Childhood is a time full of wonder and innocence. Kids explore things, make new friends and experiment with new ideas. But they also go through very tough stages in their lives which may require the help of a professional that specialises in counselling kids.
However, many parents, including guardians, are unsure when to seek counselling for the children under their care or if getting counselling is the right choice. Are you one of them?
Well, parental instincts have always been considered the best gauge for whether a child needs professional counselling. There is no one-size-fits-all method, but some signs may indicate when a problem warrants seeking professional help.
5 Signs Kids Need Counselling
Kids don’t always understand they need help. They may not use the words ‘help’ or ‘counselling’ or ‘therapy’, but their feelings and behaviours may be saying otherwise. Children often communicate how they feel in different ways, including:
Expressing Negative Thoughts and Feelings
When children have difficulty controlling anger, counselling can help them identify the reason behind it. This can help kids manage angry feelings in healthy and productive ways.
Some kids suffer from anxiety, including nervousness, apprehension or fear. Anxiety is a normal feeling that everyone experiences from time to time. In fact, some amount of anxiety is good because it helps people be alert and aware of their surroundings.
The problems begin when the amount of anxiety one feels becomes overwhelming and interferes with his daily functioning. Counselling can help children learn how to relax their bodies, so they don’t feel scared or worried all the time.
If your child is suffering from depression, counselling will help him work through these emotions without feeling completely overwhelmed by them. Counselling can also teach children to recognise the warning signs of becoming depressed, so they know when to ask for extra support before things get worse.
No Longer Engaging in Activities They Once Enjoyed
Have you noticed your child losing interest in many of his favourite extra-curricular activities? For example, he no longer plays the sports he likes or engages in hobbies that once seemed to be such a big part of his life. If he is, then it may not just be a phase, and it may be time to seek help.
According to experts, loss of interest in activities and/or loss of ability (i.e., sustaining focus) can lead to increased emotional distress in children. Hence, it is important to take your child to a professional right away to prevent the issue from worsening.
There are many possible reasons for this change. Answering the questions below can help you determine if it’s time to see a counsellor:
- How long has this been happening?
- Has your child complained about any difficulty sleeping?
- Does your child seem more irritable than usual?
- Are they having trouble concentrating at school?
These types of changes can all indicate a deeper issue that you should seek help for immediately. In most cases, one session will do, but some kids need more time with counsellors before things get better again.
Lying Regularly to Parents or Other Family Members
One lie doesn’t mean your child needs counselling. However, if you notice your kid is regularly lying to you and other family members, it’s important to realise that this behaviour can lead to trust issues down the line.
Admittedly, a child frequently lying does not always mean that counselling is needed. So, aside from frequent lying, look for other patterns of behaviours that are repeated over time and seem out of character.
Displaying Feelings of Hopelessness
Your child may be hopeless if he says things like:
- “I’m stupid.”
- “I can’t do anything right.”
- “I hate myself.”
If you hear these types of statements, it is possible that your child is depressed. But you have to keep in mind that, although kids who are depressed may feel hopeless and sad, a one-time unhappy comment doesn’t necessarily indicate a mood disorder.
It is different, though, if he is constantly feeling down and hopeless as well as sharing negative thoughts about himself and his life. These are definitely concerning —and something you should bring up with your child’s doctor as he may be suffering from depression or another type of mood disorder.
Aggression can be one of the most challenging behaviours to deal with in children. It requires a great deal of patience and diligence to understand the causes, as well as the possible solutions.
Parents must learn to recognise signs of aggression in their children. Early detection is critical because aggression often indicates underlying issues that need to be addressed. If left unresolved, aggressive behaviour can lead to more severe problems down the road and create potentially dangerous situations for kids, parents and others around them.
How to Get Kids Counselling in Dublin
Kids may need counselling if they show signs of depression or anxiety, worry excessively, have low self-esteem, are experiencing problems at school, have family issues (like a divorce), seem angry or aggressive or engage in self-harm.
If you observe any of these behaviours in your child, finding a professional counsellor should be a priority. The truth is that even if your kid doesn’t exhibit any of the usual telltale signs, but you suspect that he may be under pressure and not coping well with his daily life, seeking a professional’s help is highly recommended.
Studies show that counselling is a valuable tool that can help children get through emotional issues. Talking to a counsellor may enable them to understand what is going on and eventually start feeling better.
Admittedly, not knowing where to start is another issue many parents confront. Well, the first step is to look for a counsellor for kids. You can ask for recommendations from people you know. Alternatively, if you want to be discreet about it, you can search online.
When looking for a counsellor, gather as much information as you can about them. This is necessary even if the therapist was recommended by a friend or someone you trust.
Remember, various factors affect the effectiveness of the counselling sessions. Apart from the counsellor’s experience, client-counsellor relationship can also have an impact on it. So, in addition to reading reviews online or listening to testimonials from people you know, talk to the counsellor so you can assess if she is the right fit for your child.
Some clinics offer an initial phone consultation which you can use to gauge if the counsellor is the right one for your child. Alternatively, you can set an appointment with her, so you have ample time to ask questions and assess if she is the counsellor you are looking for.
When you talk to the counsellor, make sure you discuss your child’s specific needs and concerns. Also, make sure you ask any questions you might have so that you understand how to help your child through this process. Think about asking things like: What is counselling? What do kids learn in counselling? How often will I meet with my counsellor? Why do kids need counselling? Your counsellor should gladly answer any questions that come up in your meeting.
During this session, you can expect the counsellor to explain her process. She will also discuss how counselling works and what you should expect from it. After the session, you should have an idea of the competency of the counsellor and if she is the best one for your child.
Our society relies on the steady progress of each generation to advance and improve upon the last. Children represent the future of a healthy world, one in which kids are loved and well taken care of. However, not every child has a safe and loving upbringing, and they may need assistance at some point in their lives.
As parents or guardians, it is important to recognise evidence of potential emotional issues. This will help children receive counselling before developing any long-term emotional or behavioural problems that are difficult to correct later in life.
Are you looking for a counsellor in Dublin who specialises in kids counselling? We have a team of qualified and experienced counsellors who can help your child successfully navigate the emotional and mental challenges he is encountering. Call us on 01 5240708 or click here to book an appointment.