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Child Behaviours (November 2020)

CHILDREN who are acting out, are often simply trying to deal with an issue in their life and may not have the mental capacity to voice their troubles in a coherent manner without the assistance of a professional therapist.

Finding the right outlet for voicing their troubles can be difficult, but one of the most successful of these is through Child Centred Play Therapy.

Play Therapy allows your young person to simply do that, play with a variety of toys, board games, sand, play doh, craft, art or other such activities while interacting with a trained counsellor in a safe environment.

As with adults, children need to feel that they can trust the therapist and creating a strong therapeutic relationship with a child can take several sessions as the therapist becomes part of the child or young person’s world.

The therapist or counsellor will only actively be involved in the play by invitation, allowing the child or adolescent the opportunity to lead the play and discover the boundaries of the environment in which they are in.

Play is constructive and can develop quickly or take time.

Play Therapy is not the only tool that can be used with this young group of people, other practices, such as CBT, Gestalt or other creative approaches can be equally successful.

Child or Young Person Centred Therapies do achieve great results for a range of issues including those struggling with: Parent Separation or Divorce, Abuse or Neglect, Anger, Fear, Sleep Issues, Trauma, Bullying, Self Esteem, Grief or Loss, Attachment issues, and Chronic Illness.

When things go wrong at home or even at school, children will often blame themselves for what is happening.

Self-blame can create enormous stress and anxiety for a child “it’s my fault”, “mum and dad fight because of me”, “if I wasn’t here, things would be better”.

The child or young person can feel RESPONSIBLE for their parent’s actions and can oftentimes start to react like a victim themselves, displaying signs of frustration, anger or even depression when they can’t fix a situation.

Children too, often reflect their parent’s behaviours, so being aware of what is happening in the home and what might be witnessed by your young people is really important.

The brain is not fully matured until a person reaches their mid-twenties; some even argue that it may even take longer than that.

What this means is, that children and young people’s brains are at a very delicate stage of development and can be adversely affected by situations that arise around them.

Behaviours in their later years can be traced back to a development period in their young life where they might have experienced trauma, family violence, deep grief or other negative situations.

If you are concerned about your child’s behaviour or notice a change in behaviour it might be due to a situation within the household or at school.

As a responsible parent, be aware of what is going on in your child’s life, ask yourself if there might be an adverse situation causing their anger, lack of sleep, fear, regression, withdrawal from normal activities, lack of self-esteem, eating disorders, addictions or copying other adult behaviours.

When a child experiences a situation that is emotionally traumatic, they can find it hard to make sense of what has happened and generally find it difficult to voice their feelings about the event, and so getting professional help is very important.

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