Does My Child Need Therapy

August 1, 2016

 

Significant life changes can often times trigger a change in your child’s behavior.  The impact of life changes such as a death in the family, military deployment of a parent, a move, divorce, etc. can produce challenges that our kids have difficulty coping with. 

In some cases, however, it's not as clear what's lead to a change in your child’s behavior.  If you kiddo seems sulky, withdrawn, acting out, aggressive, anxious, tearful, etc. it might be a good time to have your child seen by a professional.  These changes often seemingly come out of nowhere and can be alarming to parents. 

Signs that a child may benefit from seeing a licensed therapist include:

  • developmental delay in speech, language, or toilet training

  • learning or attention problems (such as ADHD)

  • behavioral problems (such as excessive anger, acting out, bedwetting or eating disorders)

  • a significant drop in grades, particularly if your child normally maintains high grades

  • episodes of sadness, tearfulness, or depression

  • social withdrawal or isolation

  • being the victim of bullying or bullying other children

  • decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities

  • overly aggressive behavior (such as biting, kicking, or hitting)

  • sudden changes in appetite (particularly in adolescents)

  • insomnia or increased sleepiness

  • excessive school absenteeism or tardiness

  • mood swings (e.g., happy one minute, upset the next)

  • development of or an increase in physical complaints (such as headache, stomachache, or not feeling well) despite a normal physical exam by your doctor

  • management of a serious, acute, or chronic illness

  • signs of alcohol, drug, or other substance use (such as solvents or prescription drug abuse)

  • problems in transitions (following separation, divorce, or relocation)

  • bereavement issues

  • custody evaluations

  • therapy following sexual, physical, or emotional abuse or other traumatic events

Kids who aren't yet school-age could benefit from seeing a developmental or clinical psychologist if there's a significant delay in achieving developmental milestones such as walking, talking, and potty training, and if there are concerns regarding autism or other developmental disorders.

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