Nearly all children will have some behavioral and social problems at some point in their development. However, there are times when things can get out of hand, and you’ll need to take your child to a therapist. The problem is it’s not easy to tell the difference between a phase that’ll pass in a child’s behavior and a serious problem that needs child therapy.
You should pay attention to how often and how long it happens, the severity, and age appropriateness of the problems and behaviors you are noticing. When you take your child to a therapist, they will take your feedback as a parent and combine it with their own clinical assessment tools. That way, they will be able to determine whether your child’s behavior is indeed outside the norm.
If you notice that your child’s behavior is keeping them from getting through their days or it’s getting in the way of what you should be doing, that’s a red flag. For instance, children can wake up and not want to go to school someday. But if your kid is having a serious meltdown each morning and you end up being late for work all the time, it might be an indication that something is wrong.
It’s at that point when their behavior starts being unmanageable, and it impacts their functionality that you must consider looking into child therapy. We at Courageous Kids Counseling New City, NY, would like to help you find out if your child needs therapy.
A Change in Their Eating or Sleeping Habits
Whenever you notice a drastic change in your child’s eating and sleeping habits, don’t ignore it. When a child is facing serious challenges, they might start sleeping too much or not at all. New eating habits might also be a sign of an eating disorder, so you must always pay attention to how they eat. Always seek the services of a therapist if you notice such behavior.
Engaging in Destructive Behaviors
If your child suddenly begins engaging in destructive behaviors, you must take them to a therapist at once. These include cutting themself, digging their nails into the skin in an attempt to inflict pain, or any other act of self-mutilation. Habits like these and others like drug or alcohol abuse are an indication that your child needs urgent help.
Behaviors like these indicate deep-rooted anger, pain, or resentment that your child is trying to deal with. Taking them to child therapy can make a world of difference and help them cope.
Extreme Feelings of Sadness or Worry
Sometimes you may notice that your child is constantly feeling anxious, sad, or irritable. If this goes on for a long time and it starts impacting their ability to do the things they usually do, you must take them to see a therapist. Children who cry a lot or are always worried usually need help, so you must never ignore it, thinking it’s just a phase.
If your child is always causing havoc at home and disrupting your family, it might be something more than just mischief. You must never ignore such situations. Sometimes, such behavior might even end up getting them in trouble at school.
Many children express their emotions through bad behavior like acting out, talking back to teachers, and fighting with other students. Before you jump to punish and shout at them, consider why they might be behaving like that. If you can’t get through to them, it may be a good idea to have them talk to a therapist at Courageous Kids Counseling New City, NY.
Social withdrawal from family members and friends can be an indication that something is wrong with your child. This is especially true if they were not behaving like this before. You might notice your child starting to spend more time locked in their room and even taking their food there during mealtime. It’s advisable to take them to a therapist to find out what might be wrong.
It’s not uncommon for children to regress after major life changes. This usually happens following the birth of a new sibling, changing cities or countries, or when parents divorce. However, things should worry you when you start noticing regressions like bedwetting, fearfulness, and tantrums.
Constantly Seeking Information
One of the key indicators of anxiety in children is the constant search for information from social media or the news. They can also start asking parents for reassurance. Children can have a profound fear of not knowing; hence they may need a therapist to explain that obtaining absolute certainty isn’t ever possible. This will help them resist the urge to seek information all the time. The therapist will also teach them how to be ok on their own without knowing.
Clinginess is also a sign of anxiety in children. They usually display this behavior if they don’t have the confidence or resiliency to deal with being alone. Sometimes, they might also feel like they lack sufficient resources to deal with possible harm. Taking your child to a therapist when they feel like this is a good idea.
The therapist will help them build self-confidence. With time, they will develop that feeling of ‘I can do it, and they will have enough confidence to figure out the rest on their own. This is the kind of confidence your child needs for clinginess to go away.
In children, mental health issues can also be manifested as irritability, agitation, and quick responses. However, you must be able to tell the difference between momentary displays of irritability, such as those that follow the loss of important events like birthday parties and the end of family trips.
Once you assess that the worry has nothing to do with such events, you can start thinking of seeing a therapist. They will work with your child and help them develop active coping strategies to help them deal with whatever is affecting them. This includes teaching them ways of relaxation or distraction.
If you have a family history of mental health issues, your child will be at a higher risk of experiencing such problems. The moment you start noticing any signs related to historical mental health issues that run in your family, get in touch with a therapist and inform them of your concerns. Some of the mental health issues that tend to run in families include:
- ADD and ADHD
- Depression and anxiety
- Bipolar disorder
A therapist will diagnose and find out if your child is suffering from any of the conditions mentioned above.
Increased Physical Complaints
Children also experience anxiety and depression, which can take the form of physical symptoms like headaches and stomachaches. If your child is experiencing these signs, but your doctor can’t seem to find anything medically wrong with them, your next step should be a therapist.
Talks About Death Frequently
Sometimes kids can get curious about death. They will tend to ask a lot of questions and talk about it curiously in a bid to understand it more. However, when your child repeatedly talks about death and dying, you must not ignore it.
Things can be especially worrying when suicide and talk about killing other people get thrown into the mix. Any conversations that involve suicide and killing people are a sign that your child needs urgent help.
Issues Beyond the Home
Kids who struggle with mental health usually end up having issues beyond the home. Common places where you will start receiving complaints include their school, playing fields, and even with friends.
Your child can start absconding from school, fighting with friends, eating lunch and spending break time alone. Always pay attention to such changes as they can be a sign of underlying issues.
Situations When a Therapist Could Help
There are particular situations and life changes that will require you to seek out the help of a therapist even before your child starts behaving differently. It can be difficult for children to handle some situations due to a lack of proper tools. Many adults visit therapists for most of these exact reasons, so it is advisable to not wait before your child becomes sad, confused, or frustrated before looking for help.
Consult a therapist if your child is experiencing or dealing with the following:
- If they are living with a chronic illness
- After parents go through a divorce
- If they are having a difficult time with their new sibling
- After moving homes and changing schools
- After the death of a family member or close friend
- If parents are going through a custody battle
- Following sexual, physical, or emotional abuse,
- After any other traumatic event.
Has your child been displaying any of these behaviors? Don’t hesitate to contact us at Courageous Kids Counseling New City, NY, and we will give your child the help they need. Also, if you know someone who might find the information in this article useful, go ahead and share it with them.