Over the years, in my practice, I have witnessed the longstanding effects of unresolved trauma in both younger and older adults. For some families, the parents just aren’t sure that their children might need psychological assistance while others may experience barriers to accessing appropriate care. Sometimes therapy isn’t considered as a viable option because parents may not realize how helpful child therapists can be in helping set up their children for better and brighter futures. And let’s admit it, “therapy” is a culturally daunting word wrought with baggage and stigma.
As a parent you have spent months, or even years, trying to control or manage your child’s behaviors to no avail. You may feel like you have failed in some way, but that’s not true. Making the wise choice to take action and get help for your little one is the most caring and healing thing you can offer them.
Sometimes children exhibit problem behavior and emotional challenges that are of particular concern to parents and guardians. Early intervention is the key to potentially preventing more serious mental health issues in the future and can help foster a deeper, more communicative bond between a family. Identifying the problem and seeking professional support is the key to fostering a healthier child who may be experiencing emotional difficulties.
It can be difficult to decide whether or not your child may need support for behavioral or mental health issues. One of the most common indicators that your child may be in trouble is problematic behavior. This may include behaviors observed at home and/or at school.
For the most part, young children haven’t yet developed the language to adequately describe and express their feelings. This can often leave parents feeling like they’re in the dark about what’s going on with their children. Here are some indicators that your child’s behavior might require professional attention:
- Your child displays frequent aggression towards people and/or animals
- Your child frequently loses their temper
- S/he destroys property
- S/he blames others for their mistakes
- S/he refuses to obey rules
- S/he routinely skips school
- Bed wetting (especially alarming in post-potty age children)
- Changes in your child’s sleep or appetite
- Your child routinely stays out late past curfew
- S/he has stolen property
- Your child has ongoing difficulty in social situations, maintaining work or staying in school
If you observe these behaviors in your child, do not be afraid to ask for help. Seek out a local therapist or professional counselor who specializes in working with children. They will work with your child to help them embrace and develop age-appropriate behavior and help them understand the impact their behavior has on others.
For more information on child and adolescent mental health you can visit this page by the National Institute on Mental Health.