Sessions with parents are often a critical part of the treatment plan. When all parents and caregivers are aligned and consistent with their approach and management of the child’s emotions, especially in the moment of challenges, it has an exponentially beneficial effect. Real change happens in the small moments at home, when a child is nervous or refusing to eat or attend school, or whatever the challenge may be; how a parent navigates that moment can help reinforce old patterns or help the child forge ahead with new and healthy alternatives.
If your child had a sports injury, you may take them to a physiotherapist and get a treatment plan. The plan may include strengthening and stretching exercises that are to be done daily. There are recommendations of how to rest the injury and a list of activities that should be avoided to allow them to heal well. But imagine if your child only ever did the exercises in the weekly physio sessions? And if parents were not included in the planning, they may not help support the suggestions at home. Parents may even continue to encourage the child to keep playing the sport, running, and doing their usual routine, which may inadvertently be causing further strain and not allowing the injury to heal.
This metaphor does a great job explaining the critical role of parent guidance sessions. If your child is struggling, counselling can be invaluable to assist your child to reflect, process and manage their thoughts and feelings. They will learn strategies that can begin to form positive habits and help avoid the current struggles becoming bigger issues. Outside of the one-hour sessions, however, it is the parents who are managing the ups and downs of the child’s struggles. Managing these moments in an informed, calm, and consistent way is critical. Parent guidance sessions are incredibly effective for helping compliment your child’s counselling. When parents learn the theory and understand the impact of how they manage the day-to-day issues, the child is being supported in a much more wholistic manner, yielding a much better outcome. If life at home is in sync with the work being done in the sessions, it has an exponential effect. This is especially critical for younger kids. Parent guidance can act as a compliment to your child’s individual therapy, can be done together as a family or can be a stand-alone service.
Our therapists can help parents with everyday issues such as homework, screen time, and curfews and teen issues. As well, we can coach parents on how to help support their children’s mental health struggles. If parents feel prepared and confident, they can offer nourishing support that will really make a difference in their kids’ lives. Many insurance companies support this need and will cover sessions for parents to discuss goals and strategies for their child. We encourage all parents to ask whether their insurance plan includes Parent Guidance. In some cases, it can provide three times the amount of coverage available to a child!