There’s a saying that ‘children are our future.’ But being a child is not always sunshine and rainbows. Children also go through stressful situations. That’s all a part of growing up. Well, not all the time.
Sure, some bumps in the road are normal experiences for a child, such as difficulties in school or occasional fights with friends. However, it’s important to remember that children aren’t immune to overwhelming emotions and problems. They can experience things that are difficult for them to understand and process.
Mental health issues may be more difficult to detect in children because some symptoms could be considered growing up. These include misbehavior, tantrums, and inattentiveness. Sometimes, mental health illnesses, like depression and anxiety, could be avoided if they only receive proper treatment earlier.
When your child is experiencing issues that they find difficult to cope with, therapy can help detect the child’s underlying issues. There are many other benefits to therapy for your child. Read on to know more!
Therapy Improves Communication Skills
There are times when a child may feel consistent sadness, hopelessness, or low self-esteem. Often, children find it difficult to understand or describe these emotions. They might not know how they are feeling or why they are feeling that way. As a result, they may bottle up their feelings.
When your child isn’t opening up to you about what they’re feeling, don’t take it as them distrusting or not loving you. It also doesn’t mean that you are a bad parent. They might find it difficult or embarrassing to talk about.
Therapists are trained to get your child to talk about what they’re going through. These professionals can help them discuss and work through their emotions. Through different activities and methods, children will learn to communicate their feelings and handle their emotions better. Therapy provides them a safe space to process their thoughts and emotions.
Therapy Helps With Mental Health Issues
Statistics show that as many as 1 in 6 children in the United States between the ages of 6 and 17 have mental health disorders. But the frightening truth is that almost half of them don’t receive the proper treatment. These mental illnesses include ADHD, depression, OCD, anxiety, disruptive behavior disorders, and trauma-related disorders.
Mental health issues are difficult to detect. Some symptoms to watch out for are inability to focus, constant irritability, violent tendencies, changes in sleep patterns or eating habits, and reclusiveness.
If you feel that your child is exhibiting unusual behavior or observing changes in their behavior, it would be beneficial to seek a therapist. Some conditions, such as depression and bipolar disorder, may run in the family. Seeking a professional to assess your child’s symptoms will determine the proper treatment your child needs to ensure their health and safety. Early intervention is key.
Therapy Teaches Healthy Coping Mechanisms
Children may sometimes experience things that no child deserves to go through. These could be family or school problems, health issues, bullying, or traumatic events such as abuse, divorce, and losing a loved one.
There are also situations where a child might find it hard to adjust, such as moving to a new place or facing natural disasters. While these experiences are not always traumatic or difficult, children do not have the maturity or life experience to cope with such events. As such, they may need professional help to get through these tough times.
Different factors also affect a child’s resilience. Some of these include age, gender, and genetics. For example, younger children may find it easier to cope with their parents’ separation than older children, who often understand the situation better but not enough to process their emotions properly. So how a child copes should not be overlooked.
Therapy helps children develop problem-solving skills and healthy coping mechanisms that they can apply in life. It helps them reframe their mindsets and thought processes, allowing them to work through their problems effectively.
Therapy Develops Life Skills
Therapy is not only beneficial for getting children through current difficulties and dealing with mental health issues. It also equips them with lifelong skills that will help them in the long run.
For example, cognitive behavioral therapy is focused on teaching children specific skill sets. It teaches them how to assess their problems, set realistic goals, develop step-by-step processes to achieve those goals, and track their progress. Meanwhile, play therapy teaches children healthy coping mechanisms, problem-solving skills, empathy, and responsibility.
By teaching them how to assess their problems and process their emotions, children develop their emotional intelligence and learn healthy coping strategies. Their confidence also develops as therapists offer support and positive affirmation. Therapists might also teach mindfulness and breathing—two essential for mental, emotional, and physical health.
Does Your Child Need Therapy?
There’s still a lot of stigma surrounding therapy and mental illnesses. But it will never be more important than ensuring that your child gets the help they need. You know your child best. If you notice anything unusual or worrying about them, reach out to a professional. Know that they also want what’s best for your child and want to help.
Choosing a therapist for your child is important to find someone who fits well with them. You want someone that your child can trust and feel comfortable with. Therapy benefits children; it also teaches parents how to help their children healthily and productively. When seeking out therapy, make sure to communicate with their therapist. Show your support and attentiveness to your child’s situation by asking questions and being actively involved in the process.
There are still many ways for you to help your child outside therapy. You can be more open and supportive. Spending quality time with your child is a great way of showing you support them. With that, also try to be patient and gentle with them. They may need this more than you think. So praise them when they do a good job, and encourage them when they don’t.
Parents always want what’s best for their children, so it’s important to know what your child may be going through. Mental health issues aren’t as readily visible as physical conditions, so parents may still find it hard to notice that something is amiss. So don’t be afraid to connect with therapists and experts. After all, your child deserves a happy, healthy childhood.