As adults, we like to think of childhood as a time that is free of stress and worry, but this is not true for all children. It is important to understand that children experience the same complex feelings and emotions as adults. However, younger children have difficulty expressing emotional distress in words, while older children may feel embarrassment or even confusion about how they are supposed to feel in difficult situations. As a result, children of any age can shut down and attempt to deal with challenging situations on their own.
It is wonderful when we see our children experience joyfulness and love, but we also need to attune ourselves to our children when they experience difficult emotions such as anger, fear, insecurity, anxiety, sadness, or embarrassment. If your child seems to be expressing emotional pain through play and other behaviors, you need to be listening. If you notice these emotions have become significant and enduring, your child may be struggling with something.
Why your child may benefit from therapy
Some children are more sensitive than others for a variety of reasons. Temperament, environment, heritability, and other factors can cause a child to struggle with anxiety, sadness, or anger.
Childhood can be stressful for many reasons. When adults are dealing with challenging situations, children are also affected. As the child’s social world broadens, issues can come up with other people the child encounters at school and extracurricular activities that happen outside of school. You cannot supervise your child at all times and while they learn to navigate areas of academics, peers, and social groups, stressful and confusing situations can arise.
Signs and symptoms your child may be in distress
If you notice a change in your child’s emotional state or their behavior has changed from the usual ups and downs in life, your child may be struggling with an internal or external issue. As children do not always express themselves verbally, you may notice emotional and behavioral signs that your child needs help.
If your child has experienced significant trauma or loss of an important relationship, therapy can be beneficial as it helps them to express their feelings and learn how to cope with distress. Like adults, children need support and guidance when navigating challenging situations in life. It is important to know that children can and do hide their feelings. They may not share how they feel in order to protect the adults in their lives. Therapy can help the child cope with stress and process difficult emotions if they have suffered a significant adverse event in their lives.
Signs of behavioral problems
If you and your child’s teachers are having difficulty managing your child’s behavior, both the child and the family will benefit from therapy. When your child’s behavior is problematic, the entire family is affected. Therapy can help parents explore how the family dynamic may be contributing to the child’s behavior. In light of this understanding, strategies for managing behavior and creating a healthy and supportive environment will benefit the child and parents on multiple levels.
Child behavior management is important to the wellbeing of your child. If your child is acting out, his or her academic performance will suffer. Additionally, making friends is also difficult for children experiencing behavioral issues. It is difficult to overemphasize the importance of school performance and learning how to make and keep friends is to the overall wellbeing of your child, now and in the future. The good news is that therapy can help your child learn how to manage their own behavior and in this way, create a healthier and happier future as they mature.
Signs of emotional issues
If your child seems more worried than most, overly stressed, or sad, it is important to understand why. One of the greatest outcomes children receive from therapy is that they can learn how to cope with powerful emotions such as fear, anxiety, sadness, and disappointment.
Skill-building allows children to learn how to handle and process emotions at an age-appropriate level. These skills are strengths they will carry with them as they grow and mature.
What happens in therapy
Depending on the issues and the age of the child, therapy can happen with the child alone, with the entire family, or can be a combination of both. Parents who wish to attend therapy are often encouraged because the end goal is to help the parent understand what the child needs and provide guidance and support.
For younger children, who are unable to articulate their feelings verbally, play therapy allows the child to express themselves and communicate to an expert what they are going through. The therapist will help your child process emotions and stress in an age-appropriate manner.
If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to call and book your appointment or fill out our contact form and click Send. Center for Therapeutic Services and Psychodiagnosis is located in McHenry, IL and Lake in the Hills, IL.