Early Childhood Counseling
As a parent, it can be difficult to know the right time to seek counseling for your child. Just like adults, children can experience mental hardships that manifest into behavioral issues.
Some people believe that children cannot experience complex emotions like depression or anxiety, but this is untrue. The difference is that children do not know how to express their emotions the same way as adults, and their feelings may cause them to act in frustrating and confusing ways.
Child’s counseling is designed to help children develop and grow. Children’s counselors help their clients reach important developmental milestones and achieve emotional and mental stability.
How Do I Know if My Child Needs Counseling?
Approximately 20 percent of children in the United States suffer from a mental illness every year. Life events may cause a child to experience significant emotional distress such as the death of a family member, divorce, moving to a new state, abuse, poverty and bullying.
Just like adults typically adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms, children tend to have behavioral issues and outbursts when they are struggling with their mental health. Some signs that you may want to take your child to therapy include:
- Being frequently angered and lashing out
- Having tantrums daily, being inconsolable
- Experiencing frequent nightmares
- Unexplained drop in school performance
- Becoming socially withdrawn and isolated
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Harming others or animals, and making threats
Children tend to express their toughest feelings nonverbally, even when they are able to speak and communicate well. Typically, children do not have the ability to identify and interpret certain emotions. A therapist can help your child learn how to understand their thoughts and feelings better while developing healthy ways to handle them.
Does Counseling Help Children?
Children may not always feel comfortable talking about how they feel. They may fear being judged, or they might be embarrassed by their own emotions. A therapist provides a judgement-free zone that gives children the space they need to express themselves in ways that make sense to them.
Child’s counseling includes a variety of activities that help children develop important skills. They may learn about mindfulness and how to use their breathing to calm themselves; they could learn about emotions, draw their feelings, map their thoughts and communicate through play therapy.
In therapy, children can learn important coping strategies that stick with them for the rest of their lives. From stress management to emotional regulation, therapy helps children learn how their emotions influence their behavior, and how they can control themselves better, even when they’re feeling angry or sad.
Therapy can also help children recover from trauma. Untreated, trauma can lead to mental illness in adulthood including depression and anxiety disorders. Seeking help early in life is the best way to help your child heal and develop resilience.