As a parent, you want the best for your child, but sometimes it’s hard to know how you can help. Some kids don’t like talking to their parents about personal issues, and you might not even be aware of their struggles. If you think your child might need extra support, consider getting them into therapy.
Therapy gets a bad rap sometimes when it’s perceived as an attempt to fix someone. Nobody wants to feel like they’re broken, so resistance to therapy is understandable. However, therapy isn’t about fixing someone – it’s about supporting them where they are so they can live a better life.
If you’re looking for some good reasons to try therapy with your child, here are some of the biggest potential benefits.
1. Improved communication skills
Every child will benefit from improving their communication skills, but it’s especially important for kids with autism. If your child is on the autism spectrum, getting them into therapy as early as possible will benefit them for the rest of their life.
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is the most popular therapy for kids with autism. ABA therapy can help your child increase their language and communication skills, strengthen their ability to focus, and improve social skills and academic performance. ABA therapy aims to decrease problematic behaviors while increasing desirable behaviors through a reward system.
You can visit a therapist’s office or get sessions in your own home for convenience. While ABA therapy is beneficial either way, you have an advantage in getting in-home sessions for your child. Kids with autism tend to prefer routine and don’t like being disrupted. It can be a big deal to go to a therapy appointment, even if it’s just down the street. Your child will be more comfortable getting therapy in the comfort of a familiar, safe space.
2. Your child won’t have to tell you everything
You can’t force your kid to talk about their personal life when they don’t want to open up to you, especially if they’re a teenager. If you know something is wrong and you’ve hit dead-ends trying to get them to share, see if they’ll talk to a therapist. Many kids are just waiting for the opportunity to open up to someone – as long as it’s not their parents.
Try finding a general therapist in your area and make sure they have a great reputation. As with any profession that puts people in a vulnerable position, you need to vet them first. Looking at their reviews online should help ease your concerns because people tend to be vocal about bad therapists.
Before you schedule a session, talk to your child and see how they feel about starting therapy. Get their agreement instead of forcing it on them or they might grow to resent you, resist opening up, and end up wasting your money.
3. More self-awareness
Cognitive behavior therapy is an excellent way to help kids become aware of their emotions and thoughts. Once a child can identify how they’re feeling, their therapist will teach them to evaluate whether or not those emotions and thoughts are illogical, and then the child will learn how to choose different thoughts and emotional reactions.
Teaching your child to have self-awareness will benefit them even if they’re a happy, well-adjusted individual. If they learn this skill early, they’ll be equipped with a valuable tool they can use in daily life.
4. Reduced anxiety
Anxiety is extremely common. About 5.8 million children experience anxiety at some point in their lives, but that number may be higher since some kids just don’t know how to identify anxiety outside of calling it a “stomach ache.”
People, including kids, are stressed out, and anxiety is a common result. Whether or not your child is aware of it, anxiety could be sabotaging their life. By seeing a therapist, they might see some of that anxiety dissolve as they work through other issues in their sessions.
Do some research to find the right therapy
There are numerous types of therapy, including ADHD therapy, behavior therapy, psychodynamics, interpersonal, and more. Therapy will only be effective when it meets your child’s specific needs. Before scheduling any appointments, research the different types of therapy available and what’s involved in the sessions.
Any provider you visit will conduct an evaluation before administering therapy, and that will help you determine what’s best for your child.