Support your child or teen’s appointments
- Before the first appointment, talk to your child or teen about the process. Share what you know about the helper and any other details such as where you are going, how long it may take and whether anyone else will be present.
- Reassure your child or teen that there is no blame for their concerns. Life presents challenges and all families struggle at times along the way.
- If possible, reassure your child that any other family concerns are not due to their struggles. Children and teens often feel that their difficulties are causing all the challenges a family may have, such as marital problems. In truth, these concerns may be part of the picture, but usually there are other factors involved as well. Reassuring them that it isn’t their fault may relieve some of their stress.
- Reassure your child or teen that the appointment or discussion (if over the phone) is meant to help them.
- You can also tell them that you are seeking help, too –ways to help your child or teen cope and ways to be supportive during their struggles. It may also help to let them know you are open to learning new ways of being a family, too.
- Be a good role model – look after your own health and communicate calmly and openly.
- Be open to ways in which you can support your child’s or teen’s growth and development.
Along the way:
- Remind your child or teen that help takes time to happen, to process and to take effect.
- Try not to expect immediate changes in anyone. Often it takes time to make progress, to learn to better communicate or learn new coping skills.
- Try to be patient with yourself, with your child or teen and with the process in general.
- Keep communication open with the helping professional. If things are not going well, let them know. Be open to hearing about ways to help.
- Make note of positive developments, even if they seem small. Every bit of encouragement can be helpful and can keep things going in a good direction.