Empowering Families: How Counseling Can Help Your Child’s Well-Being
Parents often take their kids to a mental health counselor to address difficulties in life and improve in specific areas. According to the Mental Health Association (MHA) organization around 15% of youth ages 12 to 17 years of age report experiencing at least one depressive episode. The CDC around 9% of children ages 3 to 17 years experience Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The CDC also shared that around 8 in 10 children receive depression treatment. The statistic is shared to highlight the importance of seeking mental health treatment.
The Importance of Counseling for Your Child
Think of counseling as a tool that you can give your child. You do not need to be at rock bottom to see a counselor. Just like you do not need to wait until the onset of diabetes to start exercising. Your child can learn how to process anger during difficult moments, experience worry, and navigate anxiety with effective coping skills so that their performance is not negatively impacted, and so much more.
Key reasons that parents seek counseling:
- Behavioral Issues: This behavior can be seen as your child displaying challenging behaviors at home, school, or in social settings. The behavioral issues could include aggression, talking back, a lack of respect for authority, or other disruptive behaviors.
- Emotional Distress: Kids and teens may experience emotional difficulties such as anxiety, depression, problems focusing or concentrating, prolonged sadness, or mood swings noted as anger outbursts.
- Academic Difficulties: Your child may show struggles with academic performance, learning disabilities, attention difficulties (such as attention deficit hyperactive disorder), or school-related stress.
- Social Skills and Relationships: Parents may show concerns about their child’s ability to make friends or interact with peers. Social skills development and building positive relationships are common areas of focus.
- Family Transitions: Parents often seek counseling for their children due to life-changing events. The life-changing events can include significant changes in the family’s financial position, divorce, moving, changing schools, a medical diagnosis like cancer in the family system, or the death of a family member can impact a child emotionally.
- Traumatic Experiences: Children who have experienced trauma may benefit from counseling. The traumatic experience can range from physical abuse such as bullying in the classroom to witnessing a traumatic event like domestic violence in the home.
- Parental Separation or Parental Conflict: Conflict between parents can directly impact the kids. This is often seen when children see or hear conflict between parents. The impact can often affect a child’s emotional well-being. Working with a counselor can provide kids with a safe and constructive space to heal and address emotional difficulties. In addition, parents can explore marriage counseling or co-parenting counseling to support addressing conflict.
- Grief and Loss: The death of a loved one, whether a friend, family member, or pet, can be emotionally difficult for a child. Counseling offers a clinically safe and healthy space for them to express grief and receive support. Click here for grief and loss counseling.
- Self-Esteem and Identity Issues: Kids and teens may struggle with self-confidence, self-esteem, body image, or issues related to their identity. Kids often experience challenges at school that relate to making friends, fitting in, and academic performance. Working with a counselor can help your child develop a positive self-concept and navigate issues related to self-worth.
- Developmental Concerns: Our counseling office has counselors that specialize in counseling for individuals who are on the Autism Spectrum. This type of counseling can focus on developing social skills, supporting your child in learning how to process and navigate their emotions, and other key areas connected to Autism Spectrum Disorder.
How To Help Your Child with Counseling
There are two common ways that counselors work with children. One involves a direct relationship where the counselor takes the primary role of being the child’s counselor. The second and often separate role that the counselor can take is to be a bridge between the family and the child. Both are effective.
As the parent, you can work with the counselor to identify which approach would be the most appropriate and effective. From this point, the next step is to be vulnerable with the counselor and willing to receive feedback. Vulnerability means that you are willing to share the reality of what is taking place. Doing this allows the counselor to see a clear picture and provide recommendations that are appropriate to what is taking place.