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How much we wanted a child, whether it was to be a girl or boy, just so long as it was healthy! We would manage. We knew we would have a lot to learn and much to overcome, but others had done it, so why not us? We wanted to watch something we had created grow and become even better than ourselves!

At first it seemed we could do it. But after a while we became aware that things were not going so well for us. Others might point it out, or we would compare our child to another, and wistfully wonder “what we are not doing to make our child function better?” The child is sad, or the child is worried, or the child is angry and defiant. Often we might put it down to colic, or some other medical problem, or to a sister or brother, or the schedule the family has due to work constraints. Sometimes we might blame ourselves or our partner or a daycare worker or teacher. We might ask our pediatrician or our neighbor or even our mother or mother-in-law for help or advice. Not much changed, or perhaps things got worse.

What can we do? Certainly, the first step is to begin to record the specific problems you are seeing. Check if you can get independent confirmation, such as from daycare, neighbors, and grandparents. Next, speak with your pediatrician to assure you that there is nothing medically wrong. The third step is to consult with a therapist who is trained in parenting and behavior management. The therapist will often spend time with the parents to get as much information about the problems, when it began, how it has progressed. The counselor then will spend some time to get to know the child. Once this has been done, the counselor should be able to provide you with a hypothesis of what the problem is and a treatment plan which will include what is done in the office as well as at home, in the school, and in the community.

Please do not give up, do not put off getting help, and do not think the child will outgrow this. Problems ignored do not get better with time. Having a child successfully develop is a fulfilling life experience and very possible, if we work through the problems. Let us help. 
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