Sunday, August 3, 2014

Building Resilience in Response to the Challenges of Today’s Families

by Kathleen Krol, MSS, LCSW, RPT-S

Being a parent and raising a family has never been easy. Today’s parents, like those of past
generations, face many challenges. Whereas, some parenting issues have been around for some time, today’s modern world presents many unique, complex challenges of its own. What are these challenges and how can a family be resilient in the face of them? This article will explore some options.

There has been for some time an explosion of knowledge readily available at one’s fingertips, with everyone and anyone giving advice on how to effectively parent and improve one’s relationships. Dr. Phil is a well-known name whose business is offering this advice. As part of this trend, many people are also diagnosing children now, so any child with behavior problems must have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or be Oppositional Defiant and need medication. As a parent, how do you sort through what information is valid and going to be beneficial to your child/teen and what will be detrimental and harmful?

Advances in technology not only bombard us with information but our children as well. The world of children and teens often revolves around this technology, connecting through Facebook, Twitter, and chat rooms, making them vulnerable to cyber bullying and exposing them to the latest unhealthy fads like “cinnamon” and self-harming sites. Parents may find it challenging to know how to connect with their teen who may prefer constantly texting with friends – or find it hard to find stimulating enough activities for a child hooked on videos and games.

Even if you are fortunate not to have these concerns, there are still the typical parenting issues that arise at different developmental stages such as sibling rivalry, school separation anxiety, peer pressure and bullying. Or perhaps an adjustment to the addition of a new family member, changes with home or school, family separations, divorce or becoming a blended family.

Parents may also feel challenged by how not to repeat what they didn’t like about how they were parented or find it difficult to handle well-intended but unwanted feedback from extended family members. Yes, being a parent and raising a family has never been easy and still isn’t!

Wait, there is hope! Resilience in the face of challenges is something you do possess! Resilience in dealing with these many challenges involves trusting in yourself, recognizing what has got you through past obstacles, using experience as a learning opportunity, levering the resources and strengths of your family, accessing your support system, and, most importantly, patience and kindness with yourself when you feel like you have failed.

Resilience also includes knowing when you don’t have the answer, recognizing the need for support, guidance or expert advice, and taking the steps necessary to get the help you need. The Resiliency Center can provide the support, guidance and expert advice families need to feel resilient again – through practitioners who offer counseling, educational and holistic interventions. Our practitioners are genuine, caring, and really committed to a strengths-based approach to helping parents and their families.

Practitioners can help you narrow down and implement strategies that will work most effectively for you as a parent or couple, assist you in identifying family patterns, and helping to normalize your experience. They can support you and your family through the process of transition and change and assist you and your child or teen in managing problems through solution-oriented outcomes and coping skills. Our wellness education programs and community offerings will teach you how to better take care of yourself, whether as a parent, partner or both.

The family-oriented services offered at The Resiliency Center include: family therapy, child and teen counseling, Play-Family Therapy, teen groups, parent coaching, and mindful parenting classes. For new parents, mom’s groups and infant massage education classes are offered.  Couples in the early stages of relationship formation may find premarital counseling beneficial. For relationship transitions, we offer pre-baby counseling, couples counseling to renew your relationship, as well as counseling on navigating the difficulty of separation and divorce. A divorce support group offers community and strategies for resilience. If you are seeking overall life satisfaction, informative and restorative workshops or classes are offered periodically along with regularly scheduled classes like Qi Gong, meditation, and laughter yoga. We look forward to supporting you on your journey, wherever you are.

This article was written by Kathleen Krol, LCSW, RPT-S, who is an independent practitioner at the Resiliency Center with over eleven years post-graduate training and experience. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Registered Play Therapist/Supervisor with specialization in Contextual Family Therapy, Play Therapy, Sand Tray Therapy and EMDR (for anxiety, self-esteem and trauma issues).  She offers individualized assessment of a parent/family needs, practical solutions and interventions, parent coaching, family therapy and individual child and teen therapy. For a free personalized consultation to see if her services would be a good fit, contact her at or 215-289-3101, #1.