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Are you concerned that issues within your family may be causing your child to be distressed?

What are common family-related issues?

  • No family is perfect, and every family has its issues. However, when these issues begin to interfere with the daily lives of family members and cause them distress, this may indicate that outside intervention is important to help the family resolve its conflicts.
  • Every family has its own strengths and weaknesses, but there are many different types of issues with which families may struggle. Some common family issues may include financial stressors, physical or mental illness, moving from one home to another, or loss of a family member.
  • On the other hand, each family has a unique situation, and each family's members have unique needs. The uniqueness of family situations and family members' needs may make certain life situations more difficult than others.1
  • It is important to remember that some family-related issues may be short-lasting and easily managed, while others may last for a long time and be very difficult to handle. Depending on the situation and the family's ability to cope with the situation, intervention may or may not be necessary to help the family get back to its "normal" functioning.
  • A family's coping skills may help determine whether or not intervention is necessary. Some common deficits in coping skills for which families may benefit from mental health intervention may include: poor communication, difficulty resolving arguments and/or conflicts, lack of support for family members, unequal division of family responsibilities, and family conflict due to personality differences between family members.1

How common are family issues in families of children and adolescents?

  • No family is perfect, and every family has its issues. However, the issues and conflicts in some families are more extreme than in other families. It is logical to expect that families living in more difficult circumstances (i.e., single parents, poverty, unemployment) may have more everyday stress than other families who are not in such circumstances, due to reduced time and resources with increased responsibilities.
  • With these increases in responsibilities but potential lack of resources with which to handle them, families may experience greater conflict both within and outside of the family environment.
  • Recent statistics have shown the following, which may result in increased stressors to families:
    • In 2004, only 69.7% of children in the United States were living with two parents, while 26.4% were living with one parent and 3.9% were not living with any parents.3
    • In 2004, 33.7% of children living with unmarried parents, 28.5% of children living with no parents, and 10.0% of children living with married parents were in families falling below the poverty line.3

  • Some studies have found that in families of children who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, family therapy may help relieve children's symptoms and help them have a quicker recovery from their individual disorder.2

What can I do if my child needs help coping with family-related issues?

  • If you feel as if your family-related issues are unable to be resolved within the family, and the conflicts are getting in the way of the family's and its' members' everyday routines and lives, your family may benefit from a family-related intervention from a professional. Click here to learn more about providers in your area who can assess and/or treat family related issues.If you are outside the central MS area, please click on the following link(s) to learn about community mental health resources in your area: http://www.dmh.state.ms.us/pdf/CYSDirectory-Arial-9-15-08.pdf, http://www.nami.org/MSTemplate.cfm?Site=NAMI_Mississippi
  • There are many different types of professionals who may be able to assist a family with resolving its conflicts. These include a mental health professional or religious figure, social worker, or other individuals who may be able to provide supportive and effective assistance in helping your family resolve its crisis.
  • It may be most helpful for your family to receive assistance from a mental health professional if there are one or more family members who also suffer from a mental disorder. In these cases, at the least, it will be very important for the family therapist to keep in close contact with the member's (or members') mental health professional to coordinate treatment to benefit all family members.

1Retrieved from http://www.aap.org/publiced/BK5_Family_Crisis.htm, February 19, 2009.
2Chamberlin, J. (2005). Family therapy enhances treatment for children's mental disorders. APA Monitor, 36, 62-64.
3Kreider, R. M. (2007). Living arrangements of children: 2004. Current Population Reports, P70-114. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.

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