You’ve realized your child is in need of counseling, now you have to talk to them about it. This may feel like a momentous task, especially if your child struggles with emotional regulation. Perhaps, you’re concerned they will be angry at you. Or, you just don’t want your child to think that there’s anything wrong with them. Whatever the reason, you’re anxious about having this conversation with your child and you could use some pointers.
As a parent, you have to manage your emotions surrounding sending your kid to child counseling
First things first, it’s likely that you’re more anxious about therapy than your child is. So, take a deep breath and remind yourself that counseling is a good thing for your child and your family. The goal of counseling is to help your child learn tools to cope with distress and feel better. This sets the stage for future success and pro-social behavior.
Secondly, let go of the stigma you may have about sending your child to therapy. It does not mean there’s something wrong with them. And it does not mean you’ve failed them as a parent. Lots and lots of kids get therapy for a wide variety of reasons. For example, you may consider therapy if your child is acting withdrawn, having trouble making friends, being bullied, coping with grief and loss, or adapting to parental divorce or separation. Now more than ever, we’re seeing children struggling with anxiety and depression as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. None of these situations indicate failure. They are normal things children go through, and their troublesome symptoms can be managed through counseling. Furthermore, when you find the right therapist or therapy team, counseling becomes a very positive and empowering thing.
So, now that you’re emotionally ready, let’s talk about some tips you can use when you’re talking to your child about going to counseling.
7 Tips for Talking to Your Kid About Child Counseling
Tip 1: Timing Is Important
Please don’t bring up child counseling during times of conflict or when your child is upset or escalated. For example, don’t bring up therapy when you are in the middle of a fight with your child. That makes it seem like a punishment. Your child will resist it and be angry about going. So pick a time when both you and your child are calm to discuss it.
Tip 2: Be Positive
Children have an innate ability to pick up on adult distress. When you approach them and seem worried or anxious they will assume something wrong and become fearful themselves. That’s not what you want.
Tip 3: Keep it Simple
When people are nervous, they often have a tendency to talk too much or over-explain. But, this can be frightening for a child. So, just keep the discussion short and simple. Use language that they can understand.
Tip 4: Explain who a therapist is and what they do.
Talking to a professional adult may seem frightening for a child. I mean, many adults don’t even like talking to strangers. So, I’m sure you can relate. Just tell them that a therapist is an adult friend who they can trust. And explain to them that they will help teach them skills to use when they’re upset.
Tip 5: Let them know what they can expect
Describe the type of therapy your child is going to receive. This may include therapies like play therapy, DBT, a social skills group, or family therapy. For instance, if your child is going to play therapy, you could tell them that they get to go play with a therapist in a playroom. Talk to them about the toys they could play with and tell them that they may even get to play games! Do your best to keep it light and exciting.
Tip 6: Encourage questions
Children are curious. They’ll likely have questions about what you tell them. Reassure them that questions are absolutely welcome. Be honest, tell them that if you don’t know the answer, you’ll do what you can to get it.
Tip 7: Be Open and Honest
Communication is an important part of any relationship. Especially in a parent-child relationship. Remind your kid that they can talk to you about any concerns they may have. Tell them that you want to hear their thoughts and value what they have to say.
Child Counseling at Wellview Counseling
If you live in the Atlanta area or the state of Georgia and are interested in child counseling we would love to speak with you further and answer any questions you may have. We specialize in offering high-quality play therapy, child counseling, and childhood trauma treatment in Roswell, GA.
To begin child counseling in Roswell, follow these steps:
- Reach out to our counseling clinic and schedule a consultation call with one of our therapists,
- Meet with a child therapist to ask any questions you may have about child therapy at Wellview Counseling
- Begin online counseling in Rosewell and take care of your mental health while practicing social distancing!
Other Therapy Services Offered at Wellview Counseling
Wellview Counseling is an Atlanta area therapy center that offers many mental health services to help you or your loved ones find healing and growth. Our therapy services include play therapy, child counseling, individual counseling, social skills groups for kids, therapy for postpartum anxiety and depression, anxiety treatment, trauma and PTSD treatment, chronic illness counseling, family therapy, and positive discipline parent education opportunities. Contact our Roswell, GA mental health clinic to learn more about online therapy and the many ways we can help you or your loved one.
About the Author: Therapist Ashley Bobo, LCSW
Ashley Bobo, LCSW is an Atlanta therapist who provides individual and family therapy to help with anxiety, depression, postpartum depression & anxiety, parent coaching, and other mental health concerns.
If you live in the Atlanta area (or anywhere in Georgia) and would like to begin counseling services for your child or anyone in your family, give us a call at 678-288-6221 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.