What to Do When a Child Asks for Family Counseling

In many circumstances, the parents decide to pursue family counseling. However, there are some instances where the child is the one to suggest counseling. As a parent, how should you respond to this? What do you say and do when your child asks for family counseling? The guide below will explain how to approach this situation.

Do Not Interpret This as an Attack

Your gut may tell you to get defensive or angry about this request, as if it is a personal attack on you. Reframe your thinking. Your child recognizes a problem within the family, and he or she wants help for it. This is no different than asking a teacher for help with homework or asking a parent for life advice. If your child is strong enough to make this request, that’s great! Be proud of the strong person you’ve raised. Don’t feel embarrassed because all families struggle. Instead, take steps to ensure that your family gets back on the right track.

Talk to Your Child about Why He/She Wants Family Counseling

If you feel blindsided by this request, talk to your child about the circumstances. What is he or she worried about? What issues is your child hoping to resolve? You may already know these answers because you, too, have considered family counseling. Listen to what your child has to say. If he or she is uncomfortable with the discussion, family counseling will make that easier. Your therapist can guide the conversation to ensure every family member is heard.

Look for a Family Counselor Suited to Your Needs

If you’ve decided to pursue family counseling, make sure the counselor is well-suited for your family’s needs. For instance, if you have a child with autism, you may look for a family counselor who specializes in autism treatment. If you recently separated from the child’s other parent, you might pursue co-parenting counseling. Other factors to keep in mind include:

  • Insurance coverage
  • Appointment times (hours of operation)
  • Specialty services, such as blended family counseling or divorce prevention
  • Experience
  • Licensure and credibility

At Heron Ridge Associates, we match each client with the ideal therapist for their needs. We have individual counselors, family counselors, marriage counselors, and much more. All of our therapists are highly experienced, some with over 30 years of professional experience. Contact one of our counseling centers to get matched with a family therapist near you.

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