Many a time parents feel uncomfortable with the idea of taking their child to a Psychologist. Going to the old school of thought which has been prevalent in our society, parents would say “What my child is not crazy! He doesn’t need to go to a psychologist. We can handle it”. And why shouldn’t they, our parents, grandparents never went to one, and they did fine, isn’t it.
People, by the time they become parents, often forget what it was like to be a child. A child often gets taken for granted. Their opinions sometimes don’t count. Often we may have seen children crying because their parents took them shopping or to run some errands and then ignoring their pleas to go back home. We may also have witnessed shutting a child up by saying the words “Because I said so!” without providing a reasonable explanation? While all this certainly does not constitute what I call bad parenting, it may provide clues for the cause of the child’s behavior. Childhood as well as Adolescence is a complicated phase, and also very demanding. Your child has to go ‘urgently’ to a friend’s party, while you get stuck up at the office and took time coming home, your child starts crying and you snub it off saying “Don’t be silly, we will be there in some time.” In your mind, it is not important, but in your child’s mind, this party was going to be the best party of his/her life, and it was the most important event ever.
These are the years when your child is developing his/her personality, and the way you treat him/her plays a crucial part in his/her personality development. The belief is that all you need to do is to discipline your children, show them that you love them, and that should be more than enough. However, it isn’t. The child may grow up to be apparently polite, well mannered and intelligent too, but they might end up having self-esteem issues.
There may be things you say and do as a well-meaning parent, which might not be taken as you want them to and they might just end up with a completely different inference. There are moments when a parent ask or expect something, and the child may throw a tantrum, and the parent would not understand why he reacted this way for such a trivial matter. What parents don’t realize is that the throwing a fit might just be a call for help when there’s something more to what we can perceive and assume conveniently and quickly. You as a parent are totally justified in yourself, but your child is going through a range of emotions which he cannot discuss with you or with his peers, as not many younger ones discuss their parental issues in their group.
The one person who can help deal with this would be a Psychologist. The Psychologist serves as a medium between a PARENT and the CHILD, and will appropriately and accurately convey your child’s feelings to you, and then also guide and suggest ways to bring about the much needed behavioral modification both in you as a parent and in the child. Also, the child feels important when they are being listened to, and that their feelings and emotions have been taken into consideration. This magic of relationship buildings can only be done by the Psychologist.
Often in this fast paced life where we live in nuclear families, both parents are working they don’t get enough time to concentrate on the child’s emotional health and needs , and its not their fault. We live in a different world altogether, way different than the one we were raised in. Depression, Anxiety, Stress, have become jargon today. On top of it with the high exposure of internet and media, things have only worsened. Teenage suicides have just become so frequent. It’s not possible for parents to judge correctly what’s going on in the child’s mind, out of their own fear and anxiety they might wrongly act or say things which they would just be left to regret. And it’s not their fault, they were not trained before they became parents. As parents we are all learning through trial and error, something might click something might not. So should we wait for that learning to occur after making that error, or should we SEEK THE HELP OF A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL WHO HAD THE EDUCATION AND PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE IN THIS AREA? The choice and decision is yours, act on your calling.
How often the child must see a Psychologist is solely up to you, but, in order to develop a rapport, a child should see one frequently enough. Parents can perhaps contact the school counselor if they see any behavioral change which is not normal and is showing a red flag, then as per requirement, the school counselor can make a referral. Like for example if your child displays feelings of anger and aggression, is extremely shy or is weak in studies, is being bullied and is showing extreme sadness. Also, Substance abuse and relationship issues are serious concerns of young adolescents. Don’t let them and yourself struggle with it when the help is so easily available.
P.S. under NO circumstances convey to your child that it is a big deal seeing a psychologist. It is not, and many parents whose children regularly visit psychologists will vouch for it.