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Does My Child Need Therapy? A Parenting Guide

Published July 14th, 2022 by Mfarin42

Did you know that in 2019, 13% of children between the ages of 5 and 17 had some type of mental health help? While that seems to be a pretty big number of kids, there are many kids who do not get the help they need.

Why? Well, it can be intimidating trying to figure out if your child needs therapy, and can be even harder to find a therapist for your child.

So how do you know the answer to the question "does my child need therapy?" Read on and we'll tell you when to get a child a therapist!

School Troubles

One of the biggest signs of mental problems in children happens in school.

Your child may need therapy if you are constantly getting calls from the school about their behavior. The teacher may be concerned that they are acting out more than usual, disrupting class for no apparent reason, or have been getting in more trouble.

If your child is also acting more withdrawn in school or having trouble paying attention and focusing in the classroom, then this may be a sign that they are in need of help.

Your Child Is Complaining About Bullying or Is the Bully

This could go both ways. If your child is coming home and talking about how other kids are being mean to them, your child may be holding more emotions and thoughts inside.

Since going to school can be tough, dealing with bullying is a reason that you may want to send your child to therapy to prevent them from feeling less confident, getting more irritable, or becoming a bully themselves.

If you are hearing that your child is the bully, this may be a sign that something is going on internally. Therapy is a safe place where they can work out these emotions in an appropriate manner rather than taking out their frustrations or sadness on other kids at school.

Acting Out of Character

You know your child best. You know what sets them off, how they act in certain situations, and what they like to talk about.

However, they may be going through a tough time that is throwing off their normal personality traits.

For instance, they may begin acting out in social situations with their friends. Or, they may do the opposite. When they are in social settings with friends or at school, they may begin to withdraw and seem to not be interested in being in that setting.

If they act out of character at all for an extended period of time, this could be a sign that you should have them try out therapy. A therapist can get them talking to open up about whatever is bothering them in a safe setting.

Irritability in Teenagers

Teenagers are going to go through ups and downs throughout the years with their moods. It's when these moods last for an extended period of time that you should be concerned about their mental health. This can happen after traumatic experiences, loss, too much stress for an extended period of time, or anything else that negatively impacts them emotionally. 

There are a few reasons why they could be acting more irritable. A few are:

  • Depression or anxiety 
  • Bipolar disorder
  • A mood disorder caused by a health issue that needs to be figured out

One of the most common reasons for extended irritability in teens is depression. Major depressive disorder can be a difficult condition for your child to deal with since it is much more than just a mood swing. They are dealing with constant negative thoughts, extended sadness and irritability, anger, and sometimes feelings of nothingness.

If you are concerned that your child may have depression, it's vital to get them a children's mental health counselor. With over 18% of high school students having had thoughts of suicide, getting them the help they need is important.

With therapy, your teenager can begin to talk through their problems, learn coping mechanisms, and get back to being themselves.

Your Family Has Gone Through a Transition 

Change is hard and can be difficult for children. If there doesn't seem to be any signs of your child needing therapy and if your family has gone through a transition, you may still want to seek out help.

A therapist in this situation is able to talk to your child to see how they are doing on a weekly or biweekly basis. Your children may also feel more comfortable talking to someone they are not close with at first to explain how they are feeling. This gives them an outlet for their thoughts and feelings, making sure they do not build up over time.

So what classifies as a transition? If you and your partner are getting a divorce or are separating, this can be detrimental to some children. The loss of a loved one is another huge transition that can negatively impact your child.

Does My Child Need Therapy?

Hopefully this article answered the question of "does my child need therapy?" 

However, if you are ever unsure if your child should talk to a therapist, you should always opt to bring them to see a therapist just in case. Therapy can help them find coping strategies, manage their stress and emotions, and learn to work through problems in an appropriate manner.

Are you ready to find a therapist? Contact us so we can get your family and your child the help they need!

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