Why is it so difficult for a parent to hear that their child is struggling?

Why is it so difficult for a parent to hear

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    When a teacher or a loved one mentions the need for psychological support for our child, our first instinct is often to feel embarrassed. For what ? And how can you help your child start this stage with confidence? Experts respond.

    Have you ever experienced this uncomfortable scene? During a meeting with a teacher, or with a loved one, who drifts into your child’s behavior (who turns out to be disruptive, too reserved, who has experienced a big change… whatever!) That’s what we suggests that you seek help from a health professional, particularly a psychologist. The idea is relevant, but your first instinct is to feel embarrassment, guilt or great worry, sometimes tinged with anger. Why then, when it’s simply about helping your son or daughter?

    A mirror reaction to your own difficulties

    In the media Psychology Today, two psychologists address the question and above all evoke a gap with reality which is catching up with us. Indeed, in most cases, this recourse to a psychologist, we have already thought about it as a parent, but we procrastinated, waited for another solution, and now we feel guilty for having delayed taking matters in hand. It’s not too late but we’ve lost time.

    This upcoming consultation, whether with a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or another mental health professional, is also at the origin of many feelings in a parent which explains this torment: for some, the feeling of obtaining Help is a feeling of relief. But for many, the anticipation is unpleasant sometimes because of previous negative experiences: if you have not felt helped in the past, if you have felt judged or disappointed, then a referral for a consultation may seem like something that you just don’t want to do.

    Parents may also feel like they are being held up to a mirror in which all their weaknesses, problems and shortcomings are reflected, bringing a feeling of failure, or guilt. The first thing to do is therefore to focus on the well-being of your child, while taking a step back from your own feelings.

    Minimize your parental distress in three steps

    Good news, it is however possible to restore balance and minimize the distress of anticipation as a parent to best support the child. According to Michael Schwartzman and Elena Lister, psychologist and psychiatrist, it’s up to you to work on yourself to silence this little voice.

    • Take stock of the past. Think about any similar experiences that have upset you. How have you handled this in the past? What was helpful?
    • Note the differences between how you handled difficulties as a child and how you are able to resolve difficulties now as an adult. How have your life experiences strengthened your resilience? How much better can you think and solve problems today?
    • Recognize that there are different possible outcomes now, that the shared goal here is to help your child, and that a healthcare professional is offering them the opportunity to resolve their difficulties.

    Reassure the child and explain the process: instructions for use

    Of course, for you to be more comfortable with this situation, it is necessary to find the right therapist for you, who uses the right approach, the right tone and in whom you trust. But once you have found one, you will also need to support your child as best as possible so that they can benefit from their sessions. Here are several possible situations, and their triggers, according to experts:

    • At a time when your child is upset about what is happening, mention that you too are upset about it and that you have spoken to someone, a professional, who you think can be very helpful;
    • If your child is resistant, explain to him that you want him to meet a specialized professional to help children know themselves better. If your child balks, it is better to put the idea on hold for a while, rather than pressuring the child;
    • If the school asks the child to see a professional, explain to them that they have no choice, just as going to school is not a choice. You can explain to him that once he meets the professional and learns more about the plan to help him, he will have the opportunity to discuss it with you.

    Regardless, psychologists point out: it is important to be optimistic about the consultant, even if you are pessimistic about the problems. And in most cases, these appointments restore your child’s self-confidence, which is the source of many problems.

    10 tips to give your child confidence

    Slide: 10 tips to give your child confidence