We need you to take them seriously.
Shout out to all of you parents out there! Seriously, parenting is hard. Sometimes really hard. Some kids are more challenging than others, yet you guys keep moving forward, doing the best you can. That’s awesome. BUT many of us are failing our kids.
“Wait, what? How can you praise us and then turn around and say we’re failing?”
Well, for the most part, you are doing great. You are loving your children ferociously. You are teaching them that they matter. Their feelings matter. They’re smart. And so on and so on. But many of us aren’t listening to hear our children. We are listening to respond.
Why am I saying this?
I talk to kids and teens almost every day. I listen to them. A common thing I hear is that they have been asking to see a counselor for quite some time before their parents bring them in. Oftentimes the situations get way out of control and the entire family is in crisis when a parent finally calls. Don’t get me wrong, we love that parents call and we will help. We want to help. We truly want families to be happy and functioning well. But we, as counselors, need parents to do better.
If your child verbalizes that he or she wants to see a counselor. Listen. Call your insurance for a number. Check the many resources online. Google. Call us.
If your child’s behavior is challenging and has been for a while and/or has gotten worse, listen.
Sometimes it’s hard for a kid (even a teen) to tell you exactly what’s going on, so they become moody, angry, depressed, more emotional, aggressive, etc. Listen. Find us.
“Counseling is expensive, we can’t afford it right now.”
Look, I get it. I’ve been there too. Call anyway. If, for some reason you can’t afford counseling, ask if we can work payment out with you. Or maybe we have resources you can call. Call us. Ask us for help.
Honestly, it’s so much easier and less expensive to work on problems before a crisis hits. We understand that some kids don’t give us many signs. We also know that a lot of signs are missed or ignored.
“How do I know it’s just not something my kid will work out on their own?”
I can’t answer that question fully. Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t. Our job, as counselors, is to work ourselves out of a job (and if you are using your insurance, they won’t allow us to see your child unless it’s “medically necessary”) so, if it’s not necessary, we will let you know in a short amount of time.
“I think my kid is just looking for attention.”
I have found that most kids/teens like to have someone not related to them to talk to. They are fairly astute and like to have someone listen to/play out their problems with. Someone who isn’t mom or dad or grandma or uncle…you get the gist. All humans like to be heard and understood. If your child’s behavior is off, call us.
If you aren’t sure if your child’s behavior is normal, call a counselor who specializes in kids.
If you aren’t sure if your teen needs someone to talk to, ask them, and/or call a counselor who works with teens.
If you are at a loss about communicating/dealing with your child, call a counselor who works with parents.
If your child asks to talk to someone, take them seriously. Don’t wait too long. If you call and don’t get a response, call someone else. Find an email on our websites, email us just to inquire. We want to help. Your children and family are important humans and we want to help.