This was a family who had merged, with Sally bringing her two sons to live with Ian, who had a son and daughter.
When I first met the family I soon saw that this was a busy household with both parents working and the children involved in various activities.
There was a sense of separation between the family members and rivalry between siblings was rife. I spent time talking to both parents about the nature of the family dynamic. There was not a lot of listening to each other and communication consisted mostly of trying to get the kids to do what was asked of them.
I asked how much time was spent on family activities outdoors and fun and games together indoors. Both parents agreed this could be improved on.
Ian and Sally saw that their focus had been to ‘get things done’ rather than finding an appropriate way to talk to and be with, each child. Also in the equation was the nature of their own relationship… which often led them to defending their own children and not looking at the bigger picture or the family as a unit.
We looked at the personality of each child and what particular communication style might fit with them.
Ian and Sally understood that their own frustrations had impacted on the atmosphere in the home and the children had ‘acted out’ these as well as their own struggles.
Here are comments from Sally at the conclusion of our sessions.
‘We now realise how important our family is and that each of us are equally important.’
‘We now meet the needs of our children individually. Also we listen to and talk to each other… Communication is the key!’
‘We spend a lot more time as a family doing fun things… all the children have grown up.’
At my last session with the family I was the happy recipient of a large bunch of flowers with a letter of thanks from each family member. It was a pleasure to see everyone enjoying themselves and each other.
If any of the themes in these stories sound familiar and you’d like to discuss your situation, please get in touch – our first conversation is free of charge and without obligation.