It is amazing how much young children learn each and every day. They are learning how to process emotion, how to become more independent, how to separate from parents as they begin school, how to manage new relationships, and how to enter into social situations. They are learning how to balance friendships, how to interact with adults, how to be responsible for themselves, and how to advocate for themselves when they need help.
Big Emotions, Big Behaviors
The truth is, being a little kid is tough. They are discovering how to be humans and often have big emotions, sometimes followed by big behaviors. Big emotions are a normal part of development for young children, but when big behaviors continuously follow big emotions, children feel unstable, out of control and exhausted. Sometimes, children will ask for your help outright, other times, they will shutdown and withdraw. We, the parents, are responsible for seeing the red flags and helping our children overcome emotional hurtles.
According to the CDC, In the United States approximately 4.4 million children aged 3-17 have diagnosed anxiety and nearly 2 million have diagnosed depression.
What may be happening...
Emotions that frequently lead to big behavioral changes in children include anger, sadness and/or worry. Behaviors often seen after these emotions are excessive crying or emotional meltdowns, screaming, hitting, throwing objects, hiding, withdrawing, shutting down, excessive sleepiness, changed eating patterns, nail biting or nervous fidgeting, hair pulling, or other self-injurious behaviors.
These emotions and behavior also begin to seep into the fabric of the entire family, causing disruptions and mood changes for parents and siblings. It can feel hopeless and exhausting for family members to "walk on eggshells" or try not to upset the child, for fear of the emotional consequences.
Worries have a way of growing if not addressed. Your child may say something like “No one likes me," "I have no friends” or “I don’t want to go to school.” They may be irritable, annoyed or easily frustrated by seemingly simple tasks. Some young children shutdown, withdraw or become more fearful. If you notice your child’s eating patterns, sleeping patterns or mood change drastically, please reach out - we are here to help you strengthen your relationship and get your child back to feeling calm and in control.
How We Can Help
Our therapists help by building a relationship with your child, using books, games art and/or play. We believe that young children learn best from their parents, and we incorporate that belief into our practice by including you in treatment and constantly communicating with you. We help children understand their emotions by labeling them, processing them and discussing behaviors or situations that they are fearful of. Our counselors practice with a holistic, mindful approach and take the child within the context of their family, situation and culture.
We know that it’s so difficult to watch your child suffer though emotional disturbances. Maybe even more difficult for the parent to watch than for the child to endure. After therapy, parents frequently report that their children’s personalities return, that become children again, happy, calm and confident in who they are. We are here to help, therapy can start making a difference in your child’s life right away. Get counseling for kids by reaching out now.