Does your child need therapy?
Are your child’s fears and anxieties getting too much for him? It could be time to get some outside help. A psychologist advises.
Children of all ages struggle from time to time with psychological issues. Some are minor and will disappear on their own, such as common fears of the dark (and the associated monsters), anxiety after being dropped off at school, thumb-sucking, and bed-wetting.

There is sometimes a need for concern, however, especially if anxiety, fears and associated behaviours continue for too long or if a sudden change or traumatic event occurred in your child's life. Each child reacts differently to stress and a situation that one child has no problem dealing with can send another child over the edge.  

Reasons to see a therapist

It is common to seek help for the following:

  • School stress such as not coping with homework, test anxiety, bullying or peer pressure.  Usually the therapist will teach your child coping techniques, share some advice and help them deal with any emotional issues associated with the problem.
  • Phobias and fears that aren't going away.
  • Dealing with family issues such as moving to a new town (and school), divorce, serious illness or new siblings (either through remarriage or birth).
  • Death of a family member, friend or pet.
  • Diagnosis of an illness they have (for example, if your child is diagnosed with diabetes).
  • Any form of abuse.
  • Developmental delays (speech, language, toilet training, walking) or learning problems (such as ADD).
  • Mood and emotional disturbances such as depression, eating disorders, high anxiety, etc.  
  • Alcohol or drug abuse.
  • After any traumatic event (such as a car crash).

Signs that your child needs help

There are often issues that your child is battling to deal with that you aren't aware of.  In these cases it helps to be aware of altered behaviour, mood, sleep, appetite, academic performance or social interaction.  This is what you need to look out for (remember to think about what is out of the ordinary for YOUR child):

  • Sudden withdrawal
  • Sulking behaviour
  • Tearfulness or sadness
  • Excessive anger or aggressive behaviour (biting, screaming, kicking, hitting)
  • Significant drop in grades
  • Decreased interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Changes in appetite
  • Insomnia or excessive sleepiness
  • Mood swings (happy one minute, upset the next)
  • Constant physical complaints (headache, stomach ache, nausea) that your doctor can't find a medical reason for.
What kind of therapist should you look for?

Has your child had therapy? Was it helpful?

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