Everyone has family issues and problems. The vast majority of family issues and problems are very minor, ranging from spousal disagreements to rebellious teenagers to estranged adult children. A few family issues and problems are more serious, ranging from financial difficulties to lazy and ungovernable children to mental illness. A few family issues and problems, like spousal abuse, require legal intervention. What kind of help family problems need is often dependent on the type of issue families are facing. I divide family issues and problems into three classes, based on the form of intervention they need.
The first class of family issues and problems are ones that require little to no help. Rebellious teenagers are a classic example. Assuming they are not violent, rebellion is a healthy stage for teens and even some young adults to go through. Teenage years are when individuals first assert their identities independent from their parents, and often experiment with various identities. Sometimes, a therapist may help with some issues, but parents should know this is a temporary phase that needs no serious family help.
The second class of family issues and problems are more serious, and require active intervention or tough love. Take adult children who live at home. There is nothing wrong with an unemployed adult who lives with family to save cash, or to get between jobs. When it does become a problem is when adult children begin freeloading on you, and never expects to support himself. This is a form of emotional and financial abuse, and should be addressed sternly.
The final family issues and problems class is one that requires legal action. Spousal abuse is never okay, and should be dealt with through judicial means. The same applies for ungovernable children.
So how can you seek family help before legal action? A therapist can help at an individual level. For a broader perspective, seek a social worker or mediator for advice on family issues.
Every family has family issues and problems. The trick is knowing when they are serious or not. If they are serious, or have the potential to become serious, seek professional help for family issues and problems.