Children with ADHD struggle with poor decision-making, difficulties managing their emotions, anger outbursts, and much more. ADHD can become more difficult to handle during the preteen years. They and their parents have struggled for years completing tasks that require focus and attention, which can leave parents drained and frustrated. Fortunately, counseling can help! Play Therapy uses dynamic activities that teach children to stop and think before acting, learn to focus, follow directions, and manage their emotions.
As a preteen, life is starting to open up to a whole new world of possibilities, which can be scary. Whereas younger children with anxiety are often clingy, preteen children tend to have a combination of worrying about their parents, and seeking isolation. They also tend to exhibit behaviors such as anxiousness in social situation, a decrease in their school performance, and constantly seeming “hyper.” Anxious children also struggle with sleep, nightmares, and irregular eating habits.
Fortunately, preteens can learn to manage anxiety! Play Therapy can teach them to calm down and eliminate stress. Preteens feel safe expressing their fears through art, play, and other expressive counseling techniques. Board games especially designed to help children identify their feelings can offer them new coping skills, so they learn to feel secure, happy, and free from anxiety.
You may think of sadness and frequent crying when wondering if your child is depressed. But, children often express feelings of depression with other behaviors. Sad or depressed children display higher levels of frustration and anger — and an attempt to regain control through defiance or aggressiveness can mask their depression. In Play Therapy, children can practice mastery over their emotions and rehearse what happiness, excitement, and being at peace can feel like.
Divorce is complicated. To process the life changes a divorce brings, adult-thinking skills are required. Whether your divorce occurred when your preteen was younger or just recently, your child may hold back in talking about it. Children are often worried to express their thoughts because they don’t want to hurt their parent’s feelings. Guilt is also a natural feeling for children of divorced parents. The separation exposes them to realities that are different from the safe and predictable environment they may be used to. As a result, mixed feelings are common, and they almost always lead to behavior issues.
Not addressing and processing these emotional reactions can lead to ruptured relationships, “blame games,” temper tantrums, and anxiety. Play Therapy can help preteens process their thoughts in a safe environment. Along the way, Launch Pad preteen counselors work closely with parents to provide clear and practical feedback on how to help their child cope at home.
Children with behavior problems often frustrate easily, become angry and defiant, and struggle following directions — making them act out frequently. These behavior problems, — and parents’ discipline strategies, become even more difficult to manage during children’s preteen years. Behavior problems and defiance are a huge stressor on parents. And they are an enormous stressor on children, too.
Play Therapy can help preteen’s with behavior problems learn how to manage their emotions. Dynamic activities help them develop better frustration tolerance where they learn to think before they act, comply with the rules, and develop healthy parental relationships. A combination of individual and family counseling, as well as parent coaching, can help the entire family regain control — and be peaceful once again.
Attachment can affect children in very different ways. Some children detach emotionally from their parents and guardians, don’t seek proximity with them or appear too independent. On the other hand, separation anxiety and extreme clinginess also point to attachment difficulties. These behaviors become even more apparent during the preteen years. Attachment issues can stem from traumatic events in early childhood. Children can also have a weaker attachment when parents had special stressors during the child’s first years, or if parents had difficulties relating to their parents, themselves. Difficulty making healthy attachments can also be a sign of Autism.
Certain Play Therapy activities are especially designed to provide children with experiences that facilitate healthy attachment. Our Launch Pad counselors can lead you and your child in fun family therapy activities that foster close relationships. In fact, most parents are blown away by the interactions that Play Therapy facilitates.