The past few years have been particularly difficult for children’s mental health, with many child health experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Association, and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry saying: .declared national emergency.
If your child needs medical attention, you may be wondering how you can help at home. For advice, we consulted child psychologist and book author Melissa Goldberg-Mintz.Is your child traumatized? How to know and what to do to promote healing and recovery.”
How to help children adjust to therapy
“The first step is to help the child get in the door,” Goldberg-Mintz said. “Often, children resist treatment.” Is it because of bad experiences in the past or because of stigma? .
She also recommends giving your child choices. Have them choose between a male or female therapist, morning or afternoon sessions, or face-to-face and virtual sessions. “This helps the child feel part of the decision-making process about who their therapist is,” said Goldberg-Mintz.
Then, once your child is enrolled in therapy, Goldberg-Mintz recommends making an effort to show your support. Be physically present during the treatment session, even if it’s just waiting outside in the waiting room. “Even if it’s just a five-minute check-in with her at the end of the session, having a parent physically there makes a big difference,” she said.
Give Your Child Shared (or Unshared) Space
After your child’s therapy session, your instincts may ask them questions about how it went and what they discussed.Goldberg-Mintz advises against this. “Don’t bombard your child with questions,” she said. “They are very vulnerable and it makes sense they don’t want to divulge things because this might feel like their private space.”
If they want to talk, Goldberg-Mintz recommends giving them space to do so so that their fears and worries can be justified and normalized. “Normalizing their worries can go a long way in helping them feel supported,” she said.
Also, it is important not to unconsciously say, “It’s okay,” and not relieve your anxiety. “Even though it’s coming from a good place, it’s not always what children need to hear, and some children may find it negative.
Goldberg-Mintz also recommends spending quality one-on-one time with your child. “That way it will deepen the relationship, and they’ll be more likely to tell you if something’s going wrong,” she said.
Consider a feedback session
In the long term, you should regularly evaluate how well your child’s treatment is working and if anything needs to be changed. One option is to schedule a feedback session with your child’s therapist. There you can discuss how your child is doing and if there are any changes that need to be made.
In Goldberg-Mintz’s experience, feedback sessions are especially helpful when children are young, as they may not be as communicative as adolescents. When it comes to teens, “If you don’t like therapy and don’t want to go, they’ll let you know,” she said.
How Parents Can Support Their Children’s Therapy, According to Child Psychologists
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