As a parent, it can be tough to determine whether your child needs the additional help a counselor can provide. Frankly, it can also be a little embarrassing. Does turning to a counselor mean you’re a bad parent? Add in the fact many childhood behaviors are developmentally typical and temporary. Your family and friends may keep telling you that your child will just “grow out of it.” But you still wonder.

Ah, but it’s not that simple. Problems with childhood behavior aren’t always temporary or just a normal part of growing up. Sometimes they’re symptoms of deeper problems that may only become worse without some kind of treatment – and no, “treatment” doesn’t imply a need for medication. Often, identifying and resolving the issue at your child’s present age is much easier and more effective than trying to tackle it in several years.

If you’re thinking your child could benefit from some extra help from one of our professional counselors, it’s better to proceed now than wait until later. The sooner a counselor starts working with your family, the easier it is for them to give tools for healthy development.

Delaying treatment may even make the situation worse, hurt relationships, and affect self esteem. That’s especially true if your child is showing signs of or an inclination to self-harm, such as cutting or discussions of suicide. A single act of cutting may seem minor, but it’s actually a warning sign of serious mental health issues.

Please don’t wait, especially if there’s a history of mental illness in your family. Scientists are still learning about genetics and mental health, but with many conditions, it does appear that a family history signals a greater likelihood your child may encounter problems.

The answer I usually give when parents ask me if it would be appropriate for their child to see a professional counselor is that if you think it would be a good idea, it probably is. You know your child better than anyone, and if you’re concerned about what you’re seeing, your instincts are probably correct. Parents sometimes hesitate to reach out for help because they’re afraid of hurting their children’s feelings or they feel embarrassed by the situation. We understand that, but it’s important to act before symptoms and issues become worse.

The best way to proceed is to schedule an initial session with one of our counselors. You’re not making a long-term commitment. That initial session provides an opportunity for the counselor to talk with you and your child to get a better understanding of your concerns. The professional therapists at Care to Change don’t make recommendations based on guesswork or what worked for someone else. They draw upon their training and experience to recognize patterns that signal a need for assistance.

If you’re still on the fence, why not contact us and put your mind at ease? Scheduling an appointment is easy, and you’ll gain the peace of mind that comes with taking action instead of stewing over what to do. Call us today, so we can work with you to help both you and your child get the most from life.

A few helpful podcasts…

Becoming a better parent

When to get help for your kids

How to bring out the best in your kids

Brittany Gipson is Clinical Manager of Care to Change, and helps children, adolescents, and adults cope with and overcome mental health and addiction-related issues.

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