A child psychologist is a mental healthcare professional that specialises in helping children. We are outspoken advocates for using mental health counselling as a maintenance tool rather than a response to a traumatic event. This recommendation also applies to children. Learning things such as healthy coping mechanisms, excellent communication skills, and how to self-reflect from an early age will save a lot of unnecessary hurts and provide the right tools to live safe and happy lives.
Does your child need to see a child psychologist?
When it comes to children, most parents are very hesitant to bring them to any sort of counselling or mental health therapy. This is due to an outdated view of mental health that you only seek out a therapist if you have a disorder or something terrible has happened to you. This makes it extra hard to bring kids to a psychologist since it is like admitting that we have wronged them, or they have been through something terrible.
The truth is that most children could benefit from talking to a counsellor in general. Not because there is anything wrong with them or they suffer from any mental disorder, but more so because it’s a great opportunity for them to say the things they don’t always feel comfortable saying to those closest to them and to receive some general guidance from a trained professional that will provide them with the right tools to go through life.
Remember, identifying feelings and maneuvering the world is hard enough for an adult, and it is even harder for a child. Talking to a mental health counsellor will not only equip them to handle hardships in the future but also help them to better understand themselves and grow their confidence. If you’re still on the fence about whether to give a child psychologist a go, here are a few reasons why it might be a good idea for your child:
Bouncing back and learning
Children also have to overcome challenges. Some of these challenges may not seem that big, but in their world, it can be overwhelming. It doesn’t need to be big things or life events such as abuse or divorce, it can be school pressures and trouble with friends. These things can have a profound impact on our children. And just like adults, they’ll need to be able to overcome, take the lessons learned (if any) and move on.
The ability to face tough times, and learning how to deal with them in a healthy way aren’t part of our natural skill sets. And when left to our own devices to figure this out, we often end up relying on unhealthy coping mechanisms and struggle to see the opportunity for self-development. That’s why it’s so important for children to get it right from an early age to avoid future issues. A wonky foundation doesn’t make for a sturdy house.
Emotions are foreign concepts
Sometimes it can be hard for adults to identify what exactly it is that they’re feeling. Imagine what it would feel like if you don’t even know what half the emotions are yet and then have to identify and deal with them. This is why you often see outbursts or aggressive reactions such as biting from young children.
They experience this surge of emotions that they cannot identify and don’t know what to do with, so they revert to almost primal fight-or-flight behaviour. It is extremely important to teach our children about the wide range of emotions one can experience, that it’s ok to experience these, and how to deal with them in a healthy way. A child psychologist can help with that.
Boundaries are hard to establish and maintain, and that is especially true for children. They are “only children” who “need to mind their manners” and “listen to the grownups” after all. This can take away children’s power and be problematic for a lot of reasons. While most parents do not mean any harm and have only the best intentions in trying to raise polite and disciplined children, there are a few things to think about.
If you always tell the children to “give uncle joey a kiss” hello or goodbye, how are they ever going to know that they can say no to uncle joey wanting a kiss in another scenario? If your discipline includes spanking, how will they know when the line between discipline and abuse has been crossed? In a parenting role, it is easy to overstep boundaries and rationalize that we do it for their sake. Every time we do this, however, it sends the signal that they should allow people to overstep their boundaries and that it is an acceptable thing to do.
Obviously, if anyone else overstepped their boundaries, we would be mortified and find that completely unacceptable. Therefore, teaching children about boundaries, setting up boundaries, and sticking to them in a healthy way is an important life skill that needs to be taught and practiced at home. A child psychologist can help navigate this situation for the child as well as the parents.
Understanding mental illness
Knowing about various mental illnesses and how they affect people can help grow your child’s understanding of themselves and the world around them. This doesn’t mean that they will be diagnosed with anything or succumbed to long and unnecessary tests. It simply means that they will become aware of the concepts and how some illnesses show and feel.
Introducing this early in their development might make your child aware enough to recognise early warning signs. This will increase the chances of catching a mental illness early on and mitigate the impact it might have. Raising awareness like this also comes with coping mechanisms to keep the bad stuff at bay. This is when a child psychologist will discuss things like anxiety, ADHD, depression, eating disorders, self-harm, etc.
What they see in the mirror
Adults are not the only ones struggling with self-image. In a world with Photoshop filters for social media and such a large variety of protein shakes that it gets its own aisle, our children are bombarded by images of so-called perfection on a daily basis. Add a parent with self-deprecating body image talk into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. If that’s not a scary realisation enough, recent studies have shown that body image issues in the modern age can start rearing their head from the unfathomable young age of only three!
That’s why it’s essential for us to intervene and ensure that their body image aligns with healthy and realistic ideals. A child psychologist is trained to do just that.
Dealing with trauma
Intentionally left as the last problem topic, traumas are the things we don’t want our children to ever go through. Childhood trauma has been a topic of discussion for the last decade, diving into what it is, how it affects us, and what we could have done to avoid it or lessen the impact. The sad truth is that in many instances, the trauma could not have been avoided. We can’t stop a loved one from dying, parents getting divorced, or accidents from happening. What we can do is prepare ourselves to deal with these things in an appropriate and healthy way.
Learning how to process traumatic events is a skill that few of us have, but all of us need. As adults, we can always seek a mental healthcare counsellor and develop these skills (yes, you can actually teach an old dog new tricks). But it would have been much better if we would have been taught these things as children. Talking to a child psychologist can help prepare you and your child for big life events, some of them which are unavoidable (sadly, grandma and grandpa aren’t going to be around forever). So whether dealing with an active trauma or empowering your children to deal with them in the future, a child psychologist will be a valuable asset.
The benefits of seeing an online child psychologist
There are many benefits to talking to a child psychologist, such as:
- It is unbiased help from a healthcare professional
- Your child feels heard. It is a place where they can voice their thoughts and opinions and express their feelings with an adult listening intently and acknowledging them.
- It can give parents insight and guidance into raising their child to live a healthy, happy life
- Familiarise your child with talking to healthcare professionals
- It can aid in building healthy communication and strong bonds between the child and the parents, but also how they interact with the world.
- These sessions can lay the foundation for your child to make healthy choices in life
- It gives you the opportunity to understand your child better and help them understand themselves better
- Child psychology is age-specific therapy. You’re not going to sing the toddler’s Feelings song with the 12-year-old. That means that no matter what age your child is, they can still receive therapy with the peace of mind that they will always be learning new things and adding to their toolbox.
- Online child psychology is a cost-effective alternative to in-person counselling
- The things discussed during a session can be of a sensitive nature. As long as it’s not play therapy, online sessions are a great solution since the child is in a safe environment where they feel comfortable.
- Are you unable to take your child to therapy? No problem. Your child doesn’t even need to leave their room with online therapy.
Do you think your child might need to speak to a child psychologist? Do you want to ensure that your child learns to deal with life in the best possible way? Then pop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can reach out to us here or simply complete the form below and we’ll be happy to assist and start you off with a free consultation.