After a summer hiatus, Kelly and I are back to this series on marriage and family life from a Bowen Family Systems Perspective. The episode below is about parenting. We explore the idea of an emotional triangle in parenting–and the idea that what we do with our children is part of a much larger dynamic in our families. Whether we live in adoptive or step or biological families, whether parents are married or divorced, or whether we are grandparents raising our grandchildren, the emotional process of a triangle applies.

Bowen was able to observe a kind of anxious focus on children by parents, experts, and society alike, and he believed this anxious focus was perhaps the most significant contributor to how certain family patterns repeat themselves generation to generation. He was able to observe that less is more in parenting in direct opposition to today’s hyper focus on children. He saw this anxious focus as a way to dissipate the conflict or tension in a marriage to another relationship–to the parent/child relationship. Avoiding topics and avoiding taking a stand with spouse can bubble over into interactions with a child. As Kelly states in the video below, “If you are looking for real, solid, lasting change, then the parents are the ones who are going to have to get a hold of themselves.” So often, in our anxiety, we focus on the children, and we just can’t get around to dealing with our selves in our marriages. Our urges to fight, to run, or to freeze up can be so very powerful.

Have a listen below and let us know what you think in the comments.

You can find the Bowen site that we mentioned here.

The Chicago site is here.

Thanks so much and we hope this is helpful to you and your family.