Your child has been exhibiting maladaptive behaviors: outbursts, tantrums…just bad behavior in general. Initially you didn’t think much of it—it’s just a phase, right? But as weeks turn into months or years, you begin to realize that your child’s behavior is more long-term than the “phase” you originally thought it was. And you’re also realizing that your child may need counseling.
While it’s never too late to seek child counseling, you’ll achieve better outcomes if you call a counseling center as soon as your child shows those initial signs of aggression, anger, depression or anxiety. This is for a number of reasons:
1. Unhealthy coping mechanisms are easy to form…and hard to break. The time you spend wondering if your child needs therapy and waiting to see how their behavior patterns play out in the long-run is time that your child is practicing and reinforcing unhealthy coping mechanisms. Children don’t have the maturity to connect confusing emotions with events happening in the world around them. To cope, they become angry, aggressive, overreactive, withdrawn…behavior and tendencies you probably don’t want them suffering with long-term. Left unaddressed in an effective manner, these behaviors quickly become a child’s default coping mechanism. The sooner your child can get into counseling, the easier it is to replace unhealthy coping mechanisms with those that are more productive.
2. Bad behavior ebbs and flows. Often times, a child will act out for a few weeks…and then go back to being their typical, well-behaved self. However, all those unhealthy coping mechanisms are lying latent. It’s only a matter of time before they resurface—and when they do, the bar can be raised each time and they can be worse than before. Bad behavior, left untreated, will only get worse in time. Therapy helps stop that cycle and correct bad behaviors before they get too far out of control.
An important point to remember is that when your child acts out, they illicit some kind of reaction from you. This may or may not be intentional—albeit subconscious—on your child’s behalf. When your child exhibits maladaptive behaviors, learning to respond properly is as important as teaching your child to better cope with his or her feelings. Your child’s therapist works with your child only 50 minutes per week—you’re with them the majority of the time, and it’s important that you have enough take-home tools and information to support your child between sessions with their therapists.
At Creative Counseling Center, our therapists take an integrative approach to child counseling and parental coaching, ensuring that parents are provided tools and ways to support their child’s progress. We help parents understand exactly what they should (or should not) be doing to ensure their child continues to progress. No parent is perfect and every child is different. With that in mind, our therapists can help you tailor your parenting style to match your child’s unique needs.
Your child’s behavioral development is nuanced and complicated. We encourage you to seek counseling services—both for them and you—at the first sign of maladaptive behavior. This is the best way to ensure your child continues to grow and develop in a healthy direction. Taking a proactive approach to counseling—rather than reactive—can prevent a whole slew of behavioral struggles and mental health issues in the future…for both of you.
Do You Think You or Your Child Could Benefit from Counseling?
We are happy to offer a free phone consultation to all new clients. During your phone consultation you’ll be able to explain your unique circumstance, learn about the counseling services we offer, and determine whether it makes sense to schedule an in-person appointment with a member of our therapeutic team. Whether we believe counseling is a good fit for you or not, we’re happy to discuss your struggles and point you in the direction we feel is best for your needs.