Every child faces emotional difficulties from time to time, as do adults. Feelings of sadness or loss and extremes of emotions are part of growing up. Conflicts between parents and children are also inevitable as children struggle from terrible two’s through adolescence to develop their own identities. These are normal changes in behaviour due to growth and development.
The realization that a child’s behaviour needs professional attention can be painful or frightening to parents who have tried to support their child, or it may be accepted and internalized as a personal failure by a parent.
• The intensity of the behaviour: For instance, while temper tantrums are normal in almost all children, some tantrums could be so extreme that they are frightening to parents and suggest that some specific intervention might be necessary. Parents should pay particular attention to behaviour such as feelings of despair or helplessness, lack of interest in family, friends, school or other activities once considered enjoyable, or behaviours which are dangerous in the child or to others.
• The age of the child: While some behaviour might be quite normal for a child of two, observation of other children’s behaviour compared to for instance a five year old might not be normal. Not all children reach the same emotional milestones at the same age, but extreme deviations from age appropriate behaviours may well be the cause for concern.
Attempts at self-injury or threats of suicide, violent behaviours, or severe withdrawal that creates an inability to carry on normal routines must be regarded as emergencies for which parents should seek immediate attention.
Explain to your child that he is going to visit a lady who works with kids. This lady work with kids every day and her job is to get to know him/her a little better and finding out how his heart is doing. Her job is to find out what are the things in his/her life that they like that make them feel happy and also the things in their lives what they don’t like and that makes them feel sad or unhappy – so that in the end we (you the child and the therapist) can make plans to make sure that he is happy, most of the time.
Give the message to the child that you know the therapist and trust her, and that he is allowed to tell her anything that he wants to. Reassure him that there is nothing that he shouldn’t say or that you will be angry about.
Please refrain from using the words “play” when preparing the child for the session. This often creates the wrong expectations with the child expecting to spend the time playing and thus making it difficult to get through all the “work” that needs to be completed during the assessment. If you would like to you can explain that they will be doing many different things, including drawing and looking at pictures, building puzzles ext.
If there is a specific concern, please refrain from encouraging the child to talk about that, as that can influence the assessment and without meaning to contaminate the child’s authentic information.
Please ensure that your child had breakfast before coming to the assessment. Please pack a light snack (something healthy to eat and drink) should the child become hungry during the assessment. The child is also allowed to bring a security object to the session if it is needed.
Please don’t make promises that you cannot keep. Don’t promise that you will stay with the child, as the assessment cannot continue with a parent in the room. Please don’t promise that you will stay in the waiting room, if you are in fact planning to leave while the assessment is busy.
Please contact my practice if you have any further enquiries.