HOW CAN THE PARENTS RECOGNIZE WHEN TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP?

Most parents are capable of helping their child overcome fears and anxiety. However, it is not a sign of failure if the parents find that they are unable to help their child by themselves. A telephone call to a pediatrician, family physician, the local mental health center or clinic could be helpful. In some cases, advice can be given on the telephone. In other instances, parents will be counseled to bring their child for an interview. In cases of severe anxiety, early action will result in a return to normal. Parents will recognize rather soon whether or not their attempts to help their child have been successful.

If the sleeping problem continues for more than a few nights, if the clinging behavior does not diminish, if the fears become worse, it is time to ask for professional advice. Mental health professionals are specially trained to help people in distress. They can help parents cope with and understand the unusual reactions of their child. By talking to the parents and child either individually or in groups, a child's fears can be overcome more easily.

Some parents are reluctant to consider seeking the help of a mental health professional or a clinic. However, more and more people are becoming aware that there is no stigma attached to seeking help. It is a way to avoid severe problems.