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5 Signs Your Child May Need Therapy: A Teacher's Perspective

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

As a teacher in Thornhill with years of experience, and a dad to two amazing daughters, I've had a front-row seat to the emotional rollercoaster that childhood can be. The nearby communities I've taught in like Thornhill, Markham, Vaughan, and Richmond Hill are no strangers to the pressures that kids face these days. Recognizing when a child needs professional help can be tough, so let's explore five signs your child may need therapy.

Sudden Changes in Behavior: More Than Just a Phase?

The first red flag is a dramatic shift in behavior. I remember a student who was usually lively but suddenly became reserved and unresponsive. That change was a cry for help. According to an article from the American Psychological Association, these variations can signify underlying emotional issues.

Prolonged Sadness or Withdrawal: When to Be Concerned

It's okay for kids to have an off day; we all do. But if this becomes a pattern lasting for weeks, it's a concern. Some of our families from Vaughan and Richmond Hill have found therapy to be a useful resource in such situations. Did you know that according to the CDC, there has been an increase in depression and anxiety among children aged 6–17 years. The rate of children ever diagnosed with anxiety or depression rose from 5.4% in 2003 to 8.4% in 2011-2012. Also, according to the American Psychological Association, there has been a 40% increase in feelings of persistent sadness and hopelessness among young people in the decade leading up to the pandemic.

Disturbed Sleep Patterns: More Than Just Nightmares

Sleep is crucial for a child's overall well-being. In my years as a teacher, I've seen firsthand how a disrupted sleep schedule can affect not just a student's academic performance but also their emotional state. According to WebMD, inconsistencies in sleep patterns can be a sign of underlying emotional or psychological issues.

Frequent Physical Complaints: The Mind-Body Connection

Frequent physical complaints like headaches or stomachaches that lack a medical explanation often signal emotional distress. In my experience as a teacher, I've seen students report these kinds of symptoms when they're feeling anxious or stressed. According to Psychology Today, it's important to address these symptoms as early as possible, as they can be indicative of underlying emotional issues.

Struggles in Social Situations: The Invisible Weight

We often underestimate the stress kids feel in social settings. Whether it's making friends or speaking up in class, social anxiety can be debilitating. An article on Verywell Family discusses how therapy can offer coping strategies tailored to each child's needs.

Wrapping It Up: Next Steps for Concerned Parents

Whether you're a fellow teacher or a busy parent, recognizing these signs early can make all the difference in a child's life. If you’re in Thornhill, Markham, Vaughan, or Richmond Hill, consider seeking out a local child or teen therapist for a consultation. Remember, therapy is not a judgment but a resource.


  • How do I approach my child about going to therapy?

Approaching your child about therapy is a delicate matter. Choose a time when both of you are calm and not distracted. Use simple language and ensure your tone is non-judgmental and compassionate. You might say, "I've noticed you've been feeling down lately, and that's completely okay. There are professionals who can help us understand what you're going through a bit better." It's important to emphasize that therapy is a safe space and there's no stigma attached to it. For further reading, you can consult this helpful guide from Child Mind Institute.

  • Can therapy also involve the entire family?

Absolutely, many therapy practices offer family therapy sessions. These sessions can be instrumental in resolving interpersonal conflicts, improving communication, and fostering better understanding between family members. If you’re facing family-wide issues, a group session can provide a neutral setting for everyone to speak openly. The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy offers more insight into the benefits and logistics of family therapy.

  • Where can I get therapy for kids and/or teens near me in Thornhill, Vaughan, Markham and/or Richmond Hill?

Young Sprouts Therapy offers services for children, teens, and families in and around Thornhill, Vaughan, Markham, and Richmond Hill.

Ready to take the next step? Contact us for more information or to schedule a consultation.

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