.

What are the 3 goals of family therapy? ›

Goals of Family Therapy

Family therapy sessions can help: Develop and maintain healthy boundaries. Facilitate cohesion and communication. Promote problem-solving by a better understanding of family dynamics.

Can therapy help with family problems? ›

Family therapy can help you improve troubled relationships with your partner, children or other family members. You may address specific issues such as marital or financial problems, conflict between parents and children, or the impact of substance abuse or a mental illness on the entire family.

What causes parenting issues? ›

Child factors

A chronically ill or disabled child. Undiagnosed psychological or developmental problem - eg, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autistic spectrum disorders. Difficult temperament of a child and a clash in parenting style. Fragile emotional temperament of a child.

What are the five issues that affect parenting? ›

The Evolution of Parenting: Five Biggest Challenges Faced by Parents Today
  • Balancing family and career.
  • Being afraid to say 'NO'
  • A culture of blame.
  • Ensuring children receive a quality education.
  • Overload of information.
12 Jan 2018

What does mommy issues lead to? ›

If a female child has mommy issues, it's more typically referencing that a mother nitpicked or verbally put down their daughter. This can lead to self-confidence and self-image issues later in life. It can also lead to trust issues since the person that you trusted for your primary care let you down in this way.

What are 3 of the basic needs a parent should provide? ›

The eight things kids need to thrive

Kids must feel safe and sound, with their basic survival needs met: shelter, food, clothing, medical care and protection from harm.

What is REI method of parenting? ›

What Is the RIE Parenting Method? Developed in 1978 by baby specialist Magda Gerber, RIE parenting—or resources for infant educarers—encourages parents (and educators) to treat babies and children as capable human beings, ones who are able to flourish when given space to explore the world on their terms.

What is repair parenting? ›

A repair is where you, as the grown-up acknowledge the rupture. Come back to your child. Let them know they are safe, that your relationship with them is safe. A repair might look as effortless as 'oops, mama thought you wanted to be picked up, but you're still exploring' - or it might be 'wow, Mama really yelled.

What is a lawnmower parent? ›

Named after the machine used for cutting grass, a lawnmower parent will “mow down” any obstacle their child might experience. According to a professor who coined the term in a blog post, lawnmower parents “rush ahead to intervene, saving the child from any potential inconvenience, problem, or discomfort".

What are the 4 parenting styles? ›

Psychologists tend to focus on the four key parenting styles: Authoritarian. Authoritative. Permissive.

What is a submarine parent? ›

In an article published in the Globe this week, Conry defined submarine parenting this way: Parents stay out of sight — under the surface, if you will — letting kids manage situations as they come up. [...] Far from disengaged parenting, submarine parenting means keeping a hidden eye on your children's progress.

What kinds of issues must you deal with as a parent? ›

Here are some common problems that parents face and ways to resolve them.
  • Shyness. ...
  • The Digital Device Addiction. ...
  • Improper Eating Habits. ...
  • No Mood for Studies. ...
  • Constant Whining and Complaining. ...
  • Angry and Aggressive Child. ...
  • Lying. ...
  • A Rivalry Between Siblings.
31 May 2018

What are 2 common reasons for having conflicts with parents? ›

Common causes of family conflict

Birth of a baby. Birth of other children. A child going to school. A child becoming a young person.

How do you recover from parenting mistakes? ›

7 Ways to Recover from Your Parenting Mistakes
  1. Recognize it. The first way is an obvious one. ...
  2. Determine why. Once we recognize our mistakes, we have to search ourselves and find out why we did what we did. ...
  3. Apologize for it. ...
  4. Discuss it. ...
  5. Learn from it. ...
  6. Take action. ...
  7. Move on.

What happens when one parent disciplines and the other doesn t? ›

Make it a rule that if one parent disciplines a child, the other parent must back it up, even if the other parent disagrees with the punishment. You and your spouse need to present yourselves as a unified team to your child, or it will undermine your authority as parents.

What are signs of a toxic relationship with parents? ›

Common Toxic Traits
  • They're self-centered. They don't think about your needs or feelings.
  • They're emotional loose cannons. They overreact, or create drama.
  • They overshare. They share improper info with you, like details about their intimate lives. ...
  • They seek control. ...
  • They're harshly critical. ...
  • They lack boundaries.

What is a dismissive parent? ›

Dismissive parenting is a pattern of behaviors and attitudes that signals rejection, scorn, and disdain toward the child. Dismissive behavior has many manifestations. It may depend on the context, culture, and type of interaction.

