Understanding If Your Child Needs Therapy
Sometimes a child may need more help than a parent can give. It is important to recognize the signs that your child may need professional help
Sometimes as a parent of teenage children you can feel like your children are driving you crazy or that your children are crazy. Mood swings may be the norm and odd behavior can seem like a daily occurrence. What once was a happy, outdoorsy 5 year old may have turned in to a moody 16 year-old who sits in front of the computer all day. Most of the time this behavior is the normal transition of a person from childhood to adulthood. Other times mood changes and altering of behavior may be symptoms of larger problems that may require professional help or counseling. If you are not sure about the difference between normal pre-teen or teenage behavior versus problematic behavior, here are a few things to look for that may suggest the need for professional help or counseling.
Signs and Signals your Child May Need Therapy
Difficulties in school.
Difficulty with social interaction (isolation, lack of close bonds, anger/fighting/arguing).
Multiple confrontations with peers or adults.
Skipping school a lot.
Your child is always sick
Big changes in personality lasting for several weeks (consistently).
Irritability (lasting for weeks)
For a child growing up in a rough environment, or a difficult home situation these signals may be apparent in a lot of children, including your own. Many children don't want to go to school, but constant avoidance of school, sickness and ditching may be a sign that there is something about the school environment that your child is avoiding. It is your job as a parent or caretaker to recognize lasting changes in behavior as these are more likely symptomatic of problems requiring therapy. In some cases these may just be changes in life that require some extra parenting. Ultimately you will make the decision on which course to take.
Once you decide on therapy for your child you need to make sure you find the right therapist. In our companion article "How To Know If You Need Therapy and Where to Get Help" we discuss the importance of finding a therapist who has experience dealing with your particular problems and life situation. The same is true for children. If you have an African American child living in a gang-infested neighborhood make sure your therapist has many clients and years of experience dealing with kids in that situation. If you have a mixed race girl who is having identity problems, again find the appropriate therapist.
Once you find the right therapist and you begin counseling, you should see results. A few months is usually enough time to notice measurable changes in behavior and mood. Seeing a therapist for many months or a year without improvement means that the the child is not responding and you may need a new therapist or you should look into other options.
Medicine (i.e. pills) should be the last resort in treatment for your children, but many in the medical industry and big pharma believes the opposite. Pharmaceutical companies make their money selling medicine so beware of their motivation. Starting your children on pills could lead to a lifetime of drug dependence, which may not be beneficial to your child but it is extremely beneficial to the drug company.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Team Afro writes for AfroDaddy.com - The Black Man Survival Guide, the leading website for African Americans. To see more articles like this, please visit afrodaddy.com