Mike came to Brahma House headstrong and unhappy. He and his mother had moved here from Korea, and he quickly became a typical American teen. He wanted the freedom to do things with his friends, just like other kids his age, and continually challenged the limits his mother set for him.

What he saw as a quest for independence, she saw as disrespect for her wishes and dereliction of duty to his family.

Added to this stress, the single mother worked at two jobs to support herself and her son, and she needed his help to keep the household running smoothly.

The clash of cultures led to a clash of wills.

Mike and his mother had been trying to work out their differences during weekly sessions with a family therapist. But when the temperamental teen locked his mother out of the house, it was clear the counseling wasn’t working.

At Brahma House, Somerset Home’s short-term residential crisis intervention program, Mike attended the in-house school, did his assigned chores and participated in recreational activities. He also met with his psychotherapist, Loretta, to talk about how frustrated and angry he was with his mother for not understanding the turmoil he was in, trying to follow his Korean mother’s rules and still fit in with his peers.

The next step was to help mother and son talk to each other about their needs and expectations during family therapy sessions. Before long, Loretta was able to get the two to communicate like never before. Mike’s mother was finally able to understand the conflict he was living with, as well as his need for positive attention from her.

And Mike was able to understand that if he got a part-time job to help his mother financially, she would have more time to spend with him.

Loretta was able to help them find common ground, and a few months later, Mike and his mother were happily reunited.

DATE

March 18, 2009

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