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Utilizing a social worker creates many benefits
When a child or family needs a social worker, the family is generally undergoing a large amount of stress. There may be a negative stigma placed on seeking out the help of a social worker. Some parents feel that they should always be in control of every aspect of their children’s lives, and this type of parent may have particular trouble accepting the role of a social worker.
Marioli Sterling explains how you should introduce your family to a social worker, listing some of the benefits of social work that your family will be able to enjoy.
Getting through family reluctance is one of the most important steps before accepting the help of a social worker. When the entire family is open to receiving help, the process is likely to move more quickly and with greater levels of success.
Reluctance is a particular problem when children have emotional problems. Too many parents believe that a child can be threatened or cajoled into giving up “attention-seeking” behaviors, but they should know that children’s mental health conditions are real. A social worker can help parents break through their attitudes regarding their children’s mental health.
The First Meeting
The first meeting with a children’s social worker is generally held with both parent and child. In the case that the problem is related to the entire family, everyone may attend the meeting. The social worker will ask the family members to introduce themselves and talk about why they feel they need help. The child in question may have a difficult time talking about their problems, so art therapy or play therapy may be used to help children express their emotions.
Child social workers generally incorporate a mix of group meetings and individual therapy sessions. Frequently, parents need extra support when they are coming to terms with a child’s diagnosis or dealing with their negative behaviors. Solo counseling or referring a parent to their own social worker or therapist may be appropriate here.
Breaking Down Barriers
Children who need social work services are likely to put up some resistance. Many children do not like to talk about their feelings, as they have never been given the vocabulary to do so. With plenty of one-on-one time with a social worker, a child will become more able to express themselves and articulate exactly how they are feeling or thinking.
Siblings have an especially important role to play when dealing with family issues. Parents may believe that only one of their children is dealing with a particular issue, but social workers may be able to find that the issue is more widespread since these issues frequently run in families.
Siblings also need to be taught to handle their problems with patience rather than judgment. Siblings of troubled children often feel that they are not getting enough attention at home, and they may need a social worker to help them through these feelings. The social worker can then meet with the parents to make sure that the sibling’s needs are being met.
It is especially hard for many parents to accept that their child has a mental health problem or other developmental disorder. Parents may feel that they have failed if their child has problems. Parents need to be reassured that there is nothing they did wrong if their child has a mental health disorder and that their child’s condition is not necessarily a reflection on their parenting.
Ideally, contact with a social worker should be in the long term. Bringing in a social worker only during a crisis can be counterproductive, since the issues that caused the crisis are present all the time. Family members need to be ready to commit to the treatment plan for the troubled child or children.
Marioli Sterling understands how social work can help every troubled family negotiate the difficult circumstances of their lives. When families make a commitment to helping their children, they will find it easier to have a social worker in their corner.
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