Signs that You Should Take Your Child to Therapy

Lack of enjoyment in previously enjoyable activities or withdrawal may be signs that you should take your child to therapy. Learn more.
Signs that You Should Take Your Child to Therapy
Maria Fátima Seppi Vinuales

Written and verified by the psychologist Maria Fátima Seppi Vinuales.

Last update: 29 February, 2024

Today, parents have more information about children and parenting. Many can talk about the importance of attachment and appropriate concepts such as “the two-year crisis”, among other ideas. They even wonder at what age it’s advisable to take their child to therapy.

Knowing what the challenges are according to the developmental stage of the child or adolescent is useful to accompany them and understand how to help them. Remember, parenthood also means not having all the answers.

You may realize that something’s going on with your child, that they’re suffering, or that something has changed. However, you may not know how to help your child. In these cases, it’s advisable to think about taking your child to therapy. You’ll find more information about this below.

When should I take my child to therapy?

In the adult world, it’s gradually becoming more common to hear of people deciding to start therapy. They accept that they need help or seek a professional opinion on how to address a certain issue.

However, when it comes to thinking about therapy for children, it may not yet be as common. Sometimes this is due to a lack of knowledge or due to their own prejudices. Many times, parents can’t determine the dimension of the conflict or the situation the child’s going through.

Sometimes they believe that it may be something temporary or a “tantrum”. On the other hand, there may be prejudices or doubts as to whether it’ll be effective, the fear of “stigmatizing” the child by telling them that they should go to therapy, among other misconceptions.

It’s important to understand that as parents, many times, the resources and the possibility of providing help or understanding are limited. For that, the role of a health professional can be clarifying and guiding. But you should know that it’s important to observe the child’s behavior to make the decision.

Symptoms or signs that you should take your child to therapy

Some signs that you should take into account in your child’s behavior.

  • Sudden and intense mood swings.
  • Aggressiveness and irritability.
  • Withdrawal, isolation.
  • Delayed onset or development of speech and language.
  • Regressive behaviors. That’s to say, the child takes some steps backward in regard to certain already reached achievements. For example, they go back to urinating at night or crying if left alone.
  • Difficulties at school, both in academic performance or learning, as well as in their relationships with the teacher or peers.
  • Complaints of physical pain or symptoms without a cause. For example, complains of tummy aches or headaches.
  • Nightmares, night terrors.
  • Family or life changes. Moving, the loss of a loved one, changing schools, the arrival of a new family member, etc.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that they previously enjoyed.

The list of symptoms can be much longer. Here, the parents’ attention to the child’s behavior and emotions is key. At the same time, it’s worth clarifying that childhood is an important time of development, when the first manifestations of later disorders may occur. But with early intervention, the prognosis is more encouraging.

You may be interested in: The Treatment of Childhood Anxiety

What to consider when starting therapy?

Here are some recommendations when taking your child to therapy.


Regarding age, there’s no indicated age. The criterion to take into account should be the situation that’s worrying you. In any case, perhaps the situation doesn’t warrant direct intervention with the child, but the parents can receive guidance and useful resources regarding how to act with their child.

The choice of a professional

Look for a professional who has training or experience in working with children. In this way, you ensure that they not only have the necessary knowledge but also provide the right place for your child to feel at ease.

In other words, a child psychologist usually connects with children through play . Therefore, their office usually has furniture and toys to allow for that kind of interaction.

Addressing the issue with your child

Address your child in a clear, empathetic, and age-appropriate way. For example, tell them that people sometimes need help and that it’s okay to ask for it. Also, tell them that just as you see a doctor when you have pain, you can also see a psychologist when you have pain or emotional discomfort.

Get involved in the process

When children are young, initiating or continuing therapy depends a lot on the role of their parents. That is, factors such as time (taking them to appointments and waiting for them), money, and even the concepts of going to therapy and mental health are influential.

It’s also important for you to know, as a way of reducing your own anxiety and seeking peace of mind, that in childhood, diagnoses are flexible, as the professional G. Untoiglich points out. That is, early help can improve or reverse any difficult scenario. There’s no need to wait until a difficulty is limiting or becomes a disorder. Even if you think therapy isn’t the way or you’ve never had the opportunity to make contact with the therapeutic space, put aside your prejudices and support your child. Early care can make a difference in your child’s quality of life and well-being.

Finally, as the family also plays a central role in children’s mental health, they should also be supported. Accompanying the family group is one way to prevent future difficulties.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Caretti Giangaspro, Eugenia, Guridi Garitaonandia, Oihana, & Rivas Cambronero, Eva. (2019). Prevención en la infancia: no toda intervención hoy es más salud para mañana. Revista de la Asociación Española de Neuropsiquiatría39(135), 241-259. Epub 11 de noviembre de 2019.
  • Lemos Giráldez, S., (2003). La psicopatología de la infancia y la adolescencia:consideraciones básicas para su estudio. Papeles del Psicólogo, 24(85),19-28. ISSN: 0214-7823. Recuperado de:
  • Robles-Bello, M. A., & Sánchez-Teruel, D. (2013). Atención infantil temprana en España. Papeles del psicólogo34(2), 132-143.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.