“Why are you waiting to get your child help?”
“What are you worried will happen if you bring your teen to counseling?”
These are questions I have asked hundreds of parents calling me or sitting in my office. Yet, when my husband and I were faced with a decision about seeking speech therapy for our middle child, I found myself silencing my parental gut and putting off what I knew he needed. I’ll be honest, I was scared that he might need more help than I knew how to give him. I was scared that something I had done had resulted in his lack of speech progress, and his behavioral outburst that surrounded moments where he could not communicate his wants, desires or needs. For months I listened to my own distortions about ‘loving parents was all he needed’ and ‘he’ll grow out of this; you just need to wait’.
These were valid thoughts to explore, but, in the end, they were distortions I was using to avoid doing something I didn’t know a lot about and was scared to start. During the process of deciding to call a speech therapist, going through the evaluation and starting therapy, I found myself staying silent about the process because I didn’t want others to know that I hadn’t been able to ‘just figure it out’. Part of me knew my son needed someone trained in speech to help him unlock his words, but the first call to the evaluator was still the hardest.
Do any of these thoughts or fears about your child sound familiar to you?
- You are worried that getting counseling will make your child think you believe they have something wrong with them, or they’re crazy.
- You think that maybe he or she will grow out of this stage.
- You are worried that your parenting caused the current situation, and you don’t know how to make things better.
- You want to believe things really aren’t as bad as you think they might be.
- You don’t know what to expect, or if counseling will even help, so you keep putting off looking for a therapist until you can ‘figure out’ what to do next.
It’s been 6 months since I made the call, and I can’t tell you how happy I am to see my little guy talking, telling stories and making jokes that had been previously locked inside. He’s still got work ahead of him, but I am grateful every day I made the call. It’s allowing my little man to come out of his shell, and show us more about his creativity, kindness and adventurous nature that we had ever been able to see before.
Is there a call you’ve been putting off? It’s normal to have fears and concerns, but one of the main things I have been reminded of these last few months is calling is the only way to get your questions answered. If you are wondering whether your child or teen might benefit from counseling, make the call, ask the questions and trust your parental gut. What are you waiting for? If you would like to take that first step feel free to contact me here or call me at 818-669-4850.