How Can Parents Identify If Their Child Needs Therapy or Emotional Support?

As parents, we always want what’s best for our kids. Seeing children have a happy and fulfilling life is every parent’s dream, and that’s why it’s so heartbreaking when we see our kids struggling emotionally. If our child gets a physical injury or a cold, we can fix the problem easily by visiting the doctor’s office or by trying to mend the issue by ourselves. When emotional problems arise, it’s a bit harder to figure out what’s going on and what exactly is bothering our child.

As they grow and experience the world, children are constantly going through different kinds of emotions, and we as parents need to be able to handle our kids’ ups and downs and teach them how to properly regulate their emotions. It’s easier said than done because even as adults, we often have trouble regulating our own. 

Seldom periods of moodiness, drops in academic performance or even trouble with friends are all normal for children, and they usually bounce back quickly after a rough patch. School bullying, family drama and transition periods can stir up some heavy emotions in children, so as parents we have to be vigilant and try to detect when our child is going through difficult situations. 

But when symptoms of anxiety and depression arise and remain constant, and you see significant personality changes in your child, it’s understandable to worry about their well-being. Thankfully, psychological counseling can help with many of these issues, but the situation has to be handled with care.

Raising awareness on children’s mental health is crucial

If we look at the mental health of children in the United States, it’s pretty obvious that things aren’t very rosy. Things got a little bit worse with this pandemic, as well, as schools were closed for long periods of time and children were unable to socialize with friends. This caused symptoms of anxiety and depression to increase at a staggering rate. 

According to the CDC, almost 4.5 million children aged between 3 and 17 in the United States have been diagnosed with anxiety, while nearly 2 million were diagnosed with depression. One of the first steps of handling these pressing issues is to raise awareness and teach both children and adults to be more considerate of each other. It’s truly frightening as a parent to deal with the fact that your child is suffering, and most of the time you don’t even know the underlying problem causing them pain.

A separate challenge that parents face is identifying whether their child needs the help of a professional, or just needs to take things a bit slower with a bit of emotional support from their caregivers. Plus, there are also countless other illnesses that parents or teachers can’t pick up on so easily, ranging from ADHD, bipolar disorder, and more.

Here at DaVinci, we put together a list of some of the most common signs and behaviors that would indicate that your child might need emotional support or counseling.

The telling signs your child might need emotional support

1. Changes in daily activities and habits

One of the earliest and most important telling signs that your child might be going through a rough patch is represented by changes in their behavior and normal daily activities. Rare outbursts or locking themselves in their room is sometimes normal, especially in adolescence when they’re still figuring themselves out. Although, if these behaviors persist, along with changes in eating and sleeping habits, it might be a good time to try and sit down and have a heartfelt conversation with your child.

2. Social isolation and regressed behavior

If you notice your child is starting to withdraw from friends and family, and spends too much time alone, this could be an indication of depression and/or anxiety. Make sure to check up on your child if you see that this behavior persists, and try to understand where they’re coming from and what you could do to help. Don’t be too pushy, though, to risk the chance of them withdrawing even more.

3. Excessive fears and worries

Excessive fears and worries might be a sign of anxiety. Children usually worry about school, assignments and bad friendships when they’re young, but if strange and unreasonable fears and worries creep in, there might be a problem. Excessive worrying and feelings of inevitable doom can tear a kid apart, and can keep them from going to school and participating in daily activities. 

4. Extreme feelings of sadness

We all get sad from time to time. But if your child has become unusually sad, anxious and irritable for an extended period of time, it’s time to investigate. Talking always helps, but if they’re also withdrawn, getting through to them might prove to be difficult. Seeking the help of a professional is highly advised if your child refuses to cooperate and open up about their struggles with you or other family members

5. Self-harm 

This phase is a bit extreme, but unhealed emotional and/or psychological wounds, as well as your child’s unresolved traumatic events, can lead to very serious problems. Self-harm isn’t always extreme, and it can manifest as hair-pulling or nail and skin biting at first, and evolve into something worse. Be highly attentive of your child’s behaviour, and seek a trustworthy therapist if you detect any of these signs.

Finding the help your child needs

Finding the right therapist for your child is key. Usually, doctors, family members, teachers and even friends may have different recommendations, but you can do some research of your own. If your child needs extra help to get back on their feet and catch up on schoolwork, you can also try signing them up for a private tutoring program. Da Vinci Collaborative is a team of highly trained professional teachers, equipped with the necessary knowledge to tutor children with special needs. Feel free to reach out to us at any time.

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