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The Task of Childhood Development – Ages 8-18

Boys on a forest road with backpacks

“The major task of childhood is to become “your own person”

The main tasks of childhood require children to learn, and this kind of learning is not just a matter of getting the right answer. Most important is to understand the meaning of the right answer. This is truly difficult work and it absolutely requires support from parents, relatives, and neighbors.

To help children grow up, parents need to be aware how their child is changing, growing, and developing. It is easy for a middle-aged adult to forget this fact, especially when confronted with a difficult problem. However, parents who are working on their own growth are in a good position to understand children and to respect what they are doing as they struggle to grow up and become good people in their own right.

Children progression through these stages is determined not only by biological growth and change, but also by temperament and personality, adult expectations, and social influences. Children learn to make choices and commitments, follow through with them, and stand up independently in the world. They need to be respected for taking on these tasks. After all, we respect adults who can do these things. They are complicated and courageous actions. However, children swing back and forth between dependence and independence as they work on these tasks. It is easy for parents to get frustrated. It is also easy for a parent to assume that if the child would simply follow the plan that makes sense to a parent, things would be all right in the end.

“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.”
-Richard L. Evans


Understanding your child’s moral, emotional, and self-development – the main tasks of childhood require children to learn, and this kind of learning is not just a matter of getting the right answer. Most important is to understand the meaning of the right answer. This is truly difficult work and it absolutely requires support from parents, relatives, and neighbors.

To help children grow up, parents need to be aware how their child is changing, growing, and developing. It is easy for a middle-aged adult to forget this fact, especially when confronted with a difficult problem. However, parents who are working on their own growth are in a good position to understand children and to respect what they are doing as they struggle to grow up and become good people in their own right.

My next blogs will include the characteristics of the “typical” child during each developmental stage from ages 8 to 18, including: Late Childhood 8-11, Early Adolescents 11-14, and Late Adolescents 14-18. Illustrating how children’s progression through these stages is determined not only by biological growth and change, but also by temperament and personality, adult expectations, and social influences.

You can download the complete “Task of Childhood” brochure

4 Blog Series 

  1. Task of Childhood Development
  2. Tasks of Childhood – Late Childhood Development Ages 8-11
  3. Task of Childhood – Early Adolescent Development Ages 11-14
  4. Task of Childhood – Late Adolescent Development Ages 14-18 

† Source: Middle Childhood and Adolescent Development, Oregon State University Extension Service.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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Task of Childhood – Late Adolescent Development Ages 14-18

“Struggling with sense of identity while also feeling awkward”

Cognitive Stage
Late adolescents have a major broadening of thinking abilities: they can think abstractly and hypothetically; they can discern the underlying principles of various phenomena and apply them to new situations; and they can think about the future, considering many possibilities and logical outcomes of possible events. At this stage, they also have a greater perspective-taking ability that can result in increased empathy and concern for others and a new interest in societal issues.

Moral Development
As they get older, adolescents age 14-18 become less egocentric. They place an increased emphasis on abstract values and moral principles and some develop a “principled morality” with an increased ability to take another’s perspective where they can see the bigger societal picture and might value moral principles over laws. Late adolescents also have different rates of cognitive and emotional development (e.g. they often advocate for specific values and yet violate them at the same time).

Self-Concept
The process of identity formation is intense for late adolescents. They experiment with different roles, such as looks, sexuality, values, friendships, ethnicity, and especially occupations. Some girls might experience obsessive dieting or eating disorders, especially those who have higher body fat, are chronically depressed, or who have highly conflicted family relationships. Minority youths might explore several patterns of identity formation, such as a strong ethnic identity, bi-cultural identity, assimilation into the majority culture, and alienation from the majority culture.

Psychological and Emotional Traits
For some early adolescents, there is an increased ability to empathize with others along with a greater vulnerability to worrying, depression, and concern for others, (especially among girls). Many show an increase in responsible behaviors.

Peer Relationships
Peers help youth explore and develop their own identity and cross-gender friendships become more common. Anti-social peer groups can increase anti-social behaviors. Close friendships also help youth with the process of developing an individual identity separate from that of a child in a family.

