May 2 – 6, 2016 is Children’s Mental Health Week, a national annual campaign that aims to raise awareness about child and youth mental health challenges and promote an understanding that help is available and treatment works. In the lead up to this year’s campaign, staff at Peel Children’s Centre worked together to engage clients and staff to develop resources that are relevant and helpful to the children, youth and families in our community. The following blog was written in response to the feedback we received from our colleagues and our clients, and we hope it helps. You can also download a printable version of the blog via the link at the bottom of this page.
As a parent, you may wonder what role you will play in supporting your child’s mental health after you make an appointment with Peel Children’s Centre. While each family’s situation is unique, these reminders for parents* remain true.
Parents are the experts on their own children.
At Peel Children’s Centre, we believe in working together with a child’s family to support their success. As a parent, your role in your child’s life is an important one. We value your point of view and want to work in partnership with you to achieve the best outcomes for your child. Your knowledge about your child’s history, day-to-day activities, strengths and challenges can help us understand how we can support your child.
Parental support both in and out of counselling is powerful and beneficial.
You will be asked to join meetings with your child’s counsellor so that you can learn how to support your child in applying skills they learn in counselling in their everyday life. As we work together with your child, we will suggest strategies to help them achieve their goals. These strategies will work best if you practice them with your child outside of meetings with their counsellor.
Parents are their children’s best advocate.
Your thoughts, feelings and opinions about your child’s treatment are important to us, because we know you have their best interests at heart. You can advocate for your child by asking questions, attending counselling sessions, and asking for additional resources to support your child.
Parents, counsellors and children form a helping team. Parenting can be a lot of hard work, especially when your child is having difficulties. We consider ourselves your teammates in supporting your child. By working together, we can enhance each other’s understanding of your child’s needs and build a plan that will help your child achieve their goals.
Your goals matter.
Your counsellor will help you and your child set goals that are realistic for your child and your family. The outcomes that are important to you matter to us, too, and we will support you and your child in achieving them.
* All families are different, and we know that in many cases grandparents, stepparents, foster parents, older siblings and other adults take on the primary caregiver role for the children in their lives. This blog includes these caring adults in its definition of the word “parent”.