- Lance Halpern
Is My Son or Daughter Too Young for Counseling?
"Is my son or daughter too young for counseling"?
Parenting can be a challenging business, trust me, I know! Every once in a while, children’s needs can seem too overwhelming. That's when some extra support and guidance may be needed. Unfortunately, parents may find themselves frustrated when looking for professional support to address issues concerning their children. Children have their own specific developmental and emotional milestones that make additional concerns even more overwhelming when they surface. Helpful relatives, supportive friends and knowledgeable teachers and pediatricians are sometimes not enough for parents who have specific concerns about their child or teen's emotional well being. At times, those around you may not take your concerns as seriously as you do.
Children, like any of us, have troubles and worries. Sometimes their troubles and worries are bigger than they know how to express or manage. A child may have experienced separation or divorce of their parents, the loss of a loved one or even a pet, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, an alcoholic or addicted parent. They may be struggling in school with academics, or struggling with their relationships with friends or family members. These are all common issues that many children struggle with.
Young children with behavior or family difficulties don't always feel comfortable in what is known as traditional "talk" in regards to parental communication. Because children do not always have the words to explain what is troubling them, Counseling, can help them sort out issues through play, art, movement, storytelling, and sand play. Guided, therapeutic play, art, movement, sand play and storytelling along with Cognitive Behavioral and Solution Focused therapies are all effective methods that child therapists use with children.
Some reasons to seek counseling support for your young child:
* Inability to separate from parents
* Anxious or fearful
* Repeated, ritualistic behavior
* Withdrawal from family and friends
* Lack of self-confidence
* Been bullied or is bullying others
* Aggressive behavior
* Lack of interest in activities
* Lack of motivation at school
* Frequent crying
* Refusal to comply with rules and expectations
The greatest gift a parent can give to a child is the gift of an open and stress-free mind. But of course to pass it on, in this current economic climate makes it rather difficult to do at times. With that said…. It is pretty impossible for a parent at times not to feel stressed, hassled, fearful or downright depressed, such emotions can trickle down to your young child and in turn overwhelms them furthering the possibility of an inability to communicate their own feelings of worry and confusion effectively. Let counseling(regardless of a child’s age) be a source of support to you during any challenging time. Counseling a child in a time of need is not to be used to tell you what you should do, but rather to assist you in gaining information about your child’s needs and in turn, should provide you with strategies that can make a difference in the life of your child.
Lance Halpern, Ed.S., LPC.
Certified School Psychologist N.J./N.Y. & Licensed Professional Counselor