Talking to Parents about Stuttering


Re: When only one parent is involved

From: Woody
Date: 10/10/00
Time: 5:49:36 AM
Remote Name:


Hi Lynn:

I don't have much to add to what you said. It is of course the best thing to have both parents involved for all the reasons that you said, but it is not wise to require the unwilling parent to attend. That produces an unwilling and resentful parent.

I do point out at the first session, when we are better able to get both parents, that the participation of both is very helpful, etc., etc. Sometimes, I have had parents alternate weeks, which I think works a little better than having only one come every week, but it introduces a kind of confusion at the same time.

If you get a chance to talk to the parent who doesn't want to come and can get into a real conversation with him (usually), which is not so easy to do, you can work on the resistance, that is, respect the resistance that he is showing and then explore it with him to see what is at the base of it. Sometimes the resistance will soften with this kind of work, but of course if the person never comes at all you can't do this.

The child will usually accept the parent's explanation completely because above all the child needs to preserve his or her sense that the parent cares. Often the child will defend the parent -- "Oh, he can't come; he's too busy." And I would make sure that I as the therapist did not challenge the child's excuses on behalf of the parent because that would undermine the child's belief that the parent cares about him.


Last changed: September 12, 2005