How Do I Know?

Cathi Cohen, LCSW

How Do I Know if My Child Needs Help? 

In the realm of frequently asked questions, “How do I know that my child needs counseling?” is probably #1. Children go through all kinds of highs and lows in their journeys to adulthood. Conflicts and struggles are a natural bi-product of navigating through developmentally appropriate hurdles along the way. It’s typical for your teenager to be moody, even irascible at times. Suffused in hormones, he may strike out against you as he thrashes about in search of defining himself. So, how do you know when your concerns and frustrations with your teenager are signs that you need the outside help of a counseling professional? Similarly with younger children, it is not out of the ordinary for an elementary school age child to feel insecure and needy at times. He might need a night light in his room in order to fall asleep or some extra reassurance before attending a birthday party. It’s not unusual for an elementary school age child to complain about being teased at school. So, how do you know when your child has moved beyond typical childhood fears and social concerns to more intense issues that require outside help? Take a look at the list of questions below. If you answer “yes” to any of them, professional help may benefit your child. Keep in mind, there are no hard and fast rules about when it’s time for counseling. Parenting is THE most difficult job there is. Your child doesn’t have to have any of the warning signs I’ve listed below for you to want professional guidance or support on the topics that concern you most.

Is it Time to Get Extra Help for Your Child?

Is your child bullied at school?
Does your child struggle to read social signals effectively?
Is your child perfectionistic?
Is your child having trouble sleeping in his/her own bed at night?
Does your child avoid school?
Does your child have fears and worries that restrict his/her life?
Does your child avoid interaction with others?
Does your child get stuck on certain thoughts or behaviors for long periods of time?
Does your child experience panic attacks?
Is your child performing poorly in school?
Does your child have few relationships?
Is your child spending too much time in his/her room alone?
Does your child fly off the handle frequently?
Does your child have severe body image issues?
Has your child gained or lost a lot of weight (in the last six months)?
Does your child complain of frequent headaches and stomachaches?
Has your child threatened to hurt him/herself?
Does your child exhibit self-injurious behavior i.e. cutting, burning?
Does your child abuse drugs and/or alcohol?
Does your child act out sexually?
There is help out there. You don’t need to go through the trials and tribulations of parenthood alone. Let us know if we can help.