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Will Family Therapy Work If Daughter Does NOT WANT It?

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answered 05:01 PM EST, Wed July 27, 2011
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My 14 year old daughter and I are not getting along very well at all. It seems like no matter what I say to her, all I get in return is attitude back. Eventually, I get angry and act angry with her and then her attitude gets worse and then off we go down our daily downward spiral of dysfunction.

I know that I’ve got to be the one that instigates change here, to be the grown-up, but it seems like we’ve reached an impasse and loving communication between us is no longer possible. I love her and want the best for her and I know we need to do a little better.

I think what would help is getting into a room with an impartial third-party who can help us to work through some of our differences and hopefully work towards a better relationship like the one we used to have. I am eager to get us some family counseling and but the problem is my daughter. She says she won’t go and when I say that she has to, she says that it’ll be a waste of time and money because she won’t participate.

So my questions is, does therapy work when one of the people involved does not want to do it and refuses to participate?

Sally Connolly Says...

If one person changes their steps in the dance, the other person can no longer dance in the same way.

While it is certainly better and easier if both people are willing to work on making changes in a relationship, that is not always the case. Teens are often difficult. Mothers and their teen daughters historically have challenging relationships. I would encourage you to go without her and seek new ways to be with her as her mother. As you change, she may as well and may then be willing to meet this person who has made a difference in your lives.

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