Once upon a time, there was a couple that lived in a beautiful house. One day they noticed that some of their door frames in the house were shifting and weren’t closing properly. They called in a door frame specialist, who worked all day and fixed the frames so the doors were working again. But a few days later, the frames started shifting again. Then the couple noticed that there were cracks in some places in their inside walls. They called in a wall specialist, who fixed the cracks and painted over them. But a few days later, the cracks started to re-appear.
One day, the couple had a friend over, who was a builder. They told their friend about the problems they were having with their doors and walls. The friend checked the house out and told them the doors and walls are not the problem; they are symptoms of the REAL problem, which was their house’s foundation was not stable. No matter how many times they fixed the doors or repaired the cracks, the house would shift until its foundation was stable.
In our world we often tend to blame children for problems. They have no power and, usually, no money, so they are an easy target. In my profession, we often look at children who are acting out as “broken doors” or “cracked walls” and spend years trying to “fix” them. But things won’t really change until the foundation is solid, and the foundation for children is their parents.
It’s pretty simple – 1) When children are insecure they tend to manifest it in their behavior (“act out”). 2) When parents are not communicating, not happy or in conflict, it exacerbates insecurity in children. We can send our children to years of therapy, punish them or try other behavioral techniques, take them to social skills groups, have them check in with the guidance officer at school, and even drug (oops, “medicate”) them. Sometimes things might seem better for a short period of time, just like the newly installed door will work for a little while. But the only way to address the issue is to repair the foundation (or, metaphorically, move to a new house). And the only ones who have the power to repair the foundation are the parents.