Below find frequently asked questions about child psychology, parenting and changing family dynamics.
If you are curious to experience how child psychology or family therapy could help you, click the button below to request an appointment online.
When should my child see a therapist?
Parents may choose to find a therapist for their child if the child is having difficulty coping to a new environment or situation or if they develop behaviors that parents or teachers find concerning.
It’s important to note that, much like adults, children may benefit from therapy for any number of reasons. If you or your child believe it could be helpful, then that is a good sign that you should reach out to a medical professional for assistance.
Does my child need to be in therapy forever?
It is absolutely not true that all children who start therapy need to continue seeing a therapist long term. Therapy can often provide individuals with the skills or perspective they need to branch out on their own and continue growing without additional assistance.
But there is also no reason to discourage them from continuing to see a therapist if it is proving helpful. Therapists can develop wonderful long-term relationships with their patients, both as children and through adulthood.
Should I talk to my child about their therapy sessions? How?
It is important that your child’s therapy sessions remain confidential unless the therapist feels the need to discuss certain issues with you, or if the therapist determines that joint sessions would be beneficial. This allows for the child to feel safe and comfortable discussing sensitive topics.
You should be supportive of this level of confidentiality, while also working to help your child feel like they can share what was discussed if they want to. By normalizing the situation and showing your support for their participation, they may come to want to discuss part of the process with you, which can be a wonderful experience.
What is play therapy?
When providing therapy for children, and particularly for younger children, it can often be helpful to incorporate familiar tactics of play through the use of toys, games or puzzles to help them feel relaxed and willing to share things that may otherwise be difficult.
Play therapy allows children to get the most out of their session and feel at ease while providing the therapist with additional communication tools.
Why can’t my child fall or stay asleep?
There are many psychological reasons why your child may have a difficult time falling or staying asleep, including:
- They’re too “wound up” or full of energy to fall asleep.
- They’re overcome with bedtime fears, which can range from the darkness of the room to obsessive thoughts about monsters or death.
- They often experience nightmares and are looking to avoid them.
- They are anxious about recent or upcoming big changes in their lives.
It is also important to note that there are medical conditions that may impact sleep quality. Your therapist may suggest further testing if they believe this may be the case.
How can I help my child fall and stay asleep?
There are a number of general things that you can do to help your child fall or stay asleep, including:
- Talk about it with them to understand the problem from their perspective.
- Develop a nighttime routine that’s relaxing and repeatable.
- Make sure the room is comfortable and cool.
- If they’re afraid of the dark, consider a nightlight or a sound machine.
- Don’t allow them to sleep with a pet, which can wake them in the night.
- Don’t allow them to eat or drink anything too close to bedtime.
- Wind down without technology by reading them a nighttime story or, if they’re old enough, join them while they read their favorite book to you.
Why is my child such a picky eater?
Children and adults may develop food preferences for any number of reasons, including, late introduction of foods, pressure to eat when they are not hungry, an unhealthy concern for nutrition and more. Start by talking with your child about what they do or do not like to eat and why. From there, you might get a pretty good idea of the type of picky eater you have.
How can I help my child overcome picky eating?
While it may be tempting to try and force your child to eat the same meals, it could actually have the opposite effect. It’s important to respect your child’s appetite. If they’re not hungry, now might not be a good time, so put the food aside for later.
You need to be patient when introducing new foods, or even when a familiar food suddenly becomes intolerable. This can be a normal part of development.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to cook exactly what they demand when they demand it. It’s perfectly understandable for you to ask them to follow the same mealtime schedule as the rest of your household. And if they do not like a certain item being served, you can encourage them to eat around it.
In most cases, picky eating will be overcome through time and patience and it’s nothing to worry about. If their behavior becomes concerning, reach out to a professional.
How can I help my child take more of an interest in school?
It is not uncommon for children to have trouble self-motivating when it comes to school. As a parent, the best thing that you can do is take an active role in their education while allowing them the space to explore their interests.
That means getting involved and being willing and able to assist or encourage them when they need it, while also not making a big deal of mistakes or shortcomings when it comes to their educational journey. Help them understand that education is important, while also working to make the process of learning as fun or rewarding as possible.
How can I identify my child’s strengths?
It’s important to recognize that everyone excels more in some areas than others. Strengths may include personal, social, language, literacy and math and logic. Quite often, children gravitate toward certain categories. It’s important to expose them to a variety of scenarios in order to help them discover where their strengths lie, as well as to build strength or resilience in the areas they don’t naturally excel.
Should I encourage my child to play sports?
While it’s true that not all children will naturally gravitate towards athletics, it is important to encourage them to get involved in extracurricular activities in general. Benefits to these activities include physical activity, socialization, confidence building, and more.
It’s important to note that “encourage” is the correct word. It’s important to not push children into activities that they have no interest in. Allow them to sample a variety of activities and work with them to choose the activities they enjoy the most.
Changing Family Dynamics
How can I help my child adjust to a divorce or remarriage?
You should provide your child with the time and the resources they need to cope with major life changes, including divorce and/or remarriage. This often begins with encouraging them to communicate about how they are feeling with honesty and legitimizing their feelings by taking the time to acknowledge their experience.
From there, you can better offer support when they need it and space when they ask for it. Don’t force them into situations that make them feel uncomfortable, but also don’t deny the reality of the situation. It’s important for them to grasp that the situation is evolving while not feeling pressured into it.