In recent decades, our country has seen a steady surge in unconventional households. In fact, almost a quarter of children in the United States live with only one parent, which is over three times the rest of the world’s 7 percent average. While it’s important to acknowledge and accept the diversity of the modern family, it’s also beneficial to take a deeper look at the many positives a traditional family structure can offer.
The therapists at CFTS have witnessed firsthand the power of a strong, conventional family system. It’s a key component in steering adolescents away from depression, addiction, PTSD and other issues. A new study from Princeton University supported this, stating that “most scholars now agree that children raised by two biological parents in a stable marriage do better than children in other family forms across a wide range of outcomes.”
Seeing The Impact of Home Life Firsthand
That’s why we make it our priority to take a holistic, family-oriented approach to therapy. Before we focus on solving the individual’s problems, we must first determine whether their home life is a factor in causing them.
It’s no secret that a child growing up in a safe neighborhood with extracurricular activities and a trustworthy group of friends is less susceptible to abusing drugs, joining gangs, or developing severe mental disorders. Unfortunately, however, 57 percent of households with married parents remain well above the poverty line compared to only 21 percent of single-parent households.
This could explain why the most reliable indicator of delinquency within a community is the proportion of single-parent families, according to the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. “Single parenthood inevitably reduces the amount of time a child has in interaction with someone who is attentive to the child’s needs, including the provision of moral guidance and discipline.”
Taking a Wholistic Approach
This, among other reasons, is why CFTS feels so passionately about restoring family structure.
For instance, if someone seeking therapy was struggling with severe depression and alcoholism, most counseling centers would prescribe an antidepressant and send the patient to rehab, placing all the focus on the individual. The Complete Family Treatment Center difference means never turning a blind eye to their living situation as a whole.
Through this, we’re able to provide a deeper, more effective level of therapy. The struggling child or adolescent can work to overcome their issues through family sessions on top of their one-on-one sessions. If mom and dad are on the brink of divorce, our couples counseling can serve as the glue that holds the family together. At the end of the day, our mission is to restore caring, cooperative support systems that guide children to prosperity rather than delinquency.
Strengthening the Family Structure
Our intention here is not to say that someone cannot achieve success without the “nuclear family” structure — mom, dad and kids living happily under one roof. From Charlie Chaplin to Oprah Winfrey, many influential people have channeled their struggles into fuel for creating a better future. We also recognize the fact that millions of so-called “typical” families are enduring their fair share of abuse, addiction, mental illness and trauma.
However, our personal experience backed by multiple longitudinal studies from trusted institutions leads us to believe that a present, dependable family unit is a primary factor in setting children up for rewarding lives. We want to restore the love between parents, settle discord among siblings, and do whatever it takes to ensure our patients’ situations at home are conducive to building a bright future.