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Part 21 – Therapy For Marriage And Parenting Issues


Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

Joseph: I wish I could get out of it, but it’s not easy to switch at my age.

I realized that at this point I had found a small opening that perhaps would help us to explore their relationship in connection to their son’s delinquency.  Sarah had mentioned that her husband lost his job about three years ago. I wondered if this also had a significant impact on Moshe.

            DS: You mentioned before that the problems at work started about three years before.  When did Moshe start having trouble in school?

Sarah: About two years ago.

DS: Is it possible that some of the work stress started spilling over into Moshe’s life just after Joseph lost his job?

Sarah: Maybe, but I’m not sure.

DS: Is it possible that the strain on the family became greater after Joseph lost his job, and this is the reason that you also are not getting along so well anymore?

Sarah: It’s possible.  Two years ago I started working again, and since then I have been unable to give the kids the kind of attention I used to give them.

During that session, I was able to refocus their energy from solving Moshe’s problem to solving their marital discord.  Over the next few sessions, we began exploring the way Relationship Theory could help their marriage.  We talked about spending quality time together, understanding each other’s needs, and reducing critical and destructive language.

After six months of working with this family, I began to see changes in the way they related to their son.  Moshe began to feel more comfortable in their home and was more willing to give school a try and focus on his studies.  In general, Moshe’s family was typical of the families I see with teens-at-risk.

Often some type of emotional imbalance exists in the family and eventually one or more children begin to exhibit signs of distress.  When such symptoms of distress crop up, the best approach is to seek out professional advice and find ways to improve the relationship with the teenager.

Resolving conflict between the parents is a positive step that parents can take to help support the emotional growth of their children.  A good marital or family counselor will be able to break habitual patterns of triangling, and relieve the emotional distress that may be contributing to a teenager’s at-risk behavior.

First Aid Relationship Tips

  • Explore your relationship with your spouse and check for any unresolved issues that may be affecting your teenager.
  • Avoid triangling and using your teenager to communicate with your spouse.
  • When necessary, seek professional advice on how to improve your marriage.

Next week, part 22 – Managing Money Together

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, is the Executive Director of Shalom Task Force and author of a “First Aid for Jewish Marriages.” To order a copy, visit www.JewishMarriageSupport.com. For more information about Shalom Task Force, please visit www.shalomtaskforce.org. You can e-mail questions to him at rabbischonbuch@yahoo.com.

About the Author: Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, Marriage and Family Therapy, is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, and helping teens in crisis with offices in Flatbush, Cedarhurst, and Crown Heights. He is a certified PAIRS instructor, and trained as a Level 1, Emotionally Focused Therapist at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, and is a member of AASECT. He is the author of At Risk – Never Beyond Reach and First Aid For Jewish Marriages. To watch his free videos on marriage and parenting and for appointments visit: www.JewishMarriageSupport.com or call 646-428-4723


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More Articles from Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch
Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

Separation anxiety disorder is a condition in which a child becomes fearful and nervous when away from home or separated from a loved one – usually a parent or other caregiver – to whom the child is attached.

Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

I try to focus on the parents in a way that is not often addressed. As soon as the child gets anxious, the parent gets anxious;

Most people are not aware that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).

Parental conflict affects children in varying ways, depending on their age. For example, teenagers around the age of fifteen or sixteen are most likely to involve themselves in their parents’ battles. Younger children may keep their feelings hidden inside and may only show signs of depression in late childhood or early adolescence.

When parents come to talk to me about a troubled child or teenager, I often find it helpful to explore whether or not their marriage is causing their teenager to be at risk.

Active listening is only one part of the marriage equation; learning what to say and what not to say is the other half. And, it’s not just about expressing your feelings, but doing it in a way that avoids hurting the other person.

Control may be the most destructive force influencing a marriage. Let me illustrate this point with the following story. About two years ago a woman named Bracha, 47, came to speak to me about her husband’s controlling behavior. This is how she described her precarious situation:

Controlling behavior may be the number one reason that your marriage needs first aid.

If you are unfamiliar with the topic of control, it’s no surprise. Most people are unaware that control is a major issue for counselors, therapists and psychologists-at-large.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/part-21-therapy-for-marriage-and-parenting-issues/2009/07/03/

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