When working with children and young people, information about, and observations of the family and main primary caregivers’ interaction, can provide a lot of insight into how they manage, contribute to, and/or maintain emotional and behavioural disturbances in the child. Information and observations can also help identify how the guardian interacts with their child, how they function in the parent role and how the child’s behaviour has been shaped. Guardians may become overwhelmed and frustrated with their child and they may need support, encouragement and hope. Often in these situations, they may blame themselves, andy may also feel inadequate and confused as to how to handle their child.
On occasions it may not be beneficial to include a guardian in the therapeutic process particularly if they have an addiction, have violent tendencies, have mental illnesses or a significant disinterest in their child’s well-being. We need to recognise and respect that some adolescents may not want to include their parents or families in the therapeutic process as it may compromise their growing individuation.
As a child’s carers and family provide a strong emotional influence upon their lives it is important to include them in the therapeutic process when possible. It can be an effective way to facilitate change quickly, helping parents to help their children, with a focus on strengthening the parent-child relationship