Kids are often uncomfortable with new situations, and it is common for parents to discover that their normally accommodating child digs in their heels at the prospect of visiting a child psychologist. While you may know that getting to the root of issues such as depression is important for your child’s health, it is possible that they just don’t understand why they need to talk to someone. Fortunately, you can ease your child’s anxiety and discomfort during those first few sessions by using these simple strategies.
Let Them Know What to Expect
Before your child’s first appointment, speak with the staff to find out how they conduct the initial consultation. For example, your child’s psychologist may want to meet with you alone first, or they may encourage you to stay in the room for the first few sessions. It is also important to let your child know that they can be honest during their sessions. When your child understands that their counselor is not seeking to get them in trouble, they will be more willing to open up and let them help.
Compare It to a Medical Need
Unfortunately, some kids have heard negative things about going to counseling. They may insist that they are not crazy or in need of any help. Be honest with your child about the reasons why you set the appointment, and compare going to a psychologist to visiting a doctor. Just like you would take your child to see a doctor if their leg hurt, it is sometimes necessary to see a psychologist when something such as a divorce has caused hurt emotions. Seeing their sessions from this angle helps kids understand that nothing is wrong with them as a person. They just need help learning to cope with a life situation.
Make It a Special Time
Although they may not always show it especially as they become teenagers-kids crave time with their parents. Make visiting the psychologist something your child looks forward to by planning for some special time together afterward. Going for dinner, indulging in a scoop of ice cream or listening to your kid’s favorite music in the car are all opportunities to turn counseling days into bonding experiences.
Our counselors often discover that the most reluctant kids often turn out to be the most involved in their sessions once they have a little encouragement. Our counselors are trained to assist parents with transitioning their child into therapy so don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you have along the way.