We all love our children and want what’s best for them. But sometimes, it’s hard to know exactly what they need. Sometimes even getting our children to talk to us can feel like pulling teeth. For many children, counseling can help them find out who they are, why they may be feeling certain emotions, and process and control those emotions. However, the idea of sending your child to therapy can seem scary. So, here’s six frequently asked questions to help you better understand child therapy, why it may be a good option for your child, and what they may experience.
6 Frequently Asked Questions About Child Therapy:
1. How do I know if my child needs to see a therapist?
Warning signs vary from child to child, but some major changes to be on the lookout for are behavioral issues and irregular sleeping patterns. If your child is acting completely out of the ordinary, something may be wrong. All children act out from time to time. It’s a part of growing up and developing hormones. But, when behavior becomes extremely deviant and worrisome, consider seeing a counselor. Likewise, watch out for major changes in sleep. If your child is suddenly sleeping a lot more or less than usual, there may be a deeper problem at hand. For example, young children who have experienced trauma may be losing sleep because of nightmares and constant worry.
2. If I take my child to therapy does that mean I have done a bad job at parenting?
No! Therapy offers a chance for your child to explore how they are feeling. It also allows you as a parent the chance to learn what your child is experiencing. Just because you may not have noticed a change in your child right away does not mean you are a bad parent. An interest in counseling shows that you love your child and want what’s best for them.
3. How do I talk to my child about therapy?
Discussions like this can be tricky. Some children are much more reluctant to see a counselor than others. One of the best ways to approach this conversation is to treat it like a normal doctor’s appointment. Let your child know that you are going to see a counselor to make sure everything is okay, they are healthy, and to see if there is anything they need to treat. Never try to trick your child into going to therapy. When a child arrives at therapy when they thought they were going somewhere else, they will be closed off and much more reluctant to participate in their session. Be honest and let your child know that you want what is best for them. If your child is uncomfortable with their counselor, let them know it’s okay to switch counselors
4. Can children really be depressed?
Yes! Many parents have a mindset of “they’re just a kid, what do they have to worry about?”. The fact is, you can’t know everything going on in your child’s life. You’re not with them 24/7. They may be struggling with bullying at school or issues with other family members or caregivers. Children struggle with processing emotions just as much as adults do. No matter how immersed we are in our children’s lives, there may be struggles we haven’t uncovered yet.
5. How long will my child be in therapy?
Every child is different. Many children can work through and process their challenges in just a few sessions, while some take years. Many times, children who have experienced trauma may need a few years to really understand and process what they went through.
6. Can my child attend therapy even if they have not been diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder?
Yes! Therapy is a very fluid process. Seeing a counselor can benefit your child in many ways. You do not need a diagnosis or major reason to attend counseling – it could simply be preventative. In the same way, you get regular checkups from your medical doctor, it’s okay to check up with a counselor to make sure your mind is healthy and happy.
When considering child therapy, be sure to set realistic expectations. A counselor is not going to “fix” your child. They are there to help your child progress and process their emotions in a healthy way.
If you think your child could benefit from counseling, or if you as a parent are struggling to control and handle your own emotions, visit crosswindscounseling.org or call 877-594-9204 to get matched with a therapist today. Crosswinds counselors have helped thousands of families build deeper connections and find restoration. We can help you too.