When Is It Time to Get My Child Help for Mental Health Issues?

child counseling

When Is It Time to Get My Child Help for Mental Health Issues?

It’s normal for children to have emotional ups and downs, periods of moodiness, trouble with friends, changes in interests, and dips in academic performance. But how can you tell the difference between challenging behaviors and emotions that are a normal part of the growth process and those that could signal something more serious, such as anxiety or depression?

In this article, we’ll be sharing some signs that your child may be struggling with a mental health condition and could benefit from professional help. Let’s take a look at some of the most common behaviors to be aware of.

Seeking a mental health counselor in Plainfield, IL? Contact A New Day Family Counseling.

Changes in eating or sleeping habits

While it’s normal to refuse a meal or stay up way past their bedtime now and then, take notice if your child’s eating or sleeping habits drastically change. Sleeping too much or not at all, as well as eating very little or way more than normal, are red flags that shouldn’t be ignored. 

Engaging in self-destructive behaviors

If your child is engaging in self-destructive behaviors, such as skin picking, hair pulling, digging their nails into their skin, or using alcohol or drugs, it’s a sure sign that your child needs mental health support. These behaviors are an outlet that distracts from deeper anger, pain, or resentment. 

Talking often about sadness, fear, or worry

While feelings like sadness, fear, and worry are a normal part of everyone’s life, children should not be feeling these emotions regularly or for extended periods of time. If you notice that your child has seemed sad or anxious for a few weeks or longer, or that their emotions are so strong that they’re interfering with their functioning at school, home, or with friends, it’s time to seek help for your child.

Behaving badly

All children act out occasionally, but if your child’s behavior is disrupting your family or getting them in trouble at school, it could be a sign of something deeper going on. Many children express emotions through negative behavior so before grounding them and calling it a day, think about whether seeking mental health support may be a better solution.

For skilled child therapists in Plainfield, IL, reach out to A New Day Family Counseling today.

Isolating from friends

Spats with friends are bound to happen every once in a while, but if your child is withdrawing from peers for long periods of time and repeatedly declining social invitations, it could be a sign that their mental health is suffering.

Other signs to be mindful of

While the above-mentioned signs tend to be the most common, other behaviors to be aware of include:

  • Struggling academically for more than a few weeks
  • Losing interest in things they used to enjoy
  • Repeatedly checking things out of fear that something bad might happen 
  • Increased physical complaints, such as headaches and stomachaches
  • Regression, such as bedwetting, tantrums, and clinginess

How to seek help

Generally speaking, you should consider seeking help if your child’s unusual behavior persists for a few weeks or longer. Of course, if your child’s behavior is unsafe or they talk about wanting to hurt themselves or someone else, seek help immediately.

If you suspect your child might be struggling with a mental health issue, take heart. There are plenty of resources out there that can help them. The guidance of a professional counselor or therapist who specializes in issues affecting children can be incredibly beneficial.

Counseling Plainfield Illinois, my goal as a therapist offering, is to find solutions that work for you on an individual basis, helping you to discover the true potential of your life, so everyday can be a celebration, and feel like a real ‘breath of fresh air.’ There may be no magic button or quick-fix solution when it comes to changing things from the past that have been difficult, but what we can do is work together to find comfort and resolve in the difficult areas of your life, and the challenges you have to face.

We provide counseling services to Plainfield, Romeoville, Shorewood, Joliet, Oswego, Naperville, Yorkville, Bolingbrook, and Aurora and the surrounding areas in Will County, IL.