Therapy for Young Children
- Irritability and excessive crying
- Eating problems
- Sleeping problems
- Excessive tantrums
- Clinginess to caregiver
- Excessive anxiety
- Family stress
- Attachment disorder
- Aggressiveness and bullying
Is Your Young Child Struggling Emotionally Or Behaviorally?
Is your young child out of control? Do you wonder if it’s just a phase or if it is a serious problem?
If you’re trying to manage a young child who is unhappy or acting out, you know it can be overwhelming for everyone involved. Disruptive behavior can have an effect on you personally, your career, your relationships, siblings and play dates. And, your child is having a hard time. It can be hard to find a solution.
Many Young Children Struggle To Self-Regulate Their Emotions And Behavior
If your child is struggling with intense emotions or disruptive behavior, you’re not alone. Most toddlers and many preschoolers have not yet developed healthy self -regulation skills. In an increasingly busy and stressful society, normal rhythms and routines can easily go off track, making it challenging for parents to model and sustain healthy self-regulation. In our fast paced world, young children are not immune to the stresses of the adult life around them. More than ever, toddlers and preschoolers are having challenges regulating their emotions and behaviors.
Helping toddlers and preschoolers can be difficult because, for the most part, they are non-verbal. They feel, but often cannot use words to help them cope. I really enjoy working with these clients and have had real success helping them learn to self-regulate. Young children learn by doing and seeing rather than through words alone. Play therapy offers a safe environment in which your child can process difficult feelings and learn coping strategies for handling big emotions. For example, a child can develop alternatives to throwing a temper tantrum when he or she feels overwhelmed.
Therapy For Young Children Can Provide You and Your Child
With Skills, Strategies and Support
Oppositional behavior, fears, aggressive or overly clingy behavior, withdrawal and sleeping and eating problems are all indications that a young child may be experiencing emotional difficulties. While all children need to learn how to handle these emotions as part of the developmental process, some kids need more help. Resolving these issues early can head off much more difficult problems later in their life. Too often children end up being medicated when early intervention could have helped them develop internal controls. Healthy emotional regulation is not just about feelings. Not only do they feel bad, they can’t think straight. When children feel out of control they tend to act out in ways that make life difficult for them, their parents and siblings, and eventually interfere with school success. My goal is to help kids learn to be happy, cooperative and develop appropriate emotional coping mechanisms. We often assume that all these skills are inborn, but in my experience they are learned.
In a safe, supportive and gentle environment free from the distractions of siblings and daily stress, I provide your child the attention and space needed to develop the ability to express emotions, to take responsibility for feelings and to respond to stressful situations more appropriately.
Challenging Life Circumstances
Some young children come to me because they are dealing with particularly difficult life challenges: divorce, separation, loss and trauma. At one end of the spectrum these kids are surrounded by an extremely stressful modern world. They may not understand the world they have been born into, but they can feel fear, confusion and tension in the adult world. It’s important for them to learn to cope with the realities and stresses of modern life to the extent that it enters their young life. At the other end of the spectrum, I have worked with children who have been exposed to severe trauma. The basic process is the same: learning to come to a place of safety within. In therapy we can explore feelings. In this realm kids learn by modeling more than instruction. It’s okay for them to be sad, angry and hurt, but if the child can safely feel their feelings, they quickly pass and life goes on. This is a path for the child to learn to eventually take responsibility for feelings and respond appropriately.
As an experienced child therapist, I can provide you with tools and skills to help you navigate this challenging time. In addition to helping you develop strategies to guide your child, I can help you with stress management techniques that can bring relief to your whole family.
Through therapy for young children, it is possible for your child to improve self-regulation skills, get along better with peers and learn how to manage and express increasingly complex emotions. With help and support in place, not only can your child begin to feel better and function with more ease, but you and the rest of your family can learn valuable skills and find a more manageable and peaceful path forward.
Although you may believe that you and your child could benefit from additional support right now, you still may have questions or concerns about therapy for young children…
How can I know if my child’s behavior is developmentally normal, a phase he or she will grow out of or if something more serious is occurring?
Children are dynamic. Their behavior can sometimes shift quickly, which may not be indicative of a problem, but can be unsettling at times. That said, you know your child best. If concerning behavioral issues have been going on for some time and parenting strategies that once worked are no longer effective, it’s best to be proactive and seek a consultation. An experienced therapist can give you immediate insight into what might be occurring. Furthermore, in the case that something more serious is occurring, studies show that early intervention yields the best, long-term results. It may also be determined that your child is just going through a particularly challenging developmental stage. In that case, I can provide you and your family with guidance and support. I can help you put effective strategies in place to help your child better self-regulate.
My child is so young. Can therapy really help a pre-school aged child?
Although it may feel like your child is too young to reap the benefits of therapy, counseling for toddlers and preschoolers can be highly effective. I routinely see major positive changes in very young children, even in just a few sessions. Age and developmentally-appropriate approaches, such as play therapy, give young children an opportunity to express themselves, develop new skills and work through challenging feelings.
I’ve heard that therapy for young children can be expensive and take a lot of time.
It can be helpful to view therapy as an investment in both the current and future wellbeing of your child and family. In counseling for toddlers and preschooler sessions, your child can learn how to better self-regulate and cope with stressful feelings. You can also learn valuable skills to help you best support your child and promote harmony and balance within your home. Parents often see an improvement in their child’s behavior after just a few sessions.
Call me for a free phone consultation. I’m happy to discuss your child’s specific needs and answer any questions you have about therapy for young children and my practice.