During difficult life events, or when dealing with mental health disorders, therapy can be a powerful tool. This is true for both adults as well as children. However, it can be difficult to know when a child needs therapy, or what type of therapy might help them. If your child has been involved in the following situations, consider how therapy can help your child.
When Does a Child Need Therapy? 6 Situations
Your child might cope with the following situations effectively, and it might not seem like your child needs therapy. However, taking part in therapy at a young age can give your child valuable skills for managing their thoughts and feelings. Even if your child doesn’t need therapy now, the skills they gain can help them later. It’s better to give your child the opportunity to talk with a therapist, even if they don’t need to, rather than risk silent suffering.
1. They Have Trouble Socializing
Making friends and socializing are essential to your child’s development and happiness. Social skills continue to be essential all through life, and developing strong social skills early on will help your child enormously. If your child has trouble socializing and making friends, therapy can help. Your child might simply be shy, and needs therapy to help boost their confidence. Or, your child may have trouble interpreting the needs of others, and therapy can help them understand.
2. They Have Frequent Angry Outbursts
Many children have occasional tantrums and every child gets angry from time to time. However, if your child’s anger is frequent and intense, it can hinder their ability to make friends, succeed in school or enjoy hobbies. A child needs therapy if angry outbursts hinder their lives or become violent towards others or themselves. A child therapist can teach your child about anger management techniques and how to express anger constructively.
3. They Have Suffered Abuse
If a child has suffered abuse of any sort, therapy should be a priority. A number of disorders, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and many others are linked to abuse, and therapy can help to prevent these disorders from becoming intense. A child may need therapy to help them express their feelings, talk about what happened, and keep them from internalizing guilt, shame, anger or powerlessness.
4. Following a Divorce or Separation
Change is difficult for all of us, but it is especially difficult for children. Divorce or separation is one of the biggest changes that can occur in a child’s life. Even if your child appears to cope with the situation well, therapy can help them to express their feelings and keep them from bottling up frustration, guilt, or anger. Therapy can also help them to understand the situation better and maintain the stability in their lives.
5. Moving to a New City
Families move for many reasons; to be closer to relatives, move into a bigger space, get a better job. This might be an exciting, welcome change for your child, or it might be unexpected and jarring. Or, your child may have mixed feelings about it. Talking over these feelings with a therapist can help your child make more sense of the situation, and restore their feeling of stability and safety.
6. Dealing with a Death in the Family
A death in the family is difficult for anyone, no matter their age. For some children, it may be their first time dealing with loss. This can be difficult to understand, and it can bring about many disorienting questions and fears. In this situation, a child needs therapy to help them understand death, express their feelings in a healthy way, and return to their routine.
It’s difficult to know when a child needs therapy. Some children may appear outwardly to deal with a situation well, but they might be struggling on the inside. A child therapist can provide coping strategies as well as a listening ear to help your child express themself. If your child is dealing with any of the above situations, consider working with a child therapist.