Knowing When Your Child Needs Help

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I was listening to my seven-year-old son tell me how worried he was about our house catching on fire or someone breaking in and stealing our stuff. His thoughts spiraled in all directions, filled with worry and anxiety. I realized he had been expressing feelings like this for quite some time and I thought to myself, “Is this normal? How much do kids his age worry about this stuff?” I wasn’t sure, but I had that feeling in the pit of my stomach that said something wasn’t right. 

We all have times when we look at our kids and wonder if something’s going on that shouldn’t be. Is my child sick? Does my child have a speech problem? Is my son/daughter worrying too much? Why is my child so emotional? Are my children meeting their (age appropriate) milestones?

Moms tend to worry a lot about our kids. But we also have this innate sense that lets us know when something isn’t right. You get that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach I mentioned earlier; the “spidey senses” go off and you start to notice little things you hadn’t before. Maybe you start to watch your child like a hawk and take notice of certain behaviors more than you had previously. 

It’s our mother’s intuition.

I’ve had to rely on that mother’s intuition with both of my sons. My youngest needed speech therapy and now my oldest is struggling with anxiety and going to counseling. I’m glad I followed my instincts and sought help for my children. It has made all the difference.

If you’re not sure if your child needs help or not, I want to share some encouragement with you.

Don’t Ignore Your Gut Instinct

When my youngest was three I began to realize he didn’t speak as clearly as I thought he should. I had trouble understanding what he was saying and both he and I would get frustrated. My husband told me he couldn’t understand much of what Raylan said at all. With preschool looming, I wanted to make sure his speech would be clear enough for his teachers to understand him when he spoke. So I decided to have a speech evaluation done. Turned out, he had a speech articulation disorder and most definitely needed speech therapy. I’m so glad I didn’t ignore that little voice in my head that said something wasn’t right. 

When my oldest recently starting exhibiting signs of anxiety, that same gut instinct rose up again inside of me. As someone who suffers from anxiety myself, I began to recognize the signs. He would constantly talk about different things that worried him. These were things a seven-year-old shouldn’t be worrying about. He also began to complain of stomachaches and he’d be nervous in situations that hadn’t previously made him nervous. And since anxiety can be genetic, I knew I needed to take him to a counselor.  

 

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My youngest working with his speech therapist

 

They Say Don’t Compare Your Child To Another, But…

We always hear people say not to compare your child to another. Children all develop differently, is what we are told. However, there are certain speech, physical, and sensory milestones they should reach by specific ages. So when I felt my three-year-old wasn’t speaking as he should be, I started to listen closely to the speech of other children his age. I also went back and watched old videos of my oldest at the same age to see how clearly he was speaking. It soon became very obvious to me that my son’s speech was not where it needed to be. In a case like this, it helped to compare my child to others. 

Don’t Be Embarrassed To Talk About It

When both of these situations with my boys arose, I was hesitant to talk about it with my friends at first. However, I soon discovered I wasn’t alone in my situation. Two of my girlfriends had also put their children in counseling. I also asked my friends what they thought about Raylan’s speech. It was helpful to have another perspective and to hear from them that they also had difficulty understanding him. It confirmed my gut feeling even more. 

As moms, we don’t like to think of something being “wrong” with our kids. We don’t want a negative stigma put on our child(ren). It’s so easy to feel pressured by society to have the “perfect” family and for our children to be perfect in every aspect. But that’s just not reality. Sometimes our kids need extra help for a variety of reasons and that’s OK. There is nothing “wrong” with our children and there is nothing wrong with you, mamma, because your child needs help.

Talk to your Pediatrician

If you feel your child may need help in one way or another but aren’t sure what to do, ask your child’s doctor. That’s what they are there for! They want to help your child succeed. Our pediatrician has been great in both my boys’ situations and I am grateful for the help and insight she provided. 

If you have that gut instinct telling you your child might need help, don’t ignore it. Remember, there are plenty of resources available to you for just these situations. And early intervention is a great way to get your child headed down the path to healing.

Have you dealt with a similar situation? What helped you?

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