Why Should You Seek Child Counseling?
Updated January 03, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Dawn Brown
Therapy is commonly viewed as an adult activity, but many children seek therapy as well, for a multitude of different reasons. Children have problems too, and if you're a parent, there comes a time when seeking therapy for your child is a good idea. Childhood is a pivotal part of one's development, and a bad childhood can mean problems during adulthood.
Here are a few reasons why you should seek counseling for your child.
When You Can't Solve The Problem
As the parent of your child, you want to believe you have all the answers. When your child is feeling down, you know the reason and can solve it. If your child is misbehaving, you know how to discipline them.
However, you are human as well, and there are many things in life you don't know about. You don't know what is going on in your child's head, and if the problem is severe, you may need to take the child to a therapist.
Child therapy can get to the bottom of your child's problems and come up with solutions that can benefit your child in the long run.
When It's Putting Too Much Stress On You
Even if you're trying to solve the problem, you should seek a child counselor if the problem is affecting your life. If you find yourself constantly worried about your child, always talk to other people about the problem, or have strained some relationships, including your spouse, then you should seek the help of a counselor. Parenting is stressful, but you have limits.
When Their Performance At School Is Going Down
If your child is doing well at school, and then their performance goes for a reason, there may be an underlying reason that you don't know about. From teacher issues to bullying, from self-esteem problems to finding a certain subject challenging, there can be a multitude of reasons. A counselor can find the reason and take steps to get them back to performing their best. Doing well in school means doing well in the rest of your life.
For A Divorce
Divorce is inevitable in many cases. Sometimes, the parents just can't keep it together, and they are better off if they separate. However, the child may need counseling during and after the divorce. Here are a few reasons why:
- The child may think that they are to blame for their parents separating. This is never the case, and the counselor can explain why the parents are having a divorce.
- The child may believe they are unloved. A counselor can explain how both parents still love them.
- They may feel guilt over picking a side. In reality, it's okay to choose which parent has custody.
Therapy is great for letting the child talk about their feelings and writing them down in the most comprehensive way possible. This can allow the counselor to help the child survive the turmoil that comes with a divorce.
If your child has been exposed to something that is disturbing or has been through a traumatic event, it's important you get them to counseling as soon as possible. Even if the child doesn't act that affected, they can still develop PTSD, changes in their emotions, or any other distressing effects that are associated with trauma. It's important that the child is taken in and monitored carefully so that the counselor can find any problems associated with the trauma. The longer the trauma goes untreated, the more trust issues a child can develop and they may have a harder time expressing themselves down the road.
Children get anxious too, and if your child is experiencing anxiety, it can develop into something more severe down the road. You can fix this by teaching your child coping techniques such as mindfulness, breathing exercises, how to relax, and how to express their feelings.
The child needs to realize that the odd sensations they have with anxiety are normal, and they're going to be fine regardless of how they feel.
After The Death Of A Loved One
Many children still do not understand death. Adults themselves cannot fully understand it either, but children especially do not grasp what death is. The idea of someone being gone from their life is hard to believe, and they may have a slew of emotions they can't understand. They may feel like they are at fault for the death of their loved one, even if they had nothing to do with it. A counselor can help the child realize that death is a natural part of life, it's not the child's fault that their loved one died and can teach the child the coping they need to move on with their life.
Sometimes, the parents can't live in the same place forever. New jobs, new opportunities, or they just want to leave this town they're in. For the parent, this can be a new opportunity. For the child, moving can be stressful. They don't understand why their parents moved and may feel like it's their fault. If they were in school, they are going to miss their friends. When they do move, it's hard to adjust to new people, new friends, and overcoming the shyness of being new.
A counselor can explain why the parents have moved, how they can meet new people, and how they can still maintain contact with their old friends.
Sometimes, a child is going to have doubts about themselves. But when a child's self-esteem is low, it can cause a blow to their confidence and affect their lives as they grow older. Having low self-esteem prevents people from getting certain job opportunities and can lead to addiction, self-harm, and other negative consequences. A counselor can help the child figure out why they have such low self-esteem, make changes to improve themselves and accept their flaws. If the child has developed other problems because of low self-esteem, they will be treated as well.
A counselor can help both sides of this situation. If a child is bullying, you need to put a stop to this behavior immediately. Sometimes, the child doesn't realize they are bullying, and a counselor can help explain their behavior and take steps, so it doesn't happen again. If a child is being bullied, a counselor can help teach the child how they can defend themselves and figure out why it is that bully is bothering them. No matter the side, bullying needs to be nipped in the bud.
If your child has siblings, they are going to fight sometimes. Sibling rivalry is just a part of life. The problem comes when a friendly rivalry becomes aggressive. If the child's sibling is scared of the child, or if the two are fighting, it's worth it to seek counseling. There may be an underlying reason why the siblings are fighting so much, and a counselor can help resolve the problems and let them get along again.
Finding The Best Counselor For The Job
Finding a therapist for your child can be a bit more difficult than finding one for an adult. Here are a few reasons why.
- You have to find a therapist who knows how to handle children and has studied child psychology. Children are not small adults; the way they process information and express their emotions is different, especially at different stages. A six-year-old is going to be different than a 10-year-old. A good child therapist will know how to handle the child during different stages of their development.
- You need to find a therapist who connects with the child. A child may have a hard time talking to adults, and a therapist needs to be someone who can step down to the child's level and communicate with them.
Where can you find a therapist? There are many options. Some schools provide counseling services, but if you want someone different, you can do some research and see what others are saying.
Asking for recommendations is a good idea as well. If your parent friend has gone through the same problem, you can talk to them and see what counselor they picked. Although a child's needs may vary, finding a counselor who has worked well with other children can help narrow your selection down.
There is no shame in taking your child to a counselor. You have not failed as a parent; instead, you have realized that you can't handle it all, and sometimes a professional can help get to the bottom of what's bothering your child. By taking care of your child, this will help them grow and bloom into a happy, healthy adult.
If your child is faced with any of the above situations, or any other problem that cannot be fixed on its own, it's a good idea to seek counseling and give them the help they need. Once your child improves, you'll be glad you did.