Children are not just small versions of adults. Even adolescents are very different from adults. If we try to understand their problems from an adult perspective, we will often feel no matter what we try, we just can't get the best result. Children and adolescents often have fear, emotions, stress and all sorts of problems that most adults remember dimly or do not understand at all. A child's body, mind, emotions, coping skills, way of viewing the world, and way of viewing themselves change at a very rapid pace. Additionally, cultural values are evolving at a rapid pace. It is no wonder parents find it sometimes impossible to understand the unique challenges their children face.
At certain ages children seem to have more problems than others. Sometimes these problems are not much to worry about and go away quickly. They are almost like a minor rash or a cold. However, sometimes these problems are the beginning of a much larger issue and a parent would be wise to seek professional help in the same way they would if a child's rash became rather severe or looked concerning. Most times when serious problems occur they could have been prevented if appropriate treatment had been provided early on to the child. Here are seven questions to ask when you are deciding if you should seek professional assistance or not.
How long has the problem or issue been around in one form or another? (Less severe problems usually resolve themselves within a few weeks or so);
How intense is the problem or issue or how unusual or abnormal does it seem to be? (Even brief issues can be important if they are very intense or unusual);
Has the child or adolescent started to have problems at school or day care (School officials or school performance changes can often alert you to problems you might otherwise overlook);
Has the child started to have problems with their friends or have they recently changed their group of friends? (Again, this depends upon what problems they are having with friends, how long the problems exist, and how intense, unusual or concerning the problems are);
Has the child started to have problems at home? Home problems are often the hardest for families to admit, but usually the most important issues to resolve;
Is the child having any behaviors problems you consider significant or recent problems sleeping, eating, or any other concerning physical or emotional issues? (Significant behavior problems are usually a good indicator that something more is going on with the child);
Has there been any significant changes or events in the child's life? (i.e., divorce, death of a loved one, moves, school changes, family problems).
Remember most problems can be resolved in a short period of time with the help of a trained professional. Child Counseling is a highly effective tool that you can use to help your child and your family resolve issues quickly and effectively. This can also save your family a lot of time, frustration and wasted energy. In addition, counseling can drastically limit the potential for more severe problems in the future.