How do you rebuild a relationship with a toxic parent? ›

How To Rebuild A Relationship With Toxic Parents
  1. Figure Out What They Can And Cannot Give. ...
  2. Avoid Entanglement. ...
  3. Keep Strict Boundaries In Conversations & Otherwise. ...
  4. Don't Feel Guilty For Loving. ...
  5. Beware Of Parentification. ...
  6. Recognize That You Cannot Make Other People Change. ...
  7. Go To Therapy.
9 Jun 2016

What are the 4 types of therapists? ›

What are the different types of therapy?
  • Psychiatrist. ...
  • Psychologist. ...
  • Licensed Professional Counselor or Licensed Mental Health Counselor. ...
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker. ...
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. ...
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy. ...
  • EMDR. ...
  • Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy.
27 Jan 2020

What are the 4 kinds of the therapist? ›

The most common types of licensed therapists are:
  • Licensed professional counselors (LPCs)
  • Licensed mental health counselors (LMHCs)
  • Licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs)
  • Licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs)
  • Psychologists (PhDs or PsyDs)
  • Psychiatrists (MDs or DOs)

What is the difference between a family therapist and a counselor? ›

Therapists work to help their patients address similar issues, and often provide the same advice that counselors might. However, a key difference is that therapists often seek to go deeper by helping the patient understand the how and why behind a challenge.

What do family therapists focus on? ›

Family therapy helps family members understand each other and work through difficult feelings in a safe space. This type of therapy focuses on improving the interactions and communication between family members.

What are the types of family therapy? ›

There are four types of family therapists most often utilized by professionals: supportive family therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic ideas and systemic family therapy.

Who should be involved in family therapy? ›

LuAnn Pierce, LCSW: Ideally, everyone in the immediate family will participate in family therapy. In some cases, it might be helpful to include other family members if they are involved in the problems that need to be addressed.

What are the 4 causes of family conflict? ›

4 Causes of Family Conflict
  • Finances and Jobs.
  • Sibling Rivalry.
  • Child Discipline.
  • In-Laws and Extended Family.
18 Dec 2018

Who can I talk to about my family problems? ›

Another Trusted Person

If you don't feel comfortable speaking about your issues to your best friend, parent, or sibling, you can always talk to someone you trust. You can speak to a relative, pastor, or therapist. Children and teens can talk to their teacher or school counselor.

What are toxic parent traits? ›

Toxic parents may invade your privacy or not allow you to make your own decisions. Or maybe they're overly critical and controlling of your decisions, even as an adult. Manipulative behaviors. Your parent may try to control you by using guilt or shame to play with your emotions.

What are the biggest parenting mistakes? ›

A therapist shares the 7 biggest parenting mistakes that destroy kids' mental strength
  • Minimizing your kid's feelings. ...
  • Always saving them from failure. ...
  • Overindulging your kids. ...
  • Expecting perfection. ...
  • Making sure they always feel comfortable. ...
  • Not setting parent-child boundaries. ...
  • Not taking care of yourself.
25 May 2020

What's toxic parenting? ›

What is a toxic parent? A toxic parent, says Dr. Childs, is a parent that puts their needs before their child. “They're more self-centered than other-centered,” she adds. Coupling these with other traits can give you a good idea of whether or not your parent or parents are toxic.

What is the most harmful parenting style? ›

Authoritarian Parenting

Mistakes usually lead to punishment. Authoritarian parents are normally less nurturing and have high expectations with limited flexibility. Children that grow up with authoritarian parents will usually be the most well-behaved in the room because of the consequences of misbehaving.

What are the hardest years of parenting? ›

A quarter of parents admitted the time period between 6 and 8 years old held the most brutal meltdowns. The new survey asked 2,000 parents of school-age children about the ups, downs and precious moments they cherish.

What are examples of poor parenting? ›

What is bad parenting? There are some things that are generally considered “bad” by anyone. Physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse are the most serious and damaging behavior traits that most of us equate with bad parenting.

What are signs of mommy issues in females? ›

10 signs of mommy issues in women
  • Neediness in relationships.
  • Difficulty expressing affection.
  • Detachment in relationships.
  • Caretaking for others.
  • Tension between you and your mom.
  • Insecurities.
  • Extreme people pleasing.
  • Controlling behavior.
7 Jul 2022

What is the mother syndrome? ›

When this syndrome occurs, a divorced or divorcing parent seeks to punish the other parent, sometimes going far enough as to harm or deprive their children in order to make the other parent look bad. Though most commonly called malicious mother syndrome, both mothers and fathers can be capable of such actions.

