Overall, mental health issues affect a child’s quality of life. Research done by the Government of Canada, found that about 5% of the Canadian school-age population were diagnosed with ADHD. Further research shows the increasing rate of anxiety in children in youth. ADHD and other mental health disorders can result in poor school performance, behavioural problems, and difficulties with relationships.
Your child’s mental health is important, and when their day to day functioning is affected you may start to worry.
A myriad of mental health disorders affect children nationwide. If you are concerned about your child’s behaviour, it might be time to get your paediatrician or family doctor involved. A pediatrician may recommend that you take your child to see a counsellor or therapist.
At first you might be unsure as to how a counsellor can help your child. After reading this article, you’ll understand what therapy can do for your child’s wellbeing.
Identify what the problem is
It’s already pretty difficult trying to figure out what’s wrong when we feel bothered. Now imagine how much more difficult it is to find out what’s bothering a child. Although, there are various signs that your child may show when they are in distress. Different stressors can cause issues with your child’s learning and development, behaviour, or emotions.
This is why watching for any warning signs is important. If you feel is child’s behaviour is out of character or concerning, trust your gut. Seek some support for you, and your child, because your child might not always be able to tell you if something is bothering them.
Children are not typically able to articulate themselves in ways that would benefit them, or in ways that would help us, as parents, really be able to understand what is going on with them. Quite often children’s distress will come in forms that can be misconstrued as ‘misbehaviour’ or ‘acting out behaviour’. This poses as an obstacle for both the parents and child. The child will end up feeling unheard, while the parents are often left feeling frustrated not knowing what to do.
This is where your pediatrician or counsellor can be helpful. Behavioural problems are handled best by mental health professionals. Professionals that specialize in children’s therapy understand the deeper reasons behind how a child chooses to communicate. In addition, a counsellor will have various tools to help your children feel comfortable, open up, and teach them tools to help support them. Examples of this are through social stories, art activities, art therapy, and play.
Create a plan for treatment
Once your counsellor gets a better picture of what your children is dealing with in terms of learning and development, behaviour, or emotions, then they’ll be able to craft a plan for treatment. There are many ways a mental health professional can help your child.
Your counsellor will likely suggest a combination of family sessions, parents’ sessions, and individual therapy sessions with your child. With the help of a mental health professional, your child can work through these issues, and the whole family can feel empowered.
A common method of treatment is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). The aim of CBT is to restructure the way your child thinks into a more positive and productive mindset. Your child will learn skills and techniques to equip in moments when they are distressed.
Parents and family members play a big part in a child’s healing process. With strong skills and increased knowledge, it is important that parents are involved in the process of supporting the child. Without realizing it, and with the best of intentions, it’s not uncommon for parents to get caught in parenting traps or to feel overwhelmed and become reactive in their parenting. This is the main reason your counsellor may suggest family counselling, so that the positive work done in sessions is sustained.
When it comes to being a parent, you understand and care for your child. On the flip side, there could be moments when you have no idea what’s bothering them. In times like this, a mental health professional will always be able to help you and your child.
Identifying what the issue is, creating a plan for treatment, and maintaining progress and positivity are just a few ways a counsellor can help your child. Children who are suffering from mood disorders or behavioural issues will greatly benefit from the healing processes undertaken in therapy and children dealing with ADHD can often feel weight on their self-esteem.
It’s important to maintain the progress your child has made. This is why the counsellors at One Oak Counselling focus on working with both your child and family. Exploring the parent-child relationship, as well as the home environment will help your child overcome what’s putting them in distress. To learn more about how we can help you and your child, fill out the form below to get in contact with us.