How to Know When an Adopted Child Needs a Therapist – Pt. 2
Of course, every child is different – so there may be many other situations in which an adoptive child needs or could benefit from the help of an adoption therapist. Even if your child’s behavior is not on the previous list, you should always reach out to an adoption therapist whenever:
- The child themselves requests help;
- When you, as a parent, simply don’t know what to do; or
- When your “gut” or “parental instinct” tells you something may be wrong.
Will Seeing a Therapist “Label” My Adopted Child?
Many parents (adoptive and biological) are reluctant to reach out to a therapist for help. They may feel that they “ought” to be able to handle things – and that they are “failing” as a parent by needing help. Or they may be worried about their child being “labeled” with a psychological condition. Though these fears are very common, they are indeed counterproductive to your adoptive child’s well-being.
Think of it this way: if your son or daughter were struggling in math or English, you would see absolutely no “shame” in hiring a tutor for them. And if your child had a high fever or persistent cough, you would certainly call their pediatrician for medical help and advice. Engaging an adoption psychotherapist is no different! Adoption therapists are trained to diagnose and treat the underlying psychological problems that prevent your child from living a happy, fulfilled and successful life.
Making the call to a caring, experienced psychotherapist to discuss your child’s issues is the first step. And, like any other problem (medical, educational, etc.) early intervention is very important. The sooner you get your child on the path to psychological help, the better and more long-lasting the results will be.
Don’t Talk Yourself Out of Needed Therapy for Your Adopted Child
If you are considering therapy, do not talk yourself out of it. As parents we should act on our instincts, because it is usually a valid indication that something is not quite right. And remember that how you handle your child’s problems when they are young will set the stage for what they do later in life when they are upset, depressed, or have a problem.
Engaging in therapy teaches children to talk honestly about their problems with someone who cares. Teaching them this skill has enormous power later on in their life, when the child is no longer under your daily care.