Family Connection Tips from a Charlotte, NC Therapist

  • The importance of family connection:

Family connection begins with the environment that parents create for their children. A home with healthy communication styles, warm and inviting interactions, consistency, and boundaries breeds ongoing connection. The attachment theory better explains in what ways the relationship with our primary caretakers can affect the family unit.

  • Attachment Theory
    • John Bowlby is the pioneer behind the attachment theory. His work has provided a deeper understanding of how children become attached to a primary caretaker. He described that a secure attachment develops from a caretaker meeting the child’s needs, providing warm and loving interactions, and a safe and predictable environment. When some or all of these are lacking, attachment is at risk of becoming insecure or disorganized. In which children are unable to regulate their emotions and form healthy social relationships.
  • What can interfere with the connection: The family unit’s environment can heavily affect the cohesion.
    • Trauma: The Oxford dictionary defines trauma as “a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.” The depth and effects of trauma are subjective to the individual. For example, two people both get into a life-threatening car accident. The first individual may struggle for several months entering into a vehicle or talking about the accident, while the second individual has a minimal change in behavior. This, too, can be applied to trauma within the family as often, there are unresolved generational trauma such as parent and child both being a victim of physical abuse.
  • Miscommunication: Communication can break down easily and often. Some of the most common communication barriers are assumptions of the other person’s thoughts, incorrectly reading non-verbals, not responding appropriately to the other’s information, and not active listening.
  • Technology: Technology is increasingly present in the home; however, with limited boundaries on its use, technology can impact the quality of positive interactions within the home.
  • How to maintain or regain family connection:
    • Planned/unplanned activities: Make time for one another both as a group and for each child. Activities can grow the relationship and the bond by planning enjoyable activities that involve one another’s interests. Examples of activities include:
      • Movie Night
      • Creating a relay race in the back yard
      • Pretend Play
      • Game Night
      • Family Dinners without technology
      • Therapy

There are times when deep resentment or challenging behaviors become too overwhelming. This is when family therapy can be an alternative to meeting these needs independently. Approaching family therapy early on before the situation becomes increasingly complex can improve the outcomes of treatment.

For more information and to contact Jasmine Colegrove, you can reach her if you are in the North Carolina area at [email protected] and 704-981-1170.

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