Even when I solicit input from my trusted and valued advisers — aka “my best mom friends” — I make the decisions and suffer the consequences.
I addressed my son’s issues at school in my previous blogs — to be honest, he hates it. He hates talking about school, homework and the mere thought of it. He’s a smart boy and loves to learn new things but when it comes to school, its pure hatred.
This past April, I sought advice from his school’s guidance counselor. Once a week, Cohen talked to her about any issues and concerns he had about school, friends or family. He seemed to be acting better in school, but his feelings remained the same.
Toward the end of the school year, I received a phone call from his guidance counselor basically saying, “Cohen needs more help than she can give him.” She recommended talking to his pediatrician and suggested several therapists for him to go to. This conversation drove me to tears. I felt like a failure as a parent and didn’t know what to do or where to start. Cohen is a sweetheart, always willing to help, succeeds in school (even though he hates it) and is an all-around good kid. I couldn’t figure out why he was having issues.
Getting Help Before the School Year
I spoke with a couple other moms who made me realize that seeing a therapist is okay and completely normal. They reassured me that I did nothing wrong and that Cohen just needed extra help. I reached out to his pediatrician and she recommended an in-office therapist, but the doctors were booked for at least three months. Luckily, I spoke with a coworker who made a great recommendation. I did my research on the doctors and contacted them. Thankfully, they had several openings and were willing to work with us.
The first session was just for the parents. We filled out paperwork and completed several surveys on Cohen and his issues. I was nervous and emotional during the entire meeting, but the doctor reassured me that it was for the better. We wanted to help Cohen and get everything figured out before the next school year.
Cohen was a little nervous about his first session with a new doctor, but I reassured him that there wouldn’t be any shots. I told him that this doctor just wanted to talk to him and play some games — and that’s just what we did. We also discussed some of his school work that I had brought from home. After the first session, Cohen wanted to go back and keep playing and talking.
Breaking the Stigma
As time has gone on, Cohen continues to enjoy talking to her and learning new ways to cope with his anger and anxiety issues around school. We’ve also uncovered some potential reasons why Cohen was having problems at school: he’s super competitive, doesn’t like losing and loves being the perfect student. I’m hoping that he will continue working through his issues and that 2nd grade will be his best year yet.
Here’s to breaking the stigma of having children see a therapist. To every parent going through a similar situation, remember this: It’s okay to realize that your child may need extra help. You did not fail them. The choice of therapy was the right one for my son and me — and it might be for you and yours.
Babies & Toddlers
In addition to the time I devote to being a mom, I also work full-time outside the home, which means my day is hardly ever as simple as nine to five. With an all-too-established schedule, as soon as I walk through the door, my day doesn’t end, but rather just begins. It’s a balancing act, especially with two children, but being a mom is one full-time job that I never want to quit!
If you think your child could benefit from seeing a therapist, Bryan Mental Health Services can help. Our staff includes psychologists and therapists with special training to work with children, adolescents, adults and families. Click the button to learn more.