Kimberly S. Kleinman, LCSW
Understanding how our minds work develops
confidence, flexibility and strength.
William Butler Yeats wrote that “Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire.” In a variation on that theme, the same applies to parenting.

Parents with Questions can:

Children and Therapy

Many parents worry about bringing their child to therapy. They feel that it might harm the child in some way, so they delay, losing time when the child’s difficulties could have been alleviated quickly. Worse, the child’s development lags even further behind. The sooner the better is the best decision. As soon as you have a question. As soon as you feel that your child is behaving in a way that you don’t understand, that is the time to get some help. Even if your pediatrician says to wait. Wouldn't you rather bring in your two year old for two sessions, rather than wait until your child is ten, and have to bring them in for two or three years?

But how do children perceive therapy? Prior to five years old, they love it! I’ve had two and three year olds who come in to see me tell their parents, “call Kim!” when they are having a difficult moment. They aren't self conscious about needing help, they expect that grownups are around for the explicit purpose of helping them.

Sometimes, older children can pick up on their parents’ dread of needing help and they cry for the first few sessions. I find that if we pay close attention to addressing the child’s concerns, they soon settle down to work. The rewards are then enormous for the child. It’s a powerful lesson in seeing that things that are feared at first can be mastered. That’s a lesson that they can carry with them for the rest of their life.

Teens may feel ambivalent about therapy, but still are able to benefit from treatment. One teen shared his perspective. "I heard that if you struggle with something earlier in life, it can make you stronger. So if I figure this out, I may end up being ahead of all the people I feel are ahead of me now."

Do you think that if you bring your child to therapy it means that you failed? Whatever it does mean to you, avoiding the issues that drag on your family won’t resolve anything. Calling to ask some questions could clarify a muddle sufficiently to move on without needing any further assistance.