Like adults, children also experience depression, anxiety, and grief. Studies show that about 7.4% of American children aged 3-17 years have been diagnosed with anxiety, while 3.2% have been diagnosed with depression. If your child has major behavioral or emotional problems, they may need to see a mental health counselor urgently. A child counselor is highly experienced in assessing, diagnosing, and treating psychological distress, mental health conditions, and adjustment issues in children and teens.
When Do You Take Action?
As you know, children deal with a wide range of stressors, including transitions throughout childhood, school stress, and bullying. In most cases, they are scared or embarrassed to tell you about some of these issues. So it's not easy to notice when your child has a mental health condition unless you are keenly aware of what's going on. Sometimes, changes in your child's personality is normal as they transition from childhood to adulthood. In other instances, the changes could be caused by traumatic experiences. Thus, it's advisable to see a child counselor whenever you notice unexplained changes in behavior in your young one.
Here are the four main signs that your child needs to see a counselor:
1. Defiant Behavior
If your child becomes unusually defiant, it's an alarming sign that all is not okay. It might be a sign of oppositional defiant disorder. In most cases, your son or daughter becomes uncooperative and hostile towards teachers, parents, and peers.
Mainly, defiant behavior manifests in the following ways:
- Always questioning rules
- Frequent temper tantrums
- Arguing about almost everything
- Speaking unkindly or harshly
- Being increasingly vindictive
- Intentionally doing things to annoy you or others
2. A Sudden Change in Habits
Psychological distress in children mainly manifests through changes in eating or sleeping habits. While some children sleep too much, others don't sleep at all. Some children may frequently consume large amounts of food while others don't eat all. All these signs are red flags that your young one needs to see a child counselor.
3. Engaging in Destructive Behavior
If your son or daughter engages in repeated destructive behaviors, they need a mental health counselor. The common behaviors to watch include:
- Reckless sexual behavior
- Alcohol and substance abuse
- Acts of self-mutilation
4. Sudden Changes in Emotions
Apart from changing habits, you need to watch changes in your child's everyday interests. If they are depressed, their life is usually characterized by excessive sadness and worrying. In other instances, they withdraw from social situations and live in isolation. These negative emotions, if left untreated, lead to suicidal ideation and feelings of self-harm.
Just like adults, your child also goes through difficult moments whereby they need guidance, help, or someone to listen to. Sometimes, what appears to be a normal childhood difficulty might be a sign of a mental health condition. So, you need to reach out to a child counselor urgently. For more information, contact a mental health counselor firm, such as Compassion Counseling Inc, to learn more.Share