They grow up so fast.

One moment you’re rocking them, they’re biggest concerns are eating and sleeping. The next moment their walking, talking, reading, going to school, making friends, learning how to do new things – and experiencing all of the difficulties that can go along with that.

Significant life events – such as the death of a family member, friend, or pet; divorce or a move; abuse; trauma; a parent leaving on work assignment; or a major illness in the family – can cause stress that might lead to problems with behavior, mood, sleep, appetite, and academic or social functioning.

In some cases, it’s not as clear what’s caused a child to suddenly seem withdrawn, worried, stress, sulky, or tearful. But if you feel your child might have an emotional or behavioral problem or needs help coping with a difficult life event, trust your instincts.

Signs that a child may benefit from seeing a counselor include:

  • developmental delay in speech, language, or toilet training
  • learning or attention problems (such as ADHD)
  • behavioral problems (such as excessive anger, acting out, bedwetting or eating disorders)
  • a significant drop in grades, particularly if your child normally maintains high grades
  • episodes of sadness, tearfulness, or depression
  • social withdrawal or isolation
  • being the victim of bullying or bullying other children
  • decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • overly aggressive behavior (such as biting, kicking, or hitting)
  • sudden changes in appetite (particularly in adolescents)
  • insomnia or increased sleepiness
  • excessive school absenteeism or tardiness
  • mood swings (e.g., happy one minute, upset the next)
  • development of or an increase in physical complaints (such as headache, stomachache, or not feeling well) despite a normal physical exam by your doctor
  • management of a serious, acute, or chronic illness
  • signs of alcohol, drug, or other substance use (such as solvents or prescription drug abuse)
  • problems in transitions (following separation, divorce, or relocation)
  • bereavement issues
  • experiencing sexual, physical, or emotional abuse or other traumatic events

Quite often when children are experiencing anxiety, depression or other strong reaction to a disturbing event, their distress about the situation is compounded by the fact that they are not able to fully understand what is going on or why they are feeling the way they do.

At Balanced Heart Counseling, Christine works with children and adolescents in order to support them in more effectively understanding what they are experiencing and also learn tools to cope with both difficult situations and overwhelming emotions. To achieve these aims, she uses a variety of toys, games and activities, depending on the age of the child, in order to engage them effectively with therapy.