There are many children that suffer from some type of behavioral or emotional issues that result in bad behavior. In many cases these children have been exhibiting problematic behavior for years before they start school. Some parents don’t know how to address these issues either for lack of resources, time, embarrassment, or not recognizing that the behaviors have become worrisome enough to seek help.
Most children who are treated for disruptive behavior problems are school-age: they may be acting out in class, ignoring or defying teachers’ direction, or being too aggressive with other children. Some parents hope their children “grow out” of these behaviors, but sometimes, their children have a disability that has not been identified.
Behavior Therapy for Children
It is never too soon to seek help. It is advisable that before starting any type of behavioral therapy parents should closely watch the child and keep a diary of what is going on, consult a therapist and proceed from there. If there are substantial behaviors or emotional issues present, the parents should find a licensed behavior therapist or mental health counselor that deals with stress management strategies, relaxation training, teaches coping skills, and uses talk and play therapy.
Counselor Jennifer employs a gentle, therapeutic approach to help children recognize their true potential and accompanies them in their journey to success. Her experience treating children with autism, oppositional defiant disorder, bipolar, Asperger’s Syndrome and learning disabilities, helps the child to identify their inner thoughts and replace bad thoughts with positive productive thoughts. Mental health counseling can teach the child different ways to respond to situations in a positive way. Play therapy is for younger children and it allows them to act out their issues through role-playing or interaction with dolls and sensory objects.
Children with behavioral issues benefit from having therapy that allows them to express themselves without consequences and then slowly build up their level of trust with the counselor. With therapy, children can begin to learn the reasons for their behavior, what the trigger points are, and how to deal with those issues once they arise. Therapy focuses on positive changes and encourages children to make the necessary changes to feel successful.
Why Use Behavioral Treatments?
Behavior treatment involves both social and psychological therapies. It is a very important part of treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and teens. Behavior modification or behavior therapy is also called psychosocial treatment. It works by changing the behavior of a child or adolescent. Treating ADHD in children often involves medical, educational, and behavioral treatments used together. Treatment should be planned and carried out only after learning what individual needs each child and family have.
Parents and teachers should both use the new skills at the same time to get the best results. They should all do the following:
• Start with goals that the child can succeed in (starting in small steps).
• Be consistent (this also means at different times of the day, in different places and with different people around).
• Use the new skills long term not just for a few weeks or months.
• Remember that teaching and learning new skills take time, and thus improvement will be seen gradually.
Children usually want to feel comfortable around adults and Jennifer knows this very well. Therefore, her sessions may include talk therapy, play therapy, sand therapy, therapeutic games, or more. She also addresses parent/child relationships, providing sessions to increase positive interactions in the home, as well as co-parenting concerns and/or discipline styles.
What you can expect on the first and subsequent sessions:
If you are bringing your child in for treatment, Jennifer will meet with you and your child to review some concerns your child is experiencing. For further sessions, she typically has a brief “check-in with parents” at the beginning of the session and will work with your child alone. If your child is not ready to be alone for the second session, there’s nothing to be worried about. She will work at the pace of your child and his or her comfort level.
For your convenience, Counselor Jennifer works evenings and weekends. Why not start your child’s road to success now? Contact her at (716) 432-3656.