Childhood and adolescence can be a confusing time for both children and for parents. At times, you may be staring at your child wondering: Is that really my child? Moods swing fast, behaviors quickly, and it can be hard to know what is part of growing up and what is something that needs extra attention. You want to be a supportive parent, and make sure they get the help they need, but you don’t want to overreact either. I get it, and I understand a lot of parents wonder: How do I know when it’s time to schedule my child with a therapist? If you notice one or more of these signs, it might be time to check in with a therapist.
The challenge you are noting (mood, behavior, self-esteem, etc.) is affecting your child or teen in multiple places. If you are starting to notice that your young person is struggling with a specific challenge in a variety of places: school, home, work, with friends, with family, sports, extracurriculars, other social arenas, etc., you may want to consider meeting with a counselor. It is typical for young people to show a little more emotion and boundary pushing at home, or for them to struggle at school sometimes. You may even be noticing that they keep it together all day at school but struggle at home only. Sometimes challenges spill over into several different environments, and then it is definitely time to seek outside help. Even if they are only struggling in one area, but it has been an excessive time, you may still consider calling a therapist.
Your child excessively worries. Does your child frequently ask you about what is going to happen? Do you notice them stressing about the future, the safety of themselves or others, social situations or maybe a specific fear? Anxiety can ripple out and affect people in crippling ways. If left untreated, it can become more detrimental overtime. It is important for your young person to learn what triggers their anxiety and to be taught skills to understand and cope with their feelings. An appointment with a therapist will also allow you time to learn more about anxiety and how to support your child on their journey to address their worries.
Your hear your child say things like “I’m worthless,” “No one likes me,” “I don’t matter.”