When Should Parents Seek Therapy for Their Children

By Gabi Granoff, PsyD

As a parent, you are your child’s biggest support. Only you can understand your child’s needs and deepest desires, their biggest fears, and most untapped talents. You may even dream about what they will achieve in the future. No parent wants to see their child struggle, and many will work hard to ensure that their child has the emotional resources to manage the difficulties that life so often brings. But how do you know when your child needs more support than what you can offer as a parent? There may be moments in life when parents no longer have all the answers to their child’s challenges, and need to seek extra support from a therapist or counselor.

“When?” is a difficult decision, and one that requires forethought and bravery. You may have concerns about how therapy can be helpful, how long your child will need to be in therapy, or how to talk to your child about going to therapy for the first time.

Bringing such concerns to a therapist for the first time is an important step in your child’s journey towards wellness.

Everyone’s experience is different, and there are a variety of reasons to consider therapy for your child. Some of them are as follows:

  • Your child has shown a sudden behavioral change
  • Your child seems more angry, scared, sad, irritable, hopeless than usual
  • Your child is using/abusing alcohol, food, shopping, sex …to cope
  • Your child has experienced a significant loss or change in the family structure
  • Your child has experienced a traumatic event
  • Your child is having a hard time adjusting to a life transition
  • Your child has regressed or is having difficulties in their daily functioning and habits (sleeping, eating, toilet training)
  • Your child has many fears or thoughts of death and dying
  • You are in an unhealthy relationship that is negatively impacting your emotional health and safety
  • You want to break unhealthy patterns in your relationships
  • You are engaging in self-injurious behaviors

CTC is happy to help you with identifying the right resources and providing referrals.  Feel free to call us to consult about your particular situation. We have a wide range of resources within our practice and are networked with other practitioners across Chicago.