Is Your Child Struggling To Interact With Others In Healthy Ways?

Are you concerned that your child’s social development may not be normal? Do you wonder what normal even means and, if your child is not within that normal range, if he or she will eventually “grow out of it?” Are your child’s social issues causing disruptions at home or school? Does it seem harder for him or her to make and maintain friendships than it does for other children? Are boundaries a big problem? Are you worried that your child is overly anxious, hyperactive or withdrawn? Do you feel anxious, too, or frustrated and at a loss about how to help your child?

Figuring out the range of normal is part of being a parent, although it can be challenging to do so – especially if this is your first or only child. Not knowing what’s going on for your child or watching them struggle to interact in the world can be a highly frustrating and painful experience. It’s also common to feel at a loss about what to do. While it’s instinctual to want to protect your child, you may also feel that there are some experiences that they must encounter on their own. Making that determination as well as figuring out if their behavior is normal can be a complicated and frustrating process to undergo on your own.

Many Children Struggle Socially

Having a child who is struggling socially is a very common experience. In fact, parents should almost expect that their child or children will go through some period of time when interacting socially is tough for them. The tricky part is learning how to support them through those challenging stages. While it’s natural to want to fix things for them, it’s also important to learn when it’s appropriate to let them figure it out on their own. It’s also important to determine if what they’re experiencing is within the normal range and/or if there are other issues triggering social difficulties.

Therapy Can Help Your Child And You

Millions of children have worked their way through social anxieties, fears and behavioral issues. While some children will naturally grow out of awkward or inappropriate social behaviors, others are a little more socially challenged and need extra support and guidance to do so.

Experience shows us that therapy can be extremely effective in helping children overcome social issues. Counseling for child social issues at an early age also provides an excellent support and resource for parents of children who are struggling to interact in the world in healthy ways. Your BPS therapist can help your child identify the root causes of their negative social behaviors and learn ways to more positively manage their feelings. Sometimes even small changes can have a big impact.

Your therapist is also there to help and support you and your family. Your BPS therapist can help you reframe challenges as opportunities to build and connect. You’ll be able to compare notes with someone who understands the normal spectrum and can help you understand what’s going on with your child. You’ll learn strategies and skills to help get your child back on track socially and how you can best support him or her during different developmental stages.

But you still may have questions or concerns…

We’ve tried therapy in the past and it didn’t help. My child is still really struggling.

Children come with a constellation of issues. These issues can vary with age and are ever changing. Therapy not working in the past could possibly indicate the extent of the problems that your child is having. If that’s the case, it’s important that you consult with another therapist or childhood expert. Early intervention can be extremely effective and yield long-term, positive results. Finding the right therapist is critical, too. BPS is committed to helping you find the best match for you and your child.

And, just because therapy didn’t work in the past, it doesn’t mean that your child won’t make some important breakthroughs with another, more appropriate therapist. Children change and grow everyday and you never know when something might just click for them. Although you are understandably frustrated, it’s important that you don’t give up. With the right help, your child can begin feeling better and start interacting with others in much healthier and more productive ways.

I think therapy could help, but I’m not sure that we can afford it.

This is your child’s life and wellbeing. Addressing your child’s social issues now may prevent a host of problems from occurring as he or she enters new developmental stages, such as adolescence. Investing in their emotional health now may not only address the issue, but also keep the symptoms from getting worse and interfering with their social development.

Many people come to BPS having worked with other therapists who were not trained to work specifically with children’s social issues or who they or their child couldn’t relate with – which is a waste of time and money. At BPS, we’ll conduct a increase the likelihood of a good fit, BPS offers an online therapist directory and match you with a therapist who is trained and experienced in children’s social issues and whose personality is a good match for you and your child. Once you find that good match, making a commitment to your child, yourself and your family may be one of the most valuable investments there is. Imagine everyone in your home feeling and functioning better on a regular basis and ask yourself what that’s worth.

If money still is an issue, you can talk with your BPS therapist to see if they work on a sliding scale. They may also be able to help you find other lower cost resources in the community.

Is therapy really necessary? My guess is that my child will grow out of this behavior.

You may be right. The reality is that kids are very resilient and many may grow out of socially awkward behaviors. However, the further behind your child becomes socially, the tougher it will be to catch-up. If your child is outside the normal range socially, and/or if there are other issues causing social challenges, it’s important to address these behaviors and root causes now. Many of our BPS therapists are highly qualified and experienced in working with children and can help you identify if your child’s behaviors are indeed outside of the norm. If so, early intervention can be very effective. Dealing with these issues now and getting your child on track socially can prevent a host of problems from occurring in the future. It can also alleviate the family stresses that a child with social issues can create. With help, you, your child and your family can enjoy a happier and healthier day-to-day routine and be more prepared to handle issues that may arise in the future.

To increase the likelihood of a good fit, BPS offers an online therapist directory which will help you to determine what your child’s specific issues are and to ensure a good match between you, your child and a BPS therapist in terms of personality, style and expertise.

Check out our free, online therapist directory, which will match you and your child with a therapist who has expertise working with children and social issues.

dan-foxBPS therapist Dan Fox, LPC helped create the content for this page. Dan is a licensed professional counselor who has been working with children and their families on social issues since 2002. Dan’s diverse, child-focused background also includes teaching high school, running a summer camp, school counseling and serving as director of September High School.