Family Issues

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Families come in all shapes and sizes, from nuclear families and extended families to biological families and families of choice. Your family might include your parents, siblings, grandparents, spouse, children, and others. While the idea of family means different things to everyone, for many of us, it can be a valuable source of love, support, and security.

However, family relationships can also be sources of pain and stress. In part because they mean so much to us, relationships with family members can be among the most difficult to navigate.

What are family issues?

Family issues refer to the point when conflict becomes especially intense or or frequent, to the point that it's interrupting your day-to-day life.

Some degree of conflict within families is normal (and even, to a point, healthy), but when it's overwhelming, it can lead to symptoms of common mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.

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How common are family issues?

Because family issues vary so much and are deeply personal, it’s hard to say for sure how common they are.

However, evidence suggests that various types of conflict within families are fairly common overall. For example, one study on tension in relationships between parents and adult children found that 94% of participants reported at least a little tension in their parent/child relationships. Family issues also tend to come up around the balance between parenting and professional pursuits. The Pew Research Center reports that in nuclear families in which a mother and father both work full-time, both partners often feel concerned that they don’t spend enough time with their children and/or partner.  

These examples are only a small subset of the many kinds of family issues you might experience; whatever your challenges are, there are likely countless other people facing similar issues with their families.

What are some symptoms of family issues?

Family issues are different for everyone, and people vary widely in their emotional and psychological responses to these issues. That said, some of the most common symptoms include:

Different types of family issues

Again, issues in families come in countless forms, and this is by no means an exhaustive list. However, some especially common forms of family issues include:

What to do if you’re experiencing family issues

If you’re experiencing any form of stress, conflict, or danger in a family relationship, you have several options. Some of them include:

How to look for in a therapist for family issues

Seek a therapist who specializes in working with your particular family issue

Therapists offer a number of different approaches to treating family issues. Some approaches involve just one person attending sessions, while others might require two or more family members to attend.

Common options include:

Know what questions you need to ask potential therapists

These questions may prove helpful when interviewing potential therapists:

Prioritize personal fit

While personality fit is a nuanced factor, it is critical to your success in therapy. Multiple studies have revealed the importance of this factor, often referred to as “therapeutic alliance.”

On your initial phone call with the therapist, ask yourself:

Additionally, consider these factors:

Consider cost, location, and scheduling

Therapy will only work if it works for you. Before making an appointment, ask yourself honestly:

Find therapists specializing in family issues near you

Find therapists who specialize in family issues and conflicts on Zencare, below. Search by insurance, fees, and location; watch therapist introductory videos; and book free initial calls to find the right therapist for you!

New to therapy? Learn about how to find a therapist here.