Are You Concerned About Your Child’s Behavior And Emotional Wellbeing?
Is your child struggling to manage emotions, relate to others or exhibiting intense worries and fear? Has your child recently gone through a major life transition, such as a divorce, change of school, introduction to a new sibling or a move? Does your child seem easily agitated or irritable and throw age-inappropriate tantrums? Maybe your child has become aggressive toward others and is lashing out or fighting with other children. Or, perhaps your child is suddenly prone to crying spells, has withdrawn from friends and family members or is complaining of physical discomforts, such as headaches, stomachaches or other pain. Are you worried about your child being picked on, concerned about a drop in grades or on edge about what each day will bring? Do you wish you could determine if your child is just going through a phase or if his or her challenging behaviors and emotions are indicative of a deeper problem?
Watching your child struggle with difficult emotions and exhibit concerning behaviors can be an overwhelming, confusing and even scary experience. When children act out or withdraw, it’s not unusual for parents to feel out of control themselves as they struggle to understand and manage their kids. You may feel rushed in the morning, worry about your child when he or she is away from you, and then feel immediately overwhelmed again once your child returns to your care. Maybe you just feel worried, exhausted and alone.
Childhood Struggles Are More Common Than You May Think
It’s not uncommon for children to go through difficult periods of time or developmental stages in which they act out, withdraw or exhibit other unusual or challenging behaviors. However, while most children could benefit from child counseling during these tough times, there are some children who truly need it – especially if they’re dealing with depression, anxiety or struggling to manage their emotions.
Major life transitions can also be particularly difficult for children, and many need a unique place, like therapy, to express thoughts and feelings. Most children will struggle with something at some point during their childhoods. However, if your child’s concerning behavior is becoming a pattern of one problem after the next or he or she has developed a negative view of the world, getting support early can help to provide insight, relief and a strong foundation for your child’s future.
Child Counseling Can Provide You And Your Child With Strategies And Support
When everyone – parent, child, therapist and teachers (if needed) – works together to better understand your child, collaborates to set realistic goals and your child attends therapy regularly, child counseling can be extremely effective and lead to swift and successful results.
Through age-appropriate approaches, such as play and art therapies, I can identify, explore and address the issues and possible underlying causes that are driving your child’s difficulties. Once we determine what’s going on for your child, I can help him or her begin to communicate feelings more effectively and understand and slow down his or her anger or withdrawal response. In sessions, I can also help your child understand that he or she has the ability to impact his or her environment in positive ways, which can help to quiet tantrums and other negative attention seeking behaviors. Together, your child and I will talk about his or her strengths, employ tools to build on those strengths and set goals for school, home life and peer relationships. In time, your child can develop more personal resiliency and learn healthy ways to handle difficult emotions.
I can also work with you on the hopes and goals you have for your child. I can provide you with strategies and tools that can improve the connection you share with your child and help you to best support your child in all aspects of his or her life so your child can be successful across the board. In times of transition, such as divorce or blending families, I may recommend family counseling. Family counseling offers all individuals in your family system the opportunity to share their experiences, collectively set goals, and experience improved communication, connection and relief.
With help, it is possible for your child to experience relief and success. Your child can feel like he or she is an important part of his or her family and community. You child can begin to better understand expectations and consequences, build healthier connections, and overcome anxiety, trauma and other challenges. Therapy can help both you and your child gain a sense of hope, respond to difficult situations with more patience and integrity and instill healthy confidence as you move forward.
You may believe that your child could benefit from counseling, but still have questions or concerns…
I think that child counseling could help, but I’m concerned about how much time and money it will take.
It can be helpful to think about child counseling as an investment in your child’s current and future wellbeing – as well as your own and your family’s. When one member of a family suffers, the others typically do as well. And, it is possible to tailor the therapy process to fit your child and family’s needs by setting both short and long-term goals and providing you with regular updates. Getting help early is a proactive step toward preventing your child’s behaviors or emotional state from worsening. It’s my goal to make therapy for your child an accessible, valuable and worthwhile resource for you.
How do I know if this is a phase that my child will grow out of or if something more serious is occurring?
Therapy helps to more quickly determine what your child is struggling with, what he or she needs and how to manage those issues. I can generally give you an immediate sense of whether or not your child’s behaviors are indicative of something serious, and will begin constructing a clear treatment plan right away.
Being proactive about getting help can help to curb concerning behaviors before they become patterns or worsen. While what your child is experiencing may be a phase, if the behaviors and challenging emotions have been going on for some time, it’s best not to wait until the problems become more severe. I can provide an assessment and offer resources and strategies that you can begin utilizing immediately. Sometimes even the smallest actions we take will lead to significant shifts.
What if my child refuses to go to counseling?
If your child is struggling, it’s important that he or she gets the proper support and guidance needed for healthy development. You may try gently explaining to your child that counseling is something you are going to try out, that many other children find it fun and helpful, and that the purpose of therapy is to increase their own happiness. It may ease your mind to know that once children get into my office, they usually find therapy to be a fun, supportive and positive experience.
I invite you to call me for a free phone consultation or to schedule your first appointment to see how therapy can help you and your child. I’m happy to discuss your child’s specific situation and needs and to answer any questions you have about child counseling and my practice.