does your child need counselling?

Parenting doesn’t come with a manual. You learn parenting through trials and errors, personal experiences and advice from other parents. However, there may be instances when things go completely haywire and out of your hands.

Your children may go through a phase where they start behaving outside the normal boundaries at their age. Or, they may feel utterly lost, confused and helpless. No matter how hard you try, you are unable to find the root cause of the problem or find an appropriate solution to their behavioural shifts.

As hard as it may sound or you want to deny it, your children may need professional counselling or therapy in such circumstances. Now, how and when do you know this? Well, here are some red flags to observe.

Prolonged Anxiety or Depression

As kids get older, they tend to become more aware of the happening in their surroundings. They start fearing and worrying, especially if they go through a major life-changing event (death in the family, separation of parents, new school/city/country, external situations such as COVID-19 pandemic or natural/manmade disaster). It is very natural for them to feel lonely, sad, angst, anxious, irritated, hopeless or clingy. But, if these emotions persist for more than a few months, start hampering their daily routine or lead to suicidal thoughts, it is a sign to visit a counsellor.

Disinterest and Social Withdrawal

It normal for children to lose interest in some activities or become recluse from time to time. But a warning sign shows up when they continuously stay cooped up in their room, refuse to spend time with family and friends, stop stepping out of the home and even prefer to have their meals alone. If all your attempts to pull them out of social isolation doesn’t work, it’s time to seek help from a therapist.

Negative Change in Behaviour

Look out for the signs of sudden defiant changes in their behaviour. They may frequently argue, whine, rebel, tell lies, indulge in verbal fights or show a defensive attitude at the most trivial occasions. They may issue threats to run away from the home, steal money or skip school. Some changes might also become prominent outside the home. You may start receiving behavioural complaints from their school, neighbours and parents of friends. Such scenarios are an indication of the need for therapy.

Physical Harm and Violence

When children are unable to cope with their emotions or find a suitable outlet to release the negative feelings, they may resort to some kind of physical harm and violence. They may purposefully start inflicting self-harm such as hitting, biting, kicking, cutting/scratching/digging/marking the skin, pulling hair or banging their head against the wall or floor. On some occasions, they may even display violent behaviour such as bullying, threatening or beating up other kids; hurting or killing animals; setting fires; damaging property and using some weapons. This behaviour calls for urgent and immediate attention from counsellors.

Non-Age-Appropriate Habits

If your children have started underage smoking, drinking, taking drugs or engaging in sexual activities, then nothing is more troublesome for parents. If they are not quitting these habits despite repeated conversations or warnings from you, it is advisable to take them to a counsellor.

These situations are as difficult for parents as they are for children. But, any kind of denial would not resolve the matter. You need to accept that your children need behavioural therapy and meet a counsellor, even if it is not what you expected during your parenting journey. After all, nothing is more important than your children’s well-being.

You can reach out to a child counsellor or therapist here.

About Smita Omar

Smita is an ex banker who voluntary said adiós to a high flying career to explore the rocky yet beautiful terrain of motherhood. When she is not busy juggling between her naughty daughter and foodie husband, you can find her donning the hat of a freelance content developer-editor to keep her sanity intact. She has been a Work-From-Home-Mother for 8 years and turns to meditation when the going gets tough.

  1. Vanshaj Chaudhary 3 years ago

    I feel parenting has become more difficult for our generation. Bullying, cyber threats, excessive media exposure – all these issues were never faced by our parents.

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