The Benefits of Seeing a Family Counselor

The Benefits of Seeing a Family Counselor

Information overload – two words that describe today’s world, with all the available resources online on just about anything under the sun.

Want to learn how to be a better Christian? Or how to improve your marriage? Want to be more productive at school/work? There’s a flurry of articles, websites, and experts available within arm’s reach that can get quite overwhelming.

While this information age is a great thing for this generation, the negative side is that it also brings about an unrealistic amount of pressure to produce the perfect kids. We know that this is literally impossible, but it’s still easy to get sucked into the idea that somehow it’s attainable. This creates big problems.

Priorities: Balancing Family Roles, Demands, and Contentment

How do you solve this crisis then? How do you find that delicate balance for all the various roles you play, remain content and grounded, with all the conflicting messages you are subject to? You need to prioritize.

God. He needs to be the number one priority in your life. Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” It’s important to stay grounded in Christ first and foremost. This will keep your feet on the right path. Make your relationship with Him a top priority and let your children see this so that they, too, may take after you in prioritizing a godly life.

Marriage. It is often said that the most important decision you’ll ever make in your life, second only to surrendering your life to Christ, is the choice of a spouse. Choosing a godly spouse will enable you to raise your children in the way of the Lord and leave them a godly heritage.

This, in turn, encourages them to do the same for their own children. In effect, a stable, loving, godly relationship with your spouse has the power to influence multiple generations. So after prioritizing God the need to prioritize your spouse comes next.

This means putting your spouse before your children. If that means taking a break regularly from your parenting duties, go ahead. Make sure your children see you modeling a healthy marriage relationship early on. Here are a few ways to do that:

  1. Set aside some time daily one-on-one time with your spouse and teach your children that this is your special time together and should not be interrupted.
  2. Intentionally schedule date nights – away from the kids.
  3. Plan a romantic weekend getaway with your spouse every once in a while. Arrange childcare with family or friends who may be able to care for the kids in your absence.


Boundaries are important. They provide guardrails for you and your family to know when it’s okay to relax and let loose, and when you’re dangerously close to crossing a line. Boundaries are essential for you as a person, as a spouse, and as a parent. It helps you protect what you value.

Set boundaries by taking care of yourself. You won’t be able to handle all the demands that life throws your way if you don’t prioritize your self-care. Your children need to see you taking care of yourself.

Whether it’s a healthy diet, exercise, deepening your relationship with God, spending time with friends, with your husband or precious time alone, let them see that you take care of you too.

Set boundaries with technology and social media use for yourself and your family. Advancements in technology have enabled people to be more productive and organized.

But if misused, it also has the power to drive a wedge between family members as you focus on your things and forget to enjoy each other’s company. So put limits where necessary in order to maintain healthy relationships. Have designated tech-free times to just enjoy one another.

Social media has many great uses – it helps you connect with people you may not get to see regularly and helps builds relationships; it also has its negative aspects- it can lead to unhealthy comparisons between your own life and what others project of their own lives.

Social media boundaries are necessary to strengthen trust, so it is important to establish guidelines with your spouse regarding what’s appropriate and acceptable when it comes to interacting with others on social media.

Children need to be aware of such boundaries as well, young and easily impressionable as they are. Talk to them about appropriate social media use so they will learn to use it in a way that benefits them, and avoid its pitfalls.

As a parent, you already know how important boundaries are for children. One mistake that some parents tend to make is not setting boundaries for activities and overstimulating their children, for example, swimming practice early in the morning, squeeze in a second language class after class right before violin practice, tennis early morning the next day, a third language class and drum lessons before dinner. That’s just too much.

Decide with your spouse how many activities you will allow your children to be in. Let the child choose for him/herself within the boundaries that you’ve set. When they know they have the freedom to move within these boundaries, they are able to relax and become less anxious. It’s important to remember that it’s actually okay for children to be bored at times, so don’t overschedule your kids.

Helicopter Parenting

Helicopter parenting, a term coined for the style of parenting where parents are overly focused on their kids, can cause children to be anxious. Focusing too much on them may also mean that other areas of your life, like your relationship with your spouse, with God and self-care, are prone to suffer.

