How to Decide if Your Child Needs a Therapist

Sometimes children need to speak with a therapist, the same way adults sometimes need therapy. The therapist can help them talk through stressful times in their lives, especially when there has been a big change. Going through a divorce, a death in the family, or other big events can cause a child to withdraw or have trouble coping with the overwhelming emotions that sometimes occur. A therapist can help guide your child through the trouble and help them learn how to develop coping mechanisms for the future. Because they are trained to help kids work through these kinds of issues, they can often do a better job than you can to ease your child’s worries.

Most parents wouldn’t consider therapy for their children for common every day stress, but every child is different. Parents can follow these guidelines to help them decide if their children need more than just parental comforting.

Follow Your Instincts

You know your child better than anyone else. If you feel like there is something troubling your child that needs to be dealt with by a professional, you should begin looking into possible therapists. Try talking things over with your child first, and make sure the child doesn’t feel like there is anything wrong with visiting a therapist. Trust your instincts. A parent can usually tell when something is deeply wrong, or if the problem is something that can be worked through without any help from a therapist.

Look for Warning Signs

There are some behaviors you can watch for if you are wondering whether or not to take your child to see a therapist. Consider a therapist if your child suddenly withdraws from social interaction and becomes sullen. Unexplained periods of crying are also a sign to pay attention to. If your child normally brings home good grades and the grades have quickly fallen off, a therapist might be able to help find out why. Basically, any dramatic change in mood or behavior is a sign that there is something wrong that needs to be addressed. Not all behavior changes require the help of a therapist, but the changes should be discussed with the child as soon as possible.

Developmental Delays

When a child’s development is delayed in any way it can be traumatic. Speech development and physical development are important for a child’s social well-being. If your child has had some delays, it might be a good idea to enlist the aid of a therapist to make sure your child is comfortable with the results of the delays. Even younger children can be soothed by talking through their problems with a therapist, and the therapist can help them understand that the delays are not permanent. With more serious developmental problems, a child therapist can help your child learn to find ways to fit in with his or her friends more comfortably.

Speak to a Teacher or Daycare Provider

Before you take your child to see a therapist, you might want to speak with the child’s teacher or daycare provider. These adult professionals spend a great deal of time with your child on a daily basis, and they may know things about the child’s behavior that you might not. They may also be able to shed light on possible reasons for your child’s mood swings or behavior changes so that you can help your child work through them without the aid of a therapist.

Jessica Bosari writes for TherapistSchools.com. The site helps therapy students find the right schools and answer important career questions like, “What should I expect in group therapy salaries?”