Families who are experiencing significant pathological problems-in cases where children are retarded or emotionally disturbed, for example, or where parents tend to abuse their youngsters or cannot cope with alcohol or depression- should of course seek professional treatment. Yet no matter how well-adjusted or loving parents may be, a small minority of otherwise normal children will develop behavior problems that require help outside home. If your child has severe or persistent troubles, you will need to know where to look for assistance.
Before seeking help, be certain that you need it. Bear in mind that parents commonly feel frustrated or even overwhelmed in the face of a behavior problem. It may be that you are expecting too much too soon from your youngster. More often than not, the difficulties are short -lived and disappear without professional intervention. If you suspect that there are genuine problems, however, do not hesitate; these troubles are best dealt with while your child is young.
Explain your concern to your pediatrician first as because they are good sounding boards because they observe so many children. Other good sources of advice are the teachers of your child’s nursery school, community health centre, hospital referral services and child guidance specialists in the public schools. Counselors trained to help with behavior problems include psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers. Make sure that the therapist is experienced in working with children. The quality of care your child receives should be your primary concern.
You may wish to interview a number of therapists before selecting one for your child. Look for someone who is willing to answer your questions and also seems likely to establish a rapport with your youngster. Once you have chosen the course of action, you should establish when you will meet with the therapist to assess the effectiveness of the treatment. Most experts recommend two weeks after the initial session. Some changes in behavior should be evident in about a month. If it does not happen you may consult another therapist. Above all, be sure to follow through at home on the therapist’s advice.