We know that psychology is a wide universe where you can provide guidance, support and resolutions to different conflicts presented by people who face the day to day and whose impact generates within them negative feelings or discomfort that, can accumulate to the point of explosion or worse still normalization.
Precisely to avoid that both points arrive or if they have arrived to find the best way to put the person back on track for a better adaptation and conflict resolution, is that it is necessary to attend psychological consultation. Remember that our mental health is as important as our physical health.
However, did you know that a large population of psychological patients are actually children and young adults? Think about this, for anyone it is difficult to face a problem that seems to overwhelm them, now imagine how little ones who do not have much knowledge of the world or how to manage their emotions must feel.
That is why, child psychology is one of the most complex, broad and important branches of psychology. of psychology and in this article we show you everything you need to know about it.
What is child psychology?
Let’s start at the beginning: what does this branch of psychology do? As its name suggests, is in charge of studying, analyzing and intervening in the behavioral patterns of children from the time of their birth until about the age of adolescence. Specialists in this area are in charge of treating all those phenomena, conflicts and alterations in child development at the cognitive, emotional, physiological and evolutionary levels.
But it does not end there, because child psychological intervention also includes parental figures and close relatives who have a significant influence on the child. In order to teach them efficient and functional methods of adaptation, problem solving, emotion management and education in general. After all, if the nuclear family is not involved in the process, the children themselves will not show improvement beyond the office.
In general terms, child psychology takes into account two major factors that affect the problems that children manifest:
Environmental factors (such as parental relationships, quality of life at home, upbringing, stimulation and education received).
Biological factorsthose that come directly from genetic inheritance (among these we can highlight mental disorders or cognitive compromises such as autism).
Why do children need to go to a psychologist?
Many parents are faced with the diatribe ‘how do I know if my child needs a psychologist? it is very easy to confuse or not distinguish a major problem with a common episode of temper tantrum in children.. However, the secret behind it all is to look at two elements: the frequency with which the problem manifests itself and the severity of the problem in their daily life.
As we briefly commented at the beginning of the article, children usually have very continuous problems of emotion management and appropriate behavior with their peers, since they do not have knowledge about them. That is, they are always asking themselves ‘what is behaving well’ ‘why can’t I get what I want’ ‘am I stupid for not getting this done’. For these things do not come ‘by default’ in our minds, but are taught to us by our parents and teachers.
So not knowing how they should act, how to express themselves, why they are punished, etc. They can trigger in them a series of emotional conflicts that overwhelm them and affect the rest of the areas of development, such as academic, interpersonal and even family.
The impact of experiences on children
The experiences we live through represent a very important part of our learning, since it is through theIt is through practice that we can discover the extent of our abilities, as well as the impact of our actions on others or the influence of others on us. But for children these can be funny or traumatic, when their consequences are almost unmanageable for them and they do not have the necessary help to cope with it.
Leaving them with such an emotional blow to their self-esteem and confidence that they can live with it for the rest of their lives. Especially when it happens in environments they consider safe, such as home and school. For this reason, some of them hate going to school, have performance problems, aggressive behaviors or withdraw from experiencing new things.
Applications of child psychology
Like adult therapy, child psychology deals with a variety of conflicts.But with the difference that now, those who must be given the tools of adaptation and coping are children and young people. See below its applications.
1. Behavioral problems
This is one of the most common issues in children’s therapy sessions. Children have aggressive, egocentric and disorganized tendencies that affect their academic performance and the quality of their relationships with their peers or family members.
In the intervention, the origin of such behaviors is found, the child is given more functional venting options (usually to perform an extracurricular activity) and parents are taught how they should act to reprimand them correctly (with a system of punishments and rewards).
2. Adaptation to new environments
Children often have a lot of difficulty adapting to change, because they feel they lose their security and comfort, and they may feel lost. This can cause problems of confidence, withdrawal, shyness or disorientation. These can result from a move, a change of school or even a change of classroom.
3. Emotional Management
One of the biggest conflicts of children is that they do not know how to manage, control and express their emotions properly. As a result, they can constantly get into trouble and have episodes of tantrums, where they cannot be consoled. This is due to frustration and the feeling of uselessness to control themselves.
In therapy, work is done to recognize emotions, connect feelings with triggering moments and provide tools to know how to act when faced with them, as well as to release emotions in a way that is beneficial for the child.
4. Work on self-esteem and confidence
Due to the impact and emotional burden that children experience with frustration and adaptation to their environment, they may suffer from demotivation, low self-esteem, loss of confidence in their abilities, anxieties and in more serious cases, depression. This results in clear academic underachievement and disinterest in learning new knowledge, as they are afraid all the time of getting it wrong,
5. Learning difficulties
This type of problem can have two factors. A genetic one, where there are cognitive alterations that prevent the child from understanding or performing basic skills (such as mathematics, linguistics or fine and gross motor skills). As well as a learning difficulty due to lack of motivation and stimulation by parents or teachers. Who are usually strict and demanding, but do not have the patience to teach.
6. Infantile mental disorders
In this category, it is a matter of teaching parents to create a safe and adaptive environment that is functional for their child’s unique condition. They can even provide parenting tools, containment, impulse and emotion management, teaching-learning and interpersonal relationships so that they can have an adequate quality of life.
Among the most common childhood disorders are: Conduct Disorders, Emotional Disorders, Learning Disorders, Elimination Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorders.
7. Divorce and parental separation
Parental conflicts directly affect children. This is because they perceive that their known world is completely altered and therefore, the rest of the environment becomes an unknown terrain. They may also learn negatively about how they should relate to others or become self-absorbed because of the emotional burden as they tend to blame themselves for the separation from their parents and try to change to make them happy or bring them back together.
8. Creating routines and chores
Children, more than anyone else, need to have an established daily routine that is simple, functional and enriching for them. Why? So that they can learn to organize themselves, have responsibilities, perform daily tasks and foster independence. In therapy, this is a very effective technique to control and modify negative behaviors, as well as to improve children’s discipline.
9. Imaginary friends
Imaginary friends are common during childhood and as children grow older, they disappear as a way to see their cognitive maturation and the development of new interests. But some children cling to their imaginary friends as a way to feel safe and protected from the outside world, to avoid conflict, or because of a larger developmental problem.
10. Presence of bullying
Bullying is a very unfortunate reality that is increasing every day in schools, homes and the internet. Children who are bullied usually have weak and withdrawn personalities, so in therapy we work on improving self-esteem and face the problems in a correct way.
While, in the case of abusive children or bully children, we try to discover the origin of their abusive tendency, which is usually based on trust issues or emotional disturbances. Providing safer and more adaptive tools for resolution and emotional discharge.
11. Phobias and anxieties
Childhood phobias are very common in children as they are not yet familiar with their environment and may feel insecure in the face of the unknown. But if these phobias are not controlled, children may develop other problems, such as sleep disorders (nightmares or night terrors), regressive tendencies (poor sphincter control and developmental regression) or maladaptation problems.
12. General parenting
There is no manual that tells parents how to be good parents and it is normal to make some mistakes in the path of parenting, so much so that sometimes they can get out of control. So, in child therapy not only are children taught to have a better discipline and obedience, but parents learn ideal parenting tools.
13. Vocational Guidance
This is more for children of adolescent or pre-adolescent ages, who may now have a different disorientation. Not knowing what to do with their time or feeling unmotivated academically. Therefore, in therapy they are given evaluations and techniques so that they can discover their talents and how to develop them.
Do not hesitate to take your child to child therapy if you see that he/she needs it or if he/she is recommended by the school. Remember that it is better to be safe than sorry and child psychology can offer children a healthy way to grow in the best way.