5 Things You Should Know About Taking Your Child to a Psychologist

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When my son was diagnosed with OCD and anxiety disorder last year, I didn’t really know what helping him would look like.

I knew we weren’t going to pursue medication (his symptoms aren’t progressed enough for medicinal intervention and his doctors agree), but I figured we’d need something to help us manage his symptoms.

When our doctor suggested cognitive behavioral therapy I thought, wait whaaaaa?

Only five years old and I’d already driven my child to therapy.  Fan-freaking-tastic. 

{ MORE: How to Deal with Challenging Behaviors }

After crying in my car over a bag of McDonald's french fries, talking to his medical providers, consulting Dr. Google, and getting into numerous heated arguments intellectual discussions with my husband over it, I did what I should’ve done from the beginning: listened to my mommy.

Her advice? Listen to the doctors, try out what feels right, and fight, fight, fight until he gets what he needs.  And, don't worry about the haters.

He started therapy and has been attending successfully for the past 3 months.

5 Things You Should Know About Taking Your Child to a Psychologist

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Image via Flickr/ MIKI Yoshihito (´・ω・)

You don’t need to wait until you’re desperate.  Therapy is more of an early intervention than a last ditch effort.  If your child is struggling with an issue and you’ve spoken to their doctor about it and they’ve suggested therapy; GO. TO. THERAPY.  Going isn’t a big deal. Not going easily could be.

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It’s not going to be as scary as you think.  In fact, ask my son and he’ll tell you in no uncertain terms that going to his “talking doctor” is fun.  He has a long list of things that it’s better than, in fact.  Doing homework, getting shots, barfing, and sitting by girls a lunch are all on it.

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Image via Flickr/ milena mihaylova

The psychologist doesn’t know everything.  They may have gone to school for longer than your child has even been alive, but that doesn’t mean they know more about your kid than you do.  It’s your job to be a great historian when it comes to chronicling every thing that led your child to that leather couch, and sharing that info with their doctor is am important part of the process. 

{ MORE: How to Talk to Little Kids About Anxiety }

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You don’t have to marry your therapist.  If the therapist you start with turns out to not be a good fit for you and your child, it’s cool to kick them to the curb.  It’s important that you and your child feel a love connection with your therapist in order for the therapy to be effective.  If the doctor gives your kid the creeps it’s unlikely that he is going to pour his heart out to the guy.  Keep looking until you find the one that your child trusts enough to keep it real with.

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It might not work.  At least not quickly.  Maybe not at all.  Psychology is one of those shifty sciences that is based on a lot of interlacing factors.  If this, then that; maybe, kinda, sorta, possibly.  The best things you can do as a parent is to support the treatment by following all of the therapist’s instructions and stay committed to the cause.  Don’t let lack of significant progress frustrate you.  It may take months or even years to get your child to the place you want him to be.

{ MORE: 8 Steps to Loving Your Child Through Purposeful Discipline }

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5 Things You Should Know About Taking Your Child to a Psychologist

Amanda has been wowing the Internet since 2008 when she launched her pretty-much-useless guide for parents, parenting BY dummies. As it turns out, her parenting advice is not generally useful for more than a good laugh, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need! Amanda spends her offline time (which is embarrassingly limited) running a photography business, working as a social media director for a local magazine, writing freelance articles about stuff she loves, wrangling her 3 little Dudes ... More

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2 comments

  1. Profile photo of mommy nhoj mommy nhoj says:

    The stigma is there and will be there. Parents are taking smart decision in bringing the child for therapy as early as possible.

  2. Profile photo of Rebekah Rebekah says:

    I just started taking my 6-year-old to a therapist a few weeks ago for grief issues. According to this article, my insticts are right about therapy. She and my daughter have hit it off and she enjoys it. But my husband is resistant to the idea of her going and tells me that I’m labeling my daughter “crazy.” Any ideas on what to do about this?

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