As children and adolescents grow, they are constantly in the process of developing the social skills and emotional intelligence necessary to lead healthy happy lives. When children experience emotions or engage in behaviors that interfere with their happiness and ability to thrive, they may benefit from meeting with a mental health professional such as a counselor. Parents and children often attend counseling sessions together in order to create a safe space to address what everyone is experiencing in order to grow together and live more happily as a family.
Counseling for Youth
Many types of counseling emphasize talking and thinking about feelings and experiences, which can be particularly challenging.
The youth of any age may feel uncomfortable, afraid, or ashamed about communicating what they are experiencing to an adult they do not know. If you are a parent or caregiver, these tips can help when talking to children about counseling and mental health treatment:
- Find a good time to talk and assure them that they are not in trouble.
- Listen actively.
- Take your child’s concerns, experiences, and emotions seriously.
- Try to be open, authentic, and relaxed.
- Talk about how common the issues they are experiencing may be.
- Explain that the role of a counselor is to provide help and support.
- Explain that a confidentiality agreement can be negotiated so children—especially adolescents—have a safe space to share details privately while acknowledging that you will be alerted if there are any threats to their safety.