Children can experience anxiety in different ways including separation anxiety, social anxiety and generalised anxiety. An example of separation anxiety is where a child might have difficulty regularly separating from their parent to attend school. Children who experience social anxiety may have difficulty engaging in social situations with other children. Generalised anxiety is where a child is excessively worried or highly anxious about a broad range of issues and situations.
Positive self-esteem is feeling good about yourself and being happy with who you are. Children who have good self-esteem are more confident and are more willing to take on new challenges. A child’s self-esteem can be affected if they are struggling at school, having friendship issues or being bullied. Building your child’s self-esteem helps develop their resilience to manage difficult situations and nurtures their independence.
Sometimes it can be difficult to recognise depression in children under 12 as parents may initially perceive their child as simply being sad and whingey.
If your child seems consistently sad for more than two weeks and they seem generally disinterested and negative, or you notice changes in their everyday behaviour and interactions with others, they may be experiencing depression.
Challenging behaviour in children can vary from internalising behaviour, such as being shy and withdrawn, through to externalising behaviour such as tantrums, physically aggressive behaviour, running away and defiance. Working on children’s emotional regulation can help them to develop better ways communicate how they feel, which can positively impact their behaviour.
Bullying is a behaviour targeted towards another child with the intention of hurting, scaring or controlling the child. It can include verbal or physical abuse or being socially excluded. Cyber-bullying is also becoming more common and includes sending hurtful text (sms) messages, emails and posting pictures and hurtful comments on social media and websites. Children who are bullied often feel very alone, they may avoid school and are at greater risk of developing anxiety and depression.
Some children have difficulty positively communicating with others using words, facial expressions, gestures and body language. They may also have difficulty reading the facial expressions and body language of others and this impacts their ability to make friends and keep friends. Understanding ‘taking it in turns’, positively resolving conflicts and developing empathy are important skills for successful friendships.
Learning difficulties are where a child experiences problems learning new information, which can significantly affect their achievement at school. The most common learning difficulties are associated with reading, spelling and writing and this is often referred to as dyslexia. However, children can also experience learning difficulties in other areas, such as mathematical concepts (dyscalculia).
The term ‘problem sexual behaviour’ is sometimes also called ‘sexualised behaviour’ and generally refers to children under 12. This includes self-directed behaviour, such as children who are very preoccupied with their own genitals and engage in excessive masturbation. Problem sexual behaviour directed towards other children can range from fondling to coercive and aggressive sexual play that includes intrusive behaviour. Whilst interest and curiosity are part of normal sexual play in children, excessive preoccupation and coercive or aggressive sexual behaviour may warrant further investigation.
Children who have experienced harm from abuse can experience a number of psychological impacts that make it hard for them to develop trusting relationships with others. They may show signs of anxiety, fear and depression and lack the necessary social skills to make friends with other children. Some children may have lived in a chaotic environment and find it difficult to regulate their emotions, which may impact their behaviour in other environments such as school.
When a child has been sexually abused by someone within the family or by a family friend, this can have a significant impact on the whole family. Non-offending family members can also experience a range of emotions resulting from the disclosure of abuse, which they may need to talk through as part of the recovery process.
Sessions are approximately 50 minutes in duration and, depending on the issues, may include individual time with the child, individual time with the parent and also counselling with the parent and child together. Sessions can be shortened for children who find it difficult to focus for long periods of time.
On occasions we may need to visit or talk to your child’s school, so that we can provide you with the best possible service. In such circumstances we will always obtain your permission before contacting your child’s school or any other service involved with your child.