Relationship to Parents and Other Adults
Conflicts with parents often decrease with age, especially as late adolescents have an improved ability to see parents as individuals and consider their perspectives. Most maintain good relationship with their parents. They also have a greater interest in taking on “adult-type” responsibilities (having their own checking account, doing their own laundry, buying their own clothes, cooking meals, making repairs, etc.). Late adolescents commonly make most of their own decisions, preparing for eventual family. Their needs balance between time spent with adults and with peers. They continue to benefit from some parental limits and monitoring, while often objecting to them. Common conflicts occur over money, curfews, chores, appearance, and activities with peers.

You can download the complete “Task of Childhood” brochure

4 Blog Series 

  1. Task of Childhood Development
  2. Tasks of Childhood – Late Childhood Development Ages 8-11
  3. Task of Childhood – Early Adolescent Development Ages 11-14
  4. Task of Childhood – Late Adolescent Development Ages 14-18 

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: Kay@KayTrotter.com214-499-0396, or visit her web site http://www.KayTrotter.com.

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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Task of Childhood – Early Adolescent Development Ages 11-14

“Perhaps the most difficult phase of life is early adolescence. It is a phase when your child is not yet mature but he is no longer a kid”

Cognitive Stage
Adolescents vary between some children who are still focused on logic and others who are able to combine logical and abstract thinking. Some early adolescents cannot think ahead to the consequences of their actions. They are developing new thinking skills, such as thinking more about possibilities, thinking more abstractly, thinking more about the process of thinking itself, thinking in multiple dimensions, and seeing things as relative rather than absolute. They practice new thinking skills through humor and arguing with parents and others, and the
use of humor focused on satire, sarcasm, and sex.

Moral Development
Early adolescents have a continuing self-focus and often believe they are invulnerable to negative events.They also have an increasing ability to take the perspective of others into account with their own perspective. In addition, as they become concerned about gaining social approval, their morals begin to be based on respect for the social order and agreements between people or what is known as “law and order” morality. Youth also begin to question social conventions, re-examine their own values and moral/ethical principles, which sometimes results in conflicts with their parents.

Self-Concept
An early adolescent’s self-image can be challenged by body changes during puberty as well as social comparisons. This is also when they begin to develop the long-term process of establishing their own identity separate from family. Many girls experience pressure to conform to gender stereotypes and might show less interest in math and science. With puberty, normal increases in girls’ body fat can negatively influence their body image and self-concept. Both boys and girls might be concerned with skin problems, height, weight, and overall appearance.

Relationship to Parents
Changes in parental expectations alter previous patterns of relationships, often resulting in greater conflict. Early adolescents also have a greater focus on peer friendships as they develop an identity outside of the role of a child in a family. They also often rebuff physical affection (but still need it). They have an increased interest in making their own decisions, which benefits from increased opportunities to do so. Youth object more often to parental limitations (but still needs some). Parental listening skills and nurturing continue to be important.

Emotional Traits
Youth age 11-14 have an intense self-focus, an increased desire for privacy, and a sensitivity about their body. They also have frequent mood swings with changes in activities and contexts. Too much time spent alone can contribute to moodiness and heighten forgetfulness.

Peer Relationships
Early adolescent friendships increasingly involve sharing of values. Cliques of three to six friends (usually the same gender) provide a greater sense of security. Romantic crushes are common and dating begins.

You can download the complete “Task of Childhood” brochure

4 Blog Series 

  1. Task of Childhood Development
  2. Tasks of Childhood – Late Childhood Development Ages 8-11
  3. Task of Childhood – Early Adolescent Development Ages 11-14
  4. Task of Childhood – Late Adolescent Development Ages 14-18 

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: Kay@KayTrotter.com214-499-0396, or visit her web site http://www.KayTrotter.com.

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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Tasks of Childhood – Late Childhood Development Ages 8-11

“Communication and understanding are especially important at the late childhood stage of development”

Cognitive Stage: Children in this developmental stage use logical thinking but with a very limited ability to extend logic to abstract concepts (e.g. the disdain for imaginative and illogical thinking of early childhood). At this point, they have accumulated a lot of general knowledge and