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Four Signs Your Child May Need Counseling

Four Signs Your Child May Need Counseling

Like everyone else, children may certainly be in need of counseling at some point in their young lives. Unfortunately, children often lack the vocabulary and language necessary to communicate this need and rely on their caregivers to pay attention to signs. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the biggest red flags that your child may need counseling and affordable options to help them get the care they need.

Sudden changes in personality: Your child, who is normally quiet and introverted, begins acting out aggressively toward their siblings and peers. Your bubbly and extroverted child pulls away from friends and loved ones, talking and interacting much less than they used to. Bouts of unexpected crying, tantrums, or changes in attitude – all of these are signals that something may be going on with your child. This may be tied to an event (such as the loss of a loved one or other trauma), or there may be nothing specific that has caused the change. Regardless, having them meet with a counselor can shed light on what’s going on.

Acting out behaviors: These include “external” behaviors – fighting, violence towards animals or property, arguing, declined academic performance, the things we can see a child struggling with. These can also include “internal” behaviors – shyness, introversion, self-harming actions or talk. While some children may be more prone to these kinds of behaviors than others, when they impact the child’s quality of life or pose a risk to others, counseling is the option to pursue.

Regression: This means developmental regression – children who were potty-trained who suddenly aren’t; children that were talking who stop; or, children who reach any developmental milestone then lose that ability. While mild developmental regression can be normal, if milestone achievement reverses, it can mean a need for counseling, especially for very young children.

Somatic complaints: This is another helpful indicator for young children, although youth of any age may experience these issues. Because children often can’t verbalize their feelings, they may present with physical symptoms, such as stomachaches, headaches, trouble sleeping, and others when under stress. If these are chronic or worsening, and medical reasons have been ruled out, counseling is a good next step.

If you do decide to find counseling for your child, there are lots of affordable options available. For those with health insurance, follow your insurance company’s protocols for having mental health care approved for your child (either through self-referral or through your primary care manager). For those without this coverage, consider applying for Medicaid for your child (if eligible) or reaching out to community counseling centers to get your child the care they need.

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Jennifer N.
Posted on 10/08/2017 by Jennifer N.

Jennifer is a writer for OpenCounseling. She has worked at a number of state and non-profit organizations, providing counseling, training, and policy development



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