Top Problems That Parents Face That Lead Parents to Seek Counseling Posted on May 15, 2023, updated on August 31, 2023 by Dr. John Hawkins, Sr. Becoming a parent is one of the richest experiences you can have in life. There’s nothing like watching your child learn, grow, and develop their unique personality over time.At the same time, parenting in these modern times can be very challenging.Our team at Gateway Counseling Center can certainly attest to these unavoidable difficulties. We have decades of experience counseling parents like yourself. Plus, many of us are parents and grandparents ourselves.That’s why we put together this post on the top problems that parents face that lead parents to seek counseling. Life these days is pretty complicated, and navigating everything on your own is a tall order. Keep reading to learn about how counseling can help you get the family dynamic back on track. 1. Parenting Difficulties I know “parenting difficulties” might sound a bit broad, but stay with me here. Has your child ever fought you on boundaries? Or displayed inappropriate behavior, and you had no idea how to effectively intervene?It’s also quite common to feel overwhelmed while weighing developmental needs against new “social norms.”For example, experts suggest the ideal age to give your child their first smartphone is around 12. But when other kids have smartphones at younger ages, it’s a hard choice—especially knowing the way kids get ostracized for being different. How Do I Set Appropriate Boundaries and Expectations for My Child Based On Their Age and Developmental Stage? When it comes to setting boundaries, the most important thing to remember is that it’s normal for kids to push back a little bit. And this isn’t all bad! The pushback helps children slowly develop their independence and learn to make good choices when they’re older.At any age, the most important factor in establishing boundaries is modeling good behavior. Don’t belittle or yell at your kids, even during discipline. You should also keep instructions short and sweet, especially for younger kids. Your 5-year-old won’t understand a speech about why they need to go to bed on time.Finally, mention the consequences while explaining the boundaries. “If you don’t get into bed on time, we don’t have time for extra snuggles or your favorite story.”With counseling, you’ll learn even more tools to make these tough decisions confidently and effectively. 2. Communication Issues Even though we were all children once, communicating with your kids can be difficult. You’ll often have a completely different perspective or thought process. And even if you say you’ve been in a similar situation or that you’re looking out for their best interest, your children are likely to challenge your rationale.These issues can lead to all kinds of conflicts, misunderstanding, and strain on familial relationships. Even worse, the resulting stress often makes communicating even harder.Though it might sound simple, communication issues are absolutely one of the top problems that parents face that lead parents to seek counseling. Your counselor will help you hone your communication skills and get comfortable having open, honest conversations with your kids. 3. Managing External Stressors It’s no secret that childhood today is wildly different from how we grew up. Social media, remote learning, and smart devices are just a few examples of recent innovations that have already become commonplace for children today.At the same time, you’re dealing with your own issues—finances, health, or anything else that’s gone wrong recently—while trying to be present with your kids.It’s a lot to manage, to say the least. Counseling will teach you coping strategies and other tools to help provide a stable family environment, even when times are hard. What Strategies Can I Use to Manage External Stressors, Like Financial Difficulties or Job Loss, Without Negatively Impacting My Family Life? The absolute best strategies for managing external stressors will depend on the specific issues at hand and the specific impacts your family is experiencing. That said, here are 3 which work well for many situations: Talking about your feelings with your family members is a great approach. Of course you don’t want to worry your children, but avoiding the discussion entirely isn’t healthy either. Have age-appropriate conversations where every family member can express their emotions. Distraction can also be a powerful tool. This one is best used for things like worldwide news or a death in the family—things that are absolutely, totally out of your control. Removing focus from the stressor and doing something as a family, like playing a game or even doing chores, can be highly beneficial.Finally, as a counselor, I can’t say enough good things about getting professional help and support. The plain truth is, sometimes we need external help. If your stress is to the point that you can’t focus, are engaging in risky or self-sabotaging behaviors, or have felt depressed/anxious for more than 2 weeks, you’d likely benefit from counseling. 4. Mental Health Concerns Mental health is top of mind these days, both for you as a parent and for your children. The truth is, you won’t be equipped to support your child’s mental and emotional health unless you take care of your own.Depression, anxiety, and stress are some of the most common burdens parents carry. But they’re far from the only ones. While lifestyle changes like exercising more or eating healthier can lighten the load, sometimes you need expert help.Working with an experienced counselor here at Gateway Counseling Center won’t just help you in the short term. You’ll also learn methods and techniques to support good mental health for you and your children. Parenting Isn’t Always Easy, But Counseling Can Help A recent study found that 4 out of 10 parents are extremely worried about their children’s mental health and well-being. If you’re having any of the struggles we mentioned above, you aren’t alone. More importantly, you have the power to resolve these issues with counseling. Data shows counseling is effective for addressing issues related to every single one of the top problems that parents face that lead parents to seek counseling. You and your children deserve to enjoy this time together before they leave the nest. If you’re ready to learn more about how counseling can help, I invite you to contact us today.