Children are in an almost constant state of change. This can be stressful and cause them to behave in ways that are worrisome, particularly as they experience changes in their bodies, confront emotions they don’t know how to handle, or are challenged by new experiences that they are unfamiliar with.
For your part, you may find your child is acting out at home or in school. He or she may be increasingly difficult to communicate with, acting angry or even prone to tantrums. His or her behavior may be interfering with daily activities, or he or she may simply be contrary and disruptive in the family, in general.
On the other hand, it’s important to consider that a child’s struggles are not always on the inside. Children’s intense emotions are sometimes triggered by outside situations. For instance, your child may have recently experienced some radical change or trauma. Moving, divorce, changing schools, the death of a pet or loved one, bullying are all circumstances that can be emotionally trying and cause changes in a child’s behavior.
Children don’t have the same understanding or capacity to easily talk about their emotions as adults and sometimes, when they are experiencing intense emotions, things can sometimes come out a little ‘sideways’. When we think of sadness or depression, most of us have a pretty clear idea about what that should look like. Children often express sadness, grief or depression as anger or frustration. This misplacement of emotion is also true of anxiety or fear, when it comes to children. An anxious or fearful child may appear to be clingy, when, in fact, he or she is withdrawing or hiding.
A parent’s concern is often the first sign that a child needs some extra support. A child’s limited range of expressing emotion also interferes with his or her ability to adequately or accurately articulate what he or she is thinking and feeling. If you feel that your child is acting out of character, it’s likely there’s a deeper reason he or she is unable to share with you. It may also be an indication that it’s time to seek out the support of a counselor experienced in working with children.
Children best express themselves through play and art because it’s the way they interpret the world and express their experience. Play and art therapy can help your child better understand what he or she is feeling, adjust to life’s major changes, like moving, divorce or loss, learn positive social skills and increase healthy coping.
If you are at your wits end and feel you child may benefit from counseling or play therapy, reach out to West Hartford Holistic Counseling today, and one of our experienced counselors will help you help your child get back on track. Feel free to contact us here or call us at 860-258-4171 if you have any questions, or to set up an appointment.
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In addition to being a private pay practice, we take Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna, Husky, Optum, United, Medicare and Medicaid insurances.