Why Is Parent-Child Interaction Therapy Important?
PCIT, or parent-child interaction therapy, is a family-oriented, behavior-based therapy for young children with behavioral and relational problems, as well as for parents who are unable to connect with their children. PCIT is specifically designed to improve parent-child relationships through interaction. This type of therapy reinforces and strengthens bonds between children and parents, and also teaches parents more positive and effective parenting techniques. It’s important to know that adjusting behaviors among parents and children can not only lead to stronger family relationships, but to better overall relationships with friends and future partners.
The need for parent-child interaction therapy often occurs when a certain disconnect takes place in the family. This can be anything from divorce, abuse, unhealthy parenting, and more. A child can develop certain behavioral problems if exposed to traumatic events, whether at home or school, and the relationship with their parents can deteriorate. Whichever the case, strengthening the child-parent bond is very important, especially at an early age. PCIT sessions often involve both parents and the child, one parent and a child, or just the parent, if they only wish to learn certain techniques to apply at home.
At DaVinci Collaborative, we continuously work with parents and children through parent-child interaction therapy, and always enjoy seeing positive results thanks to our hard work. And on that note, we decided to detail why PCIT is important, which are the signs that you and your child might need additional guidance, and of course, what are the specific benefits of parent-child interaction therapy.
What are the signs you and your child need PCIT?
One of the telltale signs you and your child might need parent-child interaction therapy is a sudden change in your relationship with them. This can occur for many different reasons, however, if you notice that getting through to your child is becoming more and more difficult, it may be time to seek the help of a professional.
Usually, when children are exhibiting behavioral problems, parents might try disciplinary methods to correct these behaviors, like punishment or grounding, or even positive reinforcement. They can also try talking about mental health, but if all these fail, we advise you to take the additional steps towards healing your relationship with them.
As parents, oftentimes we end up frustrated with ourselves if our child is not cooperating after multiple attempts. Make sure you keep yourself in check and don’t lash out at your child. Children can pick up on stress and frustration, and can even start mimicking your negative behavior, too, making things even worse.
If your child exhibits some of these signs, it’s an indication they might need PCIT:
- Frequent anger and frustration
- Temper tantrums
- Defiant behavior
- Arguing, swearing and fighting
- Constant attention-seeking through bad behavior
- Power struggles with parents
- Behavior problems at school (eg: bullying)
- Low self-esteem
A child with behavioral issues can be hard to deal with, but here are a few examples that parents might need PCIT, too. Parents who might benefit from PCIT include those who:
- Have limited experience with children
- Lack emotional intelligence
- Have limited support (single parents)
- Feel overwhelmed by their child’s bad behavior
- Start to develop resentment for their child
- Experienced trauma in their lives and haven’t dealt with it
Getting to the root of the problem might be difficult, however, if you take the first step, results will follow shortly after.
What are the benefits of parent-child interaction therapy?
One of the most important benefits is repairing the parent-child relationship. This happens throughout several PCIT sessions, which focus on establishing, or re-establishing, warmth in your relationship. The sessions progress from making both parties feel calm and secure, to later sessions that challenge both parties to face root issues. Parents can also learn techniques to help keep their children in check if any behavioral issues arise in the future. Communication and language skills are also things you can improve on during these sessions, as well as different methods of keeping calm and remaining confident.
So, to wrap it up, here are some of the highlighted benefits:
- Better parent-child interactions
- Better communication
- Smoother interactions with family members
- Increased positivity in you and your child
- Reduced negative behavior in your child
Do you and your child need parent-child interaction therapy?
PCIT is an evidence-based treatment program, and you can rest assured that you will see positive results if you commit to the program. If you and your child are having difficulty getting along, and if you tried multiple disciplinary methods and failed, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. At DaVinci, we are a group of trained mental health professionals who work with children everyday, helping them become a better version of themselves, as well as providing them the necessary support to achieve academic success.