Signs Your Child Might Need to See a Therapist

A child struggling with emotional or behavioral problems can be a really scary thing. For parents who aren’t sure what is going on with their child, it can be important to get a second or even third opinion. If teachers have been calling or your pediatrician isn’t sure how to help, it might be time to consider taking your child to a therapist to help unravel what may be going on.

The truth is that kids can struggle with mental illness and depression in the same way as adults. If your child seems to be acting strange, behaving out of character, feels sad, or voices that they feel hopeless; consider calling a therapist. The following are signs that your child might need extra help.

Behavioral Changes

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You’ll know it’s time to start shopping for a therapist if your child begins acting out of character. Maybe it’s behavioral changes or mood swings. If you have a kid who always loved school but doesn’t want to get up in the morning and refuses to talk about what’s happening, there could be a number of reasons. Before you search keywords like child therapist NYC, try to have a conversation with them about what’s going on at school. Beware, your child may lie to you, omit the truth, or only give you half of the story. Even the most well-behaved kids will clam up if they are really suffering for reasons like trying to protect your feelings.

If this is happening and you feel like school could be the issue, call your child’s teacher and see if the behavioral changes are being exhibited in the classroom too. Other signs could be a drop in grades, a lack of interest in friends or extracurricular activities, and withdrawal from normal interests, hobbies, and people.

Many parents are reluctant to call for therapists for a variety of reasons. Maybe they’ve heard about residential treatment center for teenagers and don’t want their child caught up in a system or labeled. It’s possible they are worried they will somehow be blamed or that having a child in therapy means they haven’t done their job as a parent. The opposite is true. Parents who pay attention to their child’s behaviors and seek help are some of the best parents out there.

Abnormal Defiance

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While it’s normal for kids to suffer from things like the terrible two’s and teenage moods, there is a difference between typical outbursts or tantrums and extenuating acts of defiance. Is your child becoming violent, threatening, or a danger to themselves? If so, it’s time to call in the professionals. They will have tools to help. Whether your child has an issue with mental health or is acting in an age-appropriate way, it’s best to find out so you can better help them through awkward phases.

Always call both your child’s doctor and a therapist if your child is engaging in self-harm activities like cutting, substance abuse (even suspected), or not eating right. These things could be signs of bigger problems including bullying, teen relationship violence, issues with identity, and even abuse.

Suspected Abuse

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If you have any reason to suspect that your child has been a victim of mental, sexual, or physical abuse; you should call a therapist immediately. Even if your child denies it, early intervention and getting to the root of the problem now will go a long way in helping to support your child through a difficult situation.

While it’s painful to watch your child struggle with any issue, you will feel more empowered when working with a team to help them manage whatever difficulties they are facing. From talk therapy to medications, therapists are trained to help with any issue that may arise for children of all ages. They will not only serve as a resource for your child but your entire family too. Don’t be afraid to reach out.