Children have a lot of emotional ups and downs. With the pressures of school, their social lives and the general confusion that comes with growing up, it’s no wonder they occasionally get a little overwhelmed.
In what kind of circumstances might my child benefit from counselling?
Counselling can help with a whole range of issues, but some of the most common include:
- Divorce and separation:Have you and your partner split up recently? Children often struggle when it comes to significant life changes and separation or divorce can trigger a whole range of emotions: sadness, anger, fear, regret – or even guilt.
- Bereavement:Has a member of the family passed away recently – or even within the past few years? If your son or daughter was particularly close to that person, they may benefit from having someone help them process their feelings.
- Bullying: Bullying can be particularly damaging because it so often goes unnoticed. If you think your son or daughter is being bullied, try to talk to them about it and contact their school, daycare etc. Counselling can be an effective way of helping them re-build their self-esteem and resilience following problems with bullying.
- Stress at school: Many students struggle with academic excellence, fitting the mold, thinking that they are not quite good enough or the consequences of not doing well. Counselling can help reduce the pressure and provide tools to help them cope.
- Family issues: Often, what your child is going through may relate to what’s happening with the family as a whole. In these cases, Family Counselling can be a good option.
Shouldn’t I be able to help them myself?
Some parents worry that suggesting counselling services for their son or daughter means they’re failing them as a parent. This couldn’t be further from the truth! While we always recommend talking to your child if you think something is wrong, some circumstances benefit from talking to a neutral party.
Children often struggle to talk to their parents because they’re worried about getting in trouble, or that what they say will affect their relationship with them. Sometimes, it may be their parents they need to talk about. In these cases, having someone to talk to confidentially and who will listen without judging can be a really big help.
Signs something may be wrong
Children often internalise problems rather than communicating them openly, so it can be difficult to know if they’re struggling. However, if you notice any of the following signs, you may want to consider getting further advice or support.
- Change of behaviour: Have they started to act out or get into trouble? Or perhaps they’ve become quiet and withdrawn and are spending a lot of time in their room? A noticeable change in behaviour can be part of their normal stages of development, but could also be a sign that they need some extra support.
- Sleep patterns: Often, when we’re feeling upset, physical things like sleep patterns are the first to be affected. If your child is finding it harder to sleep, it may be a sign something is causing them anxiety. Likewise, sleeping significantly more than usual can be an indicator that they’re demoralised or even depressed.
- Eating patterns:Is your child eating noticeably more or less than they usually would? Or at different times of day? Are they refusing to sit down for meals with the rest of the family? Eating patterns and appetite often change around emotions. If you’re worried about your child’s eating, you may want to consult your family doctor first.
- Health Problems: Is your son or daughter reporting frequent headaches and/or tummy upsets? Are you noticing changes in mood and lack of motivation? These are often symptoms of anxiety.
- School grades: A significant drop in school grades can be a key indicator that they’re feeling distracted or upset. You may want to meet with their teacher. Your child may express themselves at school in ways they wouldn’t at home.
What do I do next?
If you think your child would benefit from counselling, suggest it to them. But, it’s important not to make them feel like it’s being suggested as a punishment. Don’t bring it up during an argument or when emotions are running high. Simply let them know you’re concerned about them and you want to help.
We are here to support and guide you!
In therapy, we work in partnership with children and their parents to enhance their quality of life by exploring and understanding patterns of behaviours, as well as the thoughts and emotions that keep them from creating a life they enjoy. With time and proper support, new skills are developed that reinforce positive changes!
Contact us today! We’re happy to help!