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Useful Ways To Know When To Seek Child And Family Counseling


Useful Ways To Know When To Seek Child And Family Counseling

  • Children Mental Health
  • Family

The Signs You Need a Child Counselor

When helping your child through anxiety and depression, don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance and support- for your child, your family and yourself.

Anxiety and depression are treatable in children and adults, but 80 percent of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder and 60 percent of kids with diagnosable depression are not getting treatment, according to the 2015 Child Mind Institute Children’s Mental Health Report.  Anxiety and depression can be frightening for both you and your child. It affects everyone in your family, and there is nothing more painful than seeing your child in any kind of pain- and not being able to make it go away with a band-aid and a kiss.  It is heart-wrenching, stress-inducing and enough to keep you up at night. But take some comfort in knowing that you are not alone and there are ways to help your child through this time. When you see the signs, taking immediate action is pertinent to their healing process. This is the time to seek child and family counseling.  Confronting the issues with your child and working with a child counselor as early as possible can eliminate prolonged pain and sadness.  And keep in mind that finding your way through the unknown takes teamwork, patience, and perseverance from all of you.

Signs and Symptoms of Child Anxiety and Depression

Some signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression that you should be on the lookout for include: a loss of interest in activities that would be otherwise found favorable and fulfilling, in addition to extreme feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness and guilt.  Other symptoms and signs to look for in your child include:

  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Poor school performance
  • Irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Tearfulness or frequent crying
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

When to Seek Counseling

Children struggling with anxiety and depression may “act out” to try to hide the pain that they cannot otherwise explain or withdrawal from others completely.  Some of these negative coping mechanisms include substance and alcohol abuse, talking about or running away from home and violent or reckless behavior. If your child comes to you and tells you how they are feeling, listen.  Often times they do not know how to verbalize what they are feeling, so giving them your full attention is critical.  This is the first step in helping them. Encourage your child to come to you, no matter how they are feeling or if they have questions.  The feelings that they are having are scary and overwhelming, and feeling that “no-one else feels like this” is a lonely and desolate place to be. Let your child know that they should talk to you about questions or concerns that they may be having.  Reassure them that although they may feel embarrassed or scared to talk about it, the only way that you can really help them is to know how they are feeling.

During this time, begin seeking out a child counselor who specializes in treating anxiety and depression in children.  Talk to your pediatrician. Seek out a therapist.  Another suggestion for finding counseling for kids is to go online and do searches for child and family counseling, child counseling near me and counseling for kids near meYou can then review your options and start making phone calls.  

If your child is asking you questions that you do not know the answers to, it is comforting to let them know that although you do not have the answer at that moment, you will find the answer out so both of you can understand and work through it together. 

It is pertinent for you to stay centered and take steps to lessen the pressure that you are putting on yourself. If your child’s anxiety and depression is affecting them in school, speak to the school nurse and/or the guidance counselor.  While you cannot “fix” the issues, you can be their greatest support and their biggest advocate.    

If you have a child that is anxious and depressed, do not blame yourself and do not dismiss your child.  Seek help immediately for them right away and find assistance and support for your child, your family and yourself. And do not be embarrassed to reach out because there are no quick answers or a definitive map to follow, but be reassured that there is, indeed, strength in numbers. 

When you think of the well-being of a child, you first think of basic needs: food, water, and shelter. Once these needs are met, however, it’s crucial for a child to have emotional and social wellness as well. In this article, we will explore the impact social wellness has on the overall health of a child and great ways for children to garner social support in their lives.

It comes as no surprise that as human beings, we all need connection with others, no matter what stage of life we are in. In fact, having social support is a social determinant of health (SDOH) that significantly impacts the health of an individual. After spending the last few years in and out of isolation due to the Covid-19 outbreak, social support is more important now than ever before. Having social support means having family members and friends you can talk to and seek advice from when life feels challenging and overwhelming. Knowing you’re not alone in your life journey, especially as a child, creates a sense of belonging and empowerment throughout one’s life.

4 Types of Social Support

Emotional Support. This type of support lets you know that people care about you and have empathy for your experiences. Emotional support often looks like people checking in on you to let you know they’re thinking of you, and that they are there if you need anything. As a parent, make sure your child knows you can be a sounding board for them. If you have family members who can also show up for your children in this way, even better!

Practical Help. This type of support is when people give you something tangible or offer a service to help you out. This could be in the form of money, making food when you are sick, or helping to pack when moving. Having family and friends show up in this way shows your child what it looks like to be present for people you love.

Sharing Points of View. This type of support can often come in the form of affirmations and encouragement. For example, pointing out your child’s strengths to them and reminding them they can do anything they put their mind to. It can also look like sharing another perspective if they are being hard on themselves. For example, if they are angry with themselves after receiving a bad grade on a test, you can help them see it as a learning experience and a way for them to grow.

Sharing Information. This type of support is when someone shares what they’ve learned from their own life experiences. For example, if another parent has a child who struggles with socializing, they can share some tips and tricks they’ve learned to help their child find and create social support.

The Importance of Social Groups and Extended Support

Children who are connected to their family, friends, and people in their community have opportunities to learn how to speak, share, and get along with others. When your child feels connected to people in your neighborhood, it often allows them to feel physically safe which can alleviate stress and worry. Simply riding bikes, going on walks, and saying hello to neighbors with your kids can create this sense of security for them.

In addition to engaging with your neighbors, getting involved in local organizations can also create social support for your child. Signing up for a sports team, musical theater, art class or summer camp are all great ways to help your child meet new friends and learn important social skills that can carry them through their lives.

Tips for Helping Kids Make Community Connections:

Spend time outside in your neighborhood playing on the playground, going to a local farmer’s market, or scheduling a playdate with neighborhood kids.

Show your kids that connection is a two-way street. If your neighbors or friends go out of town, offer to get their mail, or water their plants and take your child with you when you go. This will show your child how you show up for people you care about.

Make sure you make time for socializing with friends as well. Your child looks to you first and foremost for how they should act and live their own life.

Encourage your child to step out of their comfort zone and do something they may be scared to do. As a parent, it’s your job to push them into something social for their own well-being at times.