“I just want my child to be happy”

“The one thing I hear in my practice is “I just want my child to be happy!” So what is going on when we know that at the moment?


Some professionals estimate that one in six children (five years to 16) are struggling with a probable mental health disorder. This can range from low mood anxiety and the like. 

We know that there is a lack of funding and often it is the teachers that are left with trying to support unhappy children. We also know that resilience and a sense of self-worth are essential to deal with life's inevitable challenges. We also know that challenges that are tackled earlier on don’t become entrenched, and the struggle a child or young person is facing can be turned into an emotionally strengthening process. 

Some of the struggles we see from teens are part and parcel of the emotional development process. Sometimes this process requires a little support at the most judicial time. Parents can often be left baffled by their teen's behaviour and at times our work is with the parent. Once we understand exactly what is going on in the emotional or developmental process of our child our fears can be allayed and we can then help our teen to navigate the incredible challenges of our day. 

The emotional and mental health of a teen is indicative of how they form their identity. Their sense of self is shaped by the intimate environment of their family. Having a family where it is safe to have fallings out because there are good relationship repairs. Having a happy child is important not only for the child but for the wider family. When one member is struggling there is inevitably an emotional fallout that affects all the members. Asking for support is not a failure it is a strength. It also models to our children that we can ask for help and this will stand them in good stead for the rest of their life.

We at The Relationship Practice are able to support both parents and young people. We are able to provide a range of support that allows young people to grow into themselves in a way that creates resilience understanding and a strong sense of self-worth. This provides them with a range of tools to use that can help them navigate all the challenging times that can be thrown their way.

Simple steps that can go a long way

  • Have open conversations and be gently curious.
  • Listen and validate the feelings even if you find it hard to hear their distress.
  • If they won’t talk, keep reminding them that you are available.
  • Keep trying to open up the conversation even if you have been brushed off.
  • Think about what may be causing the low mood together. 
  • Remind your child of all the people in their circle who enjoy being with them (family, friends, cousins, clubs and society friends).
  • Have conversations about what theydo enjoy doing.
  • Ask them if you could come up with a plan that may be helpful.
  • Reassure them that it's ok, that they are loved.

If you would like support for the young person in your life or indeed yourself please do contact me.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Wimbledon, London, SW19
Written by Pam Custers, Relationship Therapist London MA Pg/Dip (RELATE) Psych Hons
Wimbledon, London, SW19

Pam Custers is an experienced therapist based in Wimbledon and online.

Working with individuals, couples and families.
Specialising in Relationships and marriage counselling.

She has worked in a range of organisations including RELATE, GP Practice, Schools. Clients are successful individuals who value her unique approach.

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