Children, Youth, Families & Schools, Nebraska Center for Research on



Paul R. Springer

Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Family Psychotherapy 15:4 (2004), pp. 89-93 doi: 10.1300/J085v15n04_07 Copyright © 2004 The Haworth Press, Inc. Used by permission.


Therapists often work with adolescents who are the centerpiece of the family attention because of anti-social behaviors that seem to be self-destructive. These parents often share stories of how their child is "special” and different from others. The parents believe that the unique traits of the child are causing their alienation from peers. The therapist is often told that the child deeply desires peer acceptance and is acting negatively to garner this acceptance. The parents are usually focused on the betterment of the child and have specific examples of how the adolescent is ruining his or her life or causing himself or herself needless pain. The parents see the child's potential but seem unable to help their child see his or her special qualities.