Being a parent is one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences life has to offer, it can also be one of the most challenging. These challenges can arise at any time during your child’s life and it can be difficult to know when these challenges are just part of growing up or a sign your child is heading into troubled times.

Here are some signs that your child may need professional assistance to cope with difficult life circumstances.

1. Your child is unusually withdrawn, worried, stressed, or tearful, or is experiencing sleep disturbances, mood swings, unusual changes in appetite, or displays excessive anger towards self or others.

2. Your child’s behavior or emotional distress is interfering with his or her ability to complete regular daily routines, frequently disrupts normal family functioning, or is preventing the development of age-appropriate milestones.

3. Your child displays an unusual fear of being left alone, going to school, or participating in previously enjoyed activities.

4. Your child’s symptoms or behaviors increase to the point that he/she is socially isolated, exhibiting signs of prolonged depression, disruptive in the classroom, missing school, increasingly argumentative, or defiant about following rules.

5. Your child’s difficulties are interfering with your job or you feel you are unable to effectively manage your child’s behavior or emotional distress.

It is important to remember that your child’s behavior or emotional distress is not a sign of parental failure and seeking assistance from a mental health professional is no different than consulting a physician when your child is sick. Therapists have specialized training and knowledge that enables them to provide effective treatment allowing the child to identify and discuss problems, develop effective coping skills, and resolve emotional issues. Therapists also work with parents to address their concerns, help them understand their child’s needs, and assist them in developing the most effective parenting skills for their child’s success.

To find out more about how counseling can help you and your child, contact Teresa Judy.

Article by Teresa Judy, LCSW, LMHP