Here are five signs of helicopter parenting as identified by author Meg Meeker, M.D.:

  1. Whenever there’s a problem, your child calls you. Every single time.
  2. Your child has a difficult time handling disappoint.
  3. Your child does not appreciate the value of hard work and tends to look for shortcuts.
  4. When your child has homework, you end up doing it. You also have a tendency to advocate on her behalf when you call the teacher.
  5. You spend a lot of time researching the best everything for your child – best preschool, best vitamins, best organic food.

Hal Runkel, the author of Scream Free Parenting, suggests that parents allow their children to experience natural consequences of their mistakes. Don’t always come to their rescue so they will learn to avoid these mistakes in the future.

It’s easier said than done though, as it can be instinctual for a parent to want to spare their children from pain. As someone once said, “Good decisions come from experience, experience comes from making bad decisions.”

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” This verse teaches that parents should begin teaching their children the right way as early as possible, and not wait until they’re older when habits would’ve already been formed. You need to be consistent in the way you raise your young kids for them to catch what you’re teaching.

Allow them room to discover their own abilities and make mistakes. Don’t do anything for them that they can already do for themselves, lest you communicate lack of trust in their abilities.

For instance, if you tell your child to pick up after himself, but he doesn’t obey even after repeatedly telling him, you may have the urge to clean up after him. However, this teaches him that if he delays following you or doing his chores, you will end up doing it for him. So as long as it is possible, hold yourself back. Remember that delayed obedience is disobedience.

Some families still wake up their high school-age children to go to school. These kids were not trained early on to wake up by themselves, and so they face the consequences of not doing so.

One mom was even monitoring her collegiate child’s schedules, assignments and deadlines online, devising a plan on how the child should study and meet all these deadlines. In both scenarios, the children have not been taught nor encouraged to do things independently, and this presents a big problem for both the parents and the children.

If this sounds familiar to you, you need to take a step back. Calm your own anxieties. Teach your child well, and then trust his/her child’s ability to take care of him/herself. By doing so, you are showing your child that you have confidence in him/her, thereby giving him/her room to mature into a fully-functioning adult.

Right now you might be wondering why or how parents end up over-parenting. One major cause is comparison with other children. With the widespread use of social media and technology, it’s very easy for parents to compare their children with the parenting style and children of other parents.

This can lead to a tremendous amount of guilt, discontent, and anxiety. You begin to feel that you’re not good enough, you’re not doing it right, or that your kids would be better off with this or that. It’s not easy to overcome this kind of parenting guilt. But here are four ways, according to Christy Wright of Business Boutique:

  1. Remember that you are not responsible for everything, so don’t be a martyr. Let the pieces fall where they may.
  2. Give yourself some much-needed affirmation. How you spend your time – at work, with your spouse, with your child, are all important. But the most critical time you could spend is with God.
  3. Keep in mind that you are not perfect, and a perfect parent is not what your kids need. Kids need parents who are present emotionally and physically. To be this for them, you need to give yourself grace. Take time out if necessary, and enjoy your marriage with your spouse.
  4. Let your kids see that you are taking care of yourself. Let them see that you enjoy life as a parent, a spouse, a whole person. Make sure that you reflect the truth of God’s word in Psalm 127:3, “Children are a blessing from the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward.”

How a Family Counselor Can Help

It is definitely easier said than done. It’s no small feat to get out of this cycle, particularly if this has been a long-time struggle for you and your family. If that’s the case, a professional Christian family counselor can help you get back on the right track.

There is absolutely no shame in seeking the services of a family counselor if it will better your family. Seeking professional help may be one of the best things you can do, as it will enable you to become not just a better parent, but a better spouse and follower of Jesus too.

Reaching out is a sign of strength, not weakness. If you think you could benefit from this kind of help, reach out today. We would love to have the opportunity to work with you in helping you and your family work through the issues that keep you from living the abundant life God has promised.

“Digital life”, Courtesy of Ewan Robertson,, CC0 License; “Pause,” courtesy of Charles Nadeau, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2.0); “Helicopter”, Courtesy of Marc Wieland,; CC0 License; “Shame”, Courtesy of Sevenheads,, CC0 License


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