Watching your child struggle emotionally, socially or academically can be a very painful and frustrating experience. As a parent, you may feel concerned, guilty or helpless if you don’t have a clear understanding of how to help your child. Even further, if your child is moody, irritable, or disruptive, it can affect the whole family, creating imbalance and discord throughout your home.
Are you worried that your child suffers from heightened anxiety or depression?
- Have you noticed behavioral or emotional changes in your child, such as irritability, moodiness or withdrawal?
- Is your child highly self-critical or preoccupied with how others view him or her?
- Does your child struggle with changes to routine or attempt to avoid situations that he or she perceives as stressful?
- Do you wish you could help your child relax, have an easier time adjusting, and just be a kid?
Do you wish you could figure out the source of your child’s behavioral difficulties and develop an effective course of action?
- Does your child have difficulty tolerating disappointment, frustration or stress? Perhaps they throw tantrums or act out in aggressive or angry ways?
- Is creating and maintaining healthy rules and boundaries for your child a constant uphill battle?
How we plan to help…
Child counseling can be very helpful, and it can provide immediate relief for both you and your child. Our goal is to help you determine the root cause of your child’s struggles, help you gain a clear understanding about what is going on, and provide you with practical treatment options.
Treatment is personalized to your child’s unique needs, taking into consideration their temperament, developmental stage and personal strengths. Parents are provided with concrete tools, skills and strategies for creating a family environment that best supports both you as a parent and your child. Your child will learn to recognize why they feel certain ways in different situations. They will learn words to label and share their feelings in a constructive manner, while also developing skills to manage frustration, stress and disappointment. This can help your child think more positively and build confidence.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I tell if my child is just going through a phase or if the behavioral problems are cause for real concern?
What your child is experiencing may be a phase – or it may not be. If your child’s behavior is causing stress to him or her and your family, it’s best to be proactive. Early intervention has been proven to be highly effective in treating behavioral and emotional problems in children, and taking a proactive approach can help to correct behaviors and patterns before they become entrenched.
Generally, if your child seems to be struggling in more than one area (school, work, peer relationships, etc.) or is unable to function well in one specific area, getting help may be critical.
It seems like everyone I know – including myself – is experiencing some level of anxiety. Is this really a problem for my child?
Oftentimes, anxious children are very high functioning and polite, so their anxiety can be masked behind achievements and overly accommodating behaviors. Children prone to anxiety also tend to be naturally sensitive, making it hard for parents to determine if certain symptoms are a reflection of their child’s inherent temperament or if they are indicative of deeper issues at play.
Although it can be difficult to determine if your child is experiencing heightened anxiety, there are a few classic, concerning symptoms to look for. If your child is experiencing an irritability that is affecting his or her ability to function well, has noticeable self-esteem issues, is overly critical of his or herself or of others, avoids specific situations or is unable to bounce back from minor setbacks, seeking professional help may be essential.
We will help you determine if your child is going through a phase, experiencing increased stress due to a particular life circumstance, or is suffering from a child anxiety disorder.
Counseling for Teenagers
During adolescence, teens commonly begin to seek independence and place more emphasis on their peer relationships. They have the difficult task of building their own identity as they try to figure out who they are and where they fit in to social environments. While teens are on their quest for independence and identity, they may make choices about friends, their identity and schoolwork that create confusion and conflict within your family.
Watching your child struggle, rebel or make poor decisions can cause you to experience a great deal of anxiety, concern, frustration and fear. You may also experience sadness when your teen starts pulling away, gravitating towards friends instead of family. During this time, many families notice that communication strategies and routines that used to work for a child are no longer effective. The challenges of adolescence can be further compounded if your teen is also experiencing a mood disorder, behavioral problems, life stressors, ADHD or a learning disability.
How we plan to help…
Teen counseling can help your teen set and meet realistic goals, make better decisions and gain an understanding of who they are and who they want to be. Your teen can also develop a better awareness about how his or her actions affect others, learn more effective ways to communicate, and deepen his or her ability for self-reflection and self-awareness.
If you are invested and committed to helping your teen, teen counseling can be extremely effective. Dealing with your teen’s issues now can help stop problems from getting worse and prevent new ones from developing. Therapists at Pinellas Psychology Associates will work with you, your teen and, if necessary, the school, to find and implement creative and collaborative strategies to best help your teen succeed. As a team, you will be able to overcome difficult issues, establish trust, and enable your teen to gain autonomy.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if it “normal teenage angst” or if something deeper is going on?
Almost all teenagers encounter insecurities, family conflict and a roller coaster of emotions to some degree during their development. It’s normal to rebel a little, seek independence from mom and dad and place a lot of attention on friends and self-image. It’s uncommon, however, when behaviors become destructive. If your teen is severely struggling in one area of his or her life, or experiencing issues that are impacting his or her ability to function well within multiple areas (school, home, peer relationships), getting help now can be critical.
My teenager refuses to go to counseling–what do I do?
First, finding the right therapist is key and your child should be an integral part of that process. It’s important to find a therapist who specializes in teen counseling and who also is a good fit for your teen’s unique personality. You may let your teen know that he or she will be seeing a therapist – non-negotiable – but empower him or her with the opportunity to choose a clinician. Also, the initial meeting usually softens your teen’s resistance to therapy and helps him or her see their therapist as an ally, not a threat.