Orlando Counselors Share Insights Regarding Parenting Approaches – GroundWork Counseling’s Orlando Parent Counselor and Parent Coach share how boundaries assist in family interactions and healthy child development. Disturbances within the family unit, also known as enmeshed family patterns, have been found to result in a number of conditions, including the development of “depressive, anxious, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in middle childhood.” The family systems theory focuses on family therapy and operates on the premise that family members cannot be effectively treated if the individuals are treated separately. Therapists examine family history to determine which of the historical parent-child interactions and patterns have lead to current childhood anxiety and depression including aggressiveness. Our first thoughts when we think of depression are feelings of sadness, tears, low energy, and social isolation. However, depressed teens will also act out, sometimes violently, and symptoms can include rage and uncontrollable fits of anger. Parents sometimes turn to their children for closeness or caregiving while excluding their spouses. There is an additional response that occurs when this takes place that can forecast future behavior. For example, a parent’s controlling and/or disconnected exchanges with a child are predictive of future anxious and/or depressive symptoms while parental hostility is also predictive of ADHD and somatic (physical) conditions.
Enmeshed Family Interactions
Children who experience “enmeshed family interactions” can show symptoms of depression as teenagers. Can depression lead to hostility in teens? According to research, teen depression offers a myriad of symptoms that include feelings of hopelessness, sadness, interrupted sleep patterns, low self-esteem and energy levels, and also includes increased anger and feelings of irritability and hostility leading to violence if not discouraged. Most depressed teens will take their anger out on the family and will attack them with criticism and sarcasm. They can also physically abuse them if the parent does not prevent it. Many times teens feel they must reject their parents before the parent can reject them. They often think, “You must hate me for the way I am behaving but I am unable to stop myself, so I am going to hate you and reject you first, before you can hate and reject me.”
If parents do not offer consistent, loving attention along with appropriate boundaries that help children self-regulate, children will actually feel rejected and unworthy of receiving discipline. The child is secretly pleading, “Do you love me enough to teach me, to correct me, to show me my limits so that I can learn how to set them for myself and stay out of trouble?”
Setting limits or boundaries creates a safe place for children. It makes them feel secure and protected. It teaches them how to set their own limits in life and teaches them how to self-regulate. Secure boundaries are the most vital parameters that parents can set up for their children.
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