5 Reasons for seeking help for your kid immediately upon their request!
By Guest Blogger Laura Goldstein, LCMFT Family Therapist and Owner of Montgomery County Counseling Center
Some children find their way to therapy because their parents seek it for them. Less often, it’s because they have asked for it themselves! And when they do ask, it’s a pretty special moment! Kids put themselves in a super vulnerable position to ask for help. They risk being seen as weak. They risk feeling embarrassed, shameful, or guilty for struggling. They risk offending their parents or making their parents feel badly they can’t be the ones to help. So if your child has overcome ALL of these risks to ask for help, it must be pretty important! As a teen therapist AND family therapist, I cannot stress enough how important it is to seek counseling immediately when your kid asks!
Reason 1- Kids need to feel like they are taken seriously!
If they feel like they are struggling, they are. One of the most fundamental developmental needs in childhood and adolescents is to be taken seriously. It is necessary for self-worth and autonomy as well as for healthy family functioning. Taking them seriously means honoring their requests rather than doubting or deciding for yourself.
Reason 2- What You See Is Different from How they Feel
You don’t get to decide what they are feeling on the inside based on what you see on the outside. Many kids who seem like they “have it all together” with good grades and good friends etc are actually using a TON of energy to keep it together emotionally. When that energy depletes they will likely crash. It is much easier to tackle the emotions before the crisis hits.
Reason 3- Prevention vs Reaction
In fact, therapy for crisis management is usually focussed on stabilization and not treating/preventing ongoing underlying issues. Starting therapy sooner means skipping the steps for stabilization and getting to the good stuff right away! This saves you time and money in the long-run AND helps your kid!
Reason 4- Healthy independence means asking for help.
Independence doesn’t mean doing everything on your own. It means knowing who when and how to ask for help when then need it! And you want them to be independent, right?! Reinforce this step towards independence by supporting their request for help. No one equates hiring an accountant to help your taxes with being not independent (probably the opposite!). So let’s not make hiring a therapist to help with your mental health an issue of dependence either!
Reason 5- The longer the time between your teenager’s request and their first therapy session, the more work they will have to do.
Your teen’s motivation to do self-work will decline over time. And motivation is the most important aspect for change. It is important to channel all that good willingness early. This way therapists don’t have to use valuable therapy time to increase their motivation all over again. Again, this saves you time and money in the long-run AND helps your kid!
You can get therapy for your teen at Your Best Self Therapy
And if you want more help figuring out what is or is not normal teenager behavior, check out this chart! Maybe you will realize they do in fact need it!
About The Author
Laura Goldstein, LCMFT is a Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist in Rockville Maryland and owner of Montgomery County Counseling Center, LLC. Laura obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. She then went on to earn her Master’s degree in Family Therapy from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Laura became intensively trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) through Behavioral Tech Linehan Institute in 2015. She is also Level 1 Trained in Gottman Couples Therapy. After working in both substance use and failure to launch IOP programs, Laura now works in her private practice alongside her three excellent associates! Montgomery County Counseling Center serves individuals, families, parents, and couples who are struggling with intense emotions, fraught relationships, and maladaptive coping behaviors.