“My son started getting bad grades in school, and he’s always made As.”
“My daughter doesn’t listen to me, and throws a fit if I tell her to clean her room.”
“My daughter suddenly became afraid to go to school.”
“My son has been arguing with both of us and he gets mad so easily.”

These are common concerns of parents who call a counselor. When kids and teens start acting differently, they often can’t explain why, or even understand their own feelings and behaviors. Kids and teens are sensitive to their environments, and they react to changes and stressors at home and school. Events such as trauma, parent separation or divorce, and the illness of a family member can cause sadness, anger, anxiety, and behavior problems. When this happens, parents often get concerned and call a counselor.

The next step is simple…the counselor “fixes” the kid…right?

Not quite. Kid’s problems rarely exist in a vacuum. Sometimes the whole family system needs work. This means the counselor may need to work with the parents and child/teen together to improve relationships and help parents understand what their kids need from them.

Other times, parents may need to see a counselor to work on their relationship with each other. Frequent conflict and arguing between parents can create sadness or anxiety for kids, as well as behavior problems.

Counselors may also provide coaching or counseling to parents to help them learn how to manage their child or teen’s behavior. A counselor may work with parents to help them learn how to set limits, make rules, and deal with problem behaviors in their kids and teens.