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Does my child need therapy?

Does my child need therapy?

Written by David Kellner

It's normal for children to go through periods of emotional and behavioral ups and downs. Most parents will readily testify that raising children is not always predictable and the responses from children to any given circumstance could range from outsized to underwhelming. 

But, you may have found yourself wondering, in observation of your child’s behavior, "Is this normal? Does this fit what I should expect?” As parents, we want to ensure that our kids are healthy -  socially, emotionally and physically. However, you might notice behaviors or interactions along the way that create questions around their health and development. This is where the addition of professional help might be useful.

If you notice any of the following signs in your child, it may be beneficial to consider therapy:

  1. Persistent sadness, anxiety, or worry: If your child seems consistently down or anxious, this may be a sign of a mental health issue that could be helped with therapy. Anxiety and depression are measured by the extent to which they interfere with your child’s ability to function on a daily basis. If your child struggles with the demands of home and school and consistently fails to meet the expectations you have deemed reasonable, additional support might be necessary.
  2. Difficulty managing emotions: If your child has difficulty managing their emotions, such as frequent tantrums or outbursts, a closer look should be taken. Sometimes you might find that your child responds consistently more intensely to situations that you might have expected, and therapy can help teach them how to regulate their emotions in a healthy way.
  3. Changes in sleep or eating habits: Significant changes in sleep or eating habits may be a sign of underlying emotional or mental health issues. Our minds and bodies are intricately connected, and anxiety or depression could be expressed in physical symptoms. A good example includes persistent stomach issues, where medical issues have been ruled out. Therapy could help address the underlying issues to return to healthy sleep and eating patterns.
  4. Behavioral problems: If your child is frequently getting into trouble at school or at home,  they might be expressing a problem that has yet to be identified. Words are not always available to children to express their emotions or needs and sometimes difficult behaviors can be the only tool that have to provide context for their distress. Therapy can help identify underlying issues and develop strategies for managing difficult behaviors.
  5. Trauma or significant life events: If your child has experienced a traumatic event, a safe place in the context of therapy can be very useful for processing the experience. Trauma is not defined by the event, but by the child’s respond to the event. It is important to understand that traumatic responses can be induced by a death in the family, divorce, bullying, abuse, neglect or even having simply witnessed any of those events. A therapis can help them process their feelings and develop coping mechanisms.
  6. Academic struggles: If your child is struggling academically, there additionally may be a problem to solve. A child may struggle with focus or impulse control, which dramatically impacts their school experience, as a result of an underlying issue related to mental health. therapy can help identify any underlying emotional or mental health issues that may be impacting their ability to learn and develop strategies to address those issues.

If you notice any of these signs, it's important to speak with a mental health professional to determine if therapy would be a helpful intervention for your child. Please feel free to reach out to Solace on our contact page with any questions or concerns you may have, and we will be more than happy to talk it through with you.

Published: March 22, 2023