As your child enters their pre-teen years, your once cuddly little kid, who in the past confided everything in you, may suddenly want less time with you and more privacy. You may find your pre-teen is not the same child he or she was just a few years prior. The physical, cognitive, emotional and social changes they experience during this time can be incredibly challenging and disruptive for both you and them.
Over the years I have had extensive experience providing pre-teen counseling to help with:
- family issues/change
- self-esteem issues
- peer relations
- behavioral concerns
- academic issues
I also work with you, the parent, to strengthen your relationship with your child.
It’s not uncommon for parents of pre-teens to be concerned about their child’s changing moods and erratic behavior. You may think a child who gets angry quickly or is easily frustrated is just being difficult. In fact, children often express strong emotions like fear, anxiety, sadness or depression by acting out in this way. Pre-teens don’t always have the skills to express themselves verbally, and being angry or defiant can be a way for them to communicate how they feel. Pre-teen counseling can help children find healthy ways to express and manage their emotions, as well as provide them with an opportunity to rehearse and experience what more positive emotions and behaviors feel like.
In addition to physical and emotional changes, your pre-teen may be struggling with friendships, the lure of social media and the transition to middle school. At home your pre-teen may be wanting more freedom or testing limits and boundaries. Your child may be clingy one minute and pushing you away the next. This can be a trying time for both pre-teens and their parents. Very often, kids at this age aren’t really sure what’s going on with them. Pre-teen counseling can support children in figuring out what’s bothering them and helping to find solutions. Once you have a clearer understanding of what your kid is dealing with, you will be better able to connect.
How I Work
Through a warm engaging relationship, I support pre-teens in developing the skills to succeed. I help them to build upon their strengths, uncover what is bothering them, identify and change self-defeating behaviors and gain healthy problem-solving skills to deal with family, school or social issues. The pre-teen years are an ideal time for kids to gain an understanding of what triggers their emotions, to focus on expressing their feelings in constructive ways and to learn how to self-soothe or calm themselves down when they are anxious, angry or upset. As pre-teens develop these skills they feel better about themselves and become more resilient when facing their challenges.
With those children who communicate best through play, I invite them to engage with toys and games to help them express, understand and find solutions to their problems. Older children may enjoy doing art projects, playing cards or board games as we talk.
Parents are crucial to the success of the therapeutic process. I will meet with you regularly to discuss, not only your child’s progress but also your concerns. Children—particularly pre-teens—tend to behave differently in different environments, so it’s important to be able to get the whole story, not just the one they’re telling me. By working together we can strengthen family relationships, improve communication and find parenting strategies in response to your child’s unique needs.