As a parent you want the best for your children. With that, you may be concerned or have questions about certain behaviors they exhibit and how to ensure they get the help they need.
It is important to be aware of warning signs that your child may be struggling. You can play a critical role in knowing when your child may need help.
Some of the behaviors to look for include:
- Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
- Seriously trying to harm or kill himself or herself, or making plans to do so
- Experiencing sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart or fast breathing
- Getting in many fights or wanting to hurt others
- Showing severe out-of-control behavior that can hurt oneself or others
- Not eating, throwing up, or using laxatives to make himself or herself lose weight
- Having intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
- Experiencing extreme difficulty controlling behavior, putting himself or herself in physical danger or causing problems in school
- Using drugs or alcohol repeatedly
- Having severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
- Showing drastic changes in behavior or personality
If you notice any of these behaviors, it may help to consult with a school counselor, school nurse, mental health provider, or another health care professional.
Because children often can’t understand difficult situations on their own, you should pay particular attention if they experience:
- Loss of a loved one
- Divorce or separation of their parents
- Any major transition—new home, new school, etc.
- Traumatic life experiences, like living through a natural disaster
- Teasing or bullying
- Difficulties in school or with classmates
How can I introduce my child to the idea of counseling?
Some children may be hesitant about talking to a therapist or coming in to therapy all together. Don’t worry; this can be expected. However, helping your child better understand the process and the many benefits of talking with a counselor can definitely help. In general, providing an explanation that is concrete, positive, and not overly detailed can be helpful. Additionally, you may wish to describe the therapist as an expert in helping children feel better and be happier day to day. If you are having concerns about getting your child to come in for their first appointment, please let us know. We can give you specific pointers on how to make your child more comfortable based on his or her individual situation.
How can a therapist help my child?
By engaging in child therapy and play therapy with a trusted and compassionate TherapyWorks therapist, your child will have the opportunity to explore, express, and better understand his or her feelings in a safe and comfortable environment, while also learning new skills to better manage responses to life’s ups and downs. Essentially, the relationship your child builds with his or her counselor can promote positive change by providing invaluable opportunities to learn and grow.
How to make the counseling experience a success
Parents play a vital role in the success and outcome of child therapy. Meeting regularly with you during your child’s treatment gives us an opportunity to talk about the progress being made and helps us create a more effective plan moving forward. Often, parent coaching is advised to help you understand how to best support and guide your child outside of the therapy sessions. In addition, family counseling may be a valuable component that can enhance your child’s counseling experience.