Parents will often ask when a problem has reached a point where they need professional involvement. The first thing they should be asking themselves is whether the problem is causing significant interference in their lives (be that the parents themselves or the children). Questions parents want to ask include:
- Are parents missing work/children missing school?
- Is the family avoiding certain scenarios (e.g. going to a crowded restaurant)?
- Have they disengaged from activities they used to be involved in (e.g. no longer attend parent groups because their child is disruptive, etc.)?
- Are the behaviours age appropriate? For example, a 4 year-old who needs to sleep with his or her parents compared to a 14 year-old who needs to do the same thing.
Parents also want to think of any problematic behaviours in terms of frequency, intensity, and duration. Additional questions are:
- How often are these behaviours occurring?
- How intense are they (can you redirect the child/youth, do you have a way to readily help your child regulate, etc.)?
- How long do these behaviours last (e.g., minutes, hours, etc.)?
If you find yourself struggling to answer any of these questions, I would be more than happy to have a conversation to discuss these in more detail.
Dr. Eduardo Roldan, Ph.D., C.Psych