Being a parent is probably the most important job many of us will ever have. Yet many of us are minimally prepared for the enormity of the task of raising our young ones from infancy to adulthood. All children develop at their own pace, and of course, each child is unique and special in his or her own way. Parents may notice and worry when their child is more slow to develop, demonstrates changes in their behavior or mood, or can’t seem to get along with family or friends. Every child will have an occasional “bad day,” and it is appropriate for your child to go through transitions. Unfortunately however, some children develop serious emotional or behavioral problems that require professional help. It is important for parents to be aware of their children’s growth and development and to watch for unusual changes or regressions. As a general rule, it is time to consult a mental health provider if your child’s behavior is age inappropriate, an on-going pattern, or if it interferes with his or her learning, growth and social development. Consultation with a psychologist can often help parents to develop the knowledge and skills needed to put the child back on track.
Talking with a professional may also be beneficial in helping a child through stressful periods or events in a family. These events could include the arrival of a new sibling; a move or school change; the illness or death of a parent, sibling, friend, or grandparent; or other traumatic occurrences.