Often, we might wonder as parents, “How will I know when my child needs counseling?”. Although there is no clear answer to this question, there are some indications to look out for that might lead you to answer that question. Included below are some signs that your child might need to seek counseling services.
If your child is experiencing or exhibiting defiant behaviors-
Maybe you have noticed your child arguing inside and outside the home more. Maybe your child has started to talk back, yell, or even act out of typical character. It is essential to stay connected to teachers and other parents around your child. It is also necessary to pay attention to who and what your child is exposed to daily.
If there are any sudden shifts in habits or interests-
Maybe your child is having trouble sleeping, eating less/more, skipping basketball practice, or has little interest in doing everyday activities that the child loves to do. Here it is essential to take note of these shifts; it could be that your child is just having a bad day or feels sick, or there could be something more profound happening!
Maybe your child has started to worry more or is feeling sad during the week. Often, we can see this behavior in children when there is any sudden change in the family unit or other significant changes (i.e., divorce, death of a family member or friend, big family move). Keep an eye on the emotions your child is expressing!
Regression Regression Regression-
Maybe your child is regressing. What exactly is regression? Regression is a process in which a child might revisit an earlier development stage and then behave accordingly. This regression could include temper tantrums, baby talk, and separation anxiety.
If your child is isolating-
Maybe you have noticed your child starting to isolate themselves from their friends and family. This isolation could be eating alone at school or wanting to go straight to their room for hours once they get home. Isolation isn’t inherently wrong, but if your child is starting to isolate themselves more, it might be something of importance to note.
If your child is talking about self-harm-
Maybe your child has started to say things like, “I just want to feel something.” Maybe your child has started wearing clothes that cover more areas of the body. Self-harm is not something to wait on, and you should try to get help right away.
Pay Attention- Ask Questions- Be Intentional and Check-In
It is easy for parents to get wrapped up in doing day-to-day activities and forget their child’s emotional needs. Remember that children worry and suffer too. Children might not always have the ability to articulate how they feel or what they want to say when speaking on their emotions. Encourage emotional expression and be intentional about asking your child questions.