Child Psychology

Is My Child OK? Child Mental Health Check-Up for Parents

Is my child ok? Is what they’re doing normal?  Should I be worried, do I need to do anything about it? These are all very common questions I hear from concerned parents. And it’s not surprising – more than ever we are bombarded with advice and opinions about child mental health, and alarmingly, we’re actually now telling people that there’s likely to be something wrong.  Take ‘Covid Fatigue’ as an example. We’re openly telling people that they should almost expect to feel depressed, lethargic, and anxious about venturing out again. Is it any wonder mental health issues are going through the roof. But that’s a topic for another day.

Today I spoke with a very concerned mum who had dropped their ‘delightful but rather full-on’ nearly four-year-old off at day-care.  It’s fair to say that he didn’t have a great day.  Apparently, he had a bit of a tantrum and threw a toy on the floor, and afterwards wouldn’t join in the group activity (go figure!).  When she picked him up, the director wanted to chat with mum.  She was told that he’s likely to have sensory issues, probably ADHD, and quite likely Autism, and there were serious concerns about his ‘mental processing’. Apparently, he needed to be assessed urgently!  After many sleepless nights and repeated questioning and self-doubt, asking ‘what have I missed’ and ‘where have I gone wrong’, mum booked an appointment to talk through it with me.  As it turned out, I had seen her now 5-year-old daughter a few years ago to help with some different challenging behaviour and figured I might be a good person to talk too.  I should also mention that the mum was a teacher, so was already very aware of child behaviour etc., but when it’s your own child, coupled with normal parent self-doubt etc., things can get very clouded.

After a lengthy chat, talking about not only her son’s challenging behaviours, like ‘whacking his sister hard because she walked past him the wrong way’; but also his funny engaging behaviours, such as tricking mum with pranks, and telling his father what actually happened at childcare that day, we came up with a completely different view of her son’s behaviour.  We agreed that yes, he was very strong-willed, and yes, he was quite full-on, and he didn’t like sharing his toys with some random kid at day-care.  Yet he had an advanced sense of humour, he was very engaging, and could easily tell that mum was getting cranky from the many pranks he would pull on her.  In other words, rather than having ‘mental processing’ issues, we agreed that he was probably very bright, and a completely normal four-year-old boy – who’s behaviour was not managed at all well at day-care.  

Anyway, the point of this blog is to provide parents with options.  When it comes to child psychology, I think there is the perception that you need to commit to multiple sessions, locked into fortnightly appointments over many months, so your child can be assessed and treated for their ‘issues’.  Most of the families I see have one or two sessions at most.  It’s amazing what you can achieve in one session when you don’t spend most of the time looking for things that aren’t there. 

Feel free to book a single appointment to discuss your concerns. You’ll receive honest advice aimed at dealing with the issues, not aimed at booking up appointment diaries. 

You can easily get in touch via the Contact Page, or you can make an appointment via the Appointment Page.

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