What is daddy issue? ›

“Daddy issues” is generally a catchall phrase, often used disparagingly to refer to women who have complex, confusing, or dysfunctional relationships with men. It can describe people (most often women) who project subconscious impulses toward the male partners in their life.

Why is therapy important for parents? ›

A therapist or other mental health professional can help parents learn to cope with this. Therapists may also help parents learn how to reach out to their children, when possible. Some parents cope with issues outside the home or in their personal relationships. They may struggle with finances or health.

How do you involve parents in therapy? ›

How do you engage parents in therapy? First, take a family stance at the first interaction. Tell potential clients that you always start by meeting with the family in the beginning in order to determine the best course of therapy. This sets the expectation that parents are an important part of the process.

What is the purpose of family therapy? ›

Family counseling, or family therapy, is a method to develop and maintain healthy and functional family relationships. The goal is to identify and address problems in the family. These issues could be emotional, psychological, or behavioral.

What is it called when a parent uses their child as a therapist? ›

Emotional incest, also known as covert incest, is a dynamic that occurs in parenting where the parent seeks emotional support through their child that should be sought through an adult relationship.

How do counselors help parents? ›

In therapy, the counselor helps the parent reach a deeper understanding about themselves and their child. The counselor can help parents identify problems that the child may not yet be able to express or understand on their own.

How long does the average person stay in therapy? ›

The number of recommended sessions varies by condition and treatment type, however, the majority of psychotherapy clients report feeling better after 3 months; those with depression and anxiety experience significant improvement after short and longer time frames, 1-2 months & 3-4.

What are 3 benefits of therapy? ›

5 Long-Term Benefits of Therapy
  • Therapy can help you learn life-long coping skills. ...
  • Therapy can change how you interact with people in your life – in a good way. ...
  • Therapy can make you feel happier. ...
  • Through its link to happiness, therapy leads to more productivity. ...
  • Therapy can help improve chronic stress.
31 Jan 2020

What is Parentification trauma? ›

Parentification is a form of invisible childhood trauma. Parentification occurs when the roles between a child and a parent are reversed. You know you were parentified if as a child you have to step up as the caretaker, mediator, or protector of the family.

What are the five areas of responsibilities for parents? ›

These include:
  • to protect your child from harm.
  • to provide your child with food, clothing and a place to live.
  • to financially support your child.
  • to provide safety, supervision and control.
  • to provide medical care.
  • to provide an education.
22 Sept 2020

Should parents and children see the same therapist? ›

There is no law that prohibits therapists from seeing two people who know each other, or even two members of the same family. In some small communities, there may not even be a choice. For example, a high school or college may only have one mental health therapist on-site.

What are the 3 goals of family therapy? ›

Goals of Family Therapy

Family therapy sessions can help: Develop and maintain healthy boundaries. Facilitate cohesion and communication. Promote problem-solving by a better understanding of family dynamics.

What are the five approaches of family therapy? ›

There are five widely recognized family therapy modalities: Structural Therapy, Milan therapy, Strategic Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and Transgenerational Therapy. These forms of therapy seek to improve familial relationships and create a more stable, healthy life at home.

What are the different types of family therapy? ›

There are four types of family therapists most often utilized by professionals: supportive family therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic ideas and systemic family therapy.

What is cold mother syndrome? ›

Emotionally absent or cold mothers can be unresponsive to their children's needs. They may act distracted and uninterested during interactions, or they could actively reject any attempts of the child to get close. They may continue acting this way with adult children.

What is a lawnmower parent? ›

Named after the machine used for cutting grass, a lawnmower parent will “mow down” any obstacle their child might experience. According to a professor who coined the term in a blog post, lawnmower parents “rush ahead to intervene, saving the child from any potential inconvenience, problem, or discomfort".

What are signs of parentification? ›

As a teenager, symptoms may show up as:
  • Inability to connect to their own feelings. A parentified child learns to ignore their own feelings. ...
  • Self-blame and guilt. With no one on hand to validate their feelings, a parentified teen may engage in self-blame and self-doubt.
  • Loss of childhood. ...
  • Substance use.
23 Sept 2021


1. Strengths-based family therapy session 1 part 1
(Solution-Focused Strengths-Based Practices )
2. Ask The Therapist - 5 Tips for Step-Parents
(Lindsey Boes, MS, MFTC)
3. Counseling for Aging Parent Issues
(Pamela D Wilson)
4. Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT): Effective Treatment Effective Training
(University of California Television (UCTV))
5. Adolescent Family Therapy Video
6. Parent-Child Interaction Therapy: Strengthening parent-child relationships

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