Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Growing healthy kids

No one likes the idea of children in psychiatric hospitals. Few people know what the reality of children in psychiatric care looks like, but ask the parent of child who has been there and they will tell you how necessary the admission was. Children donlt have to be in a hospital. Hospitalization is a drastic act reserved for life threatening issues such as suicide, homicide and being out of touch with reality. There is much a parent can do to prevent hospitalization of a child. The easiest way to prevent children from being "locked up" in a mental institution is to help them before they get that sick. Children can benefit from counseling just like adults can. In fact, kids will do better because their whole purpose in life is to learn. They are geared to experience, process and incorporate or implement what they have learned. It is innate. Adulst have already learned mich of what they will in their life and their pthwasy are already formed. Children will respond to help when it is offered in a way they can not only understand, but in an environment where they can practice what they learn and expereince successful completion of a task. In order for this to happen, adults have to be okay with asking for help. This is no easy task. For an adult who cares for a child to ask for help, they first have to come to the understanding they don't have the answers themselves. They need to be able to say " I don't know, but I am willing to talk to someone who might be able to help." Early intervention, either by talk therapy or play therapy can be the deciding factor between a childhood of admissions to psychiatric hospitals and a one of sleep overs and camping trips. We think nothing of taking a child to see a doctor for glasses, a tooth ache, braces, and shots for school. We should think nothing of taking a child to talk to a therapist about nightmares that won't end, being bullied at school, or witnessing a traumatic event. Kids need help processing all the information they receive. No parent can keep up with all the demands of parenting by themselves. The more complex a child's world becomes the harder it is to provide support the children need. Parenst need to have a network of support. Other countries see therapy as a natural progression in life, as a way to effectively cope with an ever increasingly complicated world. Our kids need help just like they do. If your child is experiencing a dramtaic change from their usual routine, consider asking for help from a therapist or a counselor. Talk with your child about what they feel, what frightens them, why they worry. You donlt have to have all the answers. But as a parent you do need to let your child know you will do everytning you can to help them find their way. Just like a trip to the pediatrician, a trip to therapist may be just the thing to prevent a small problem from becoming a big deal. Later on, I'll talk about how to choose a therapist based on your child's needs and age. In the meantime, if you need a list of good child therapists, please feel free to email me or check out the webite at

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