Parenting an Adolescent with Severe Emotional Difficulties – A Qualitative Study of Family Experiences with DBT-A
Parenting an adolescent with severe emotional difficulties is challenging, and research shows that when parents do not receive adequate support it can have adverse consequences for the parents, the adolescents, and their siblings. Dialectical behavioral therapy for adolescents (DBT-A) is a treatment method that has an increased focus on parental support, and by including parents in treatment DBT-A attempts to empower parents and families. The aim of this study was to explore the experience of parenting an adolescent with severe emotional difficulties, and how parents’ needs are accommodated by health care services in general, and DBT-A in particular. It is a qualitative study with a phenomenological approach utilizing a descriptive design. Semi-structured interviews were supplemented by graphic elicitation and conducted with participants individually (N=10). Data were analyzed following a thematic approach. Participant's experience of parenthood was dominated by fear, unpredictability, and pressure. They described having to take on tasks far above what they are capable of, which had direct consequences for their health and families. Parents express a need for support and assistance but describe a system with no systematic structure to include and help them. DBT-A seems to accommodate for parents' needs and facilitate for positive experiences more efficiently than other methods, and parents with DBT-A express a greater sense of control and optimism than those without. These findings show that parents who receive information, support, and guidance are more resilient to stress and have a higher sense of self-efficacy, which contributes to positive experiences and makes them less reliant on the health care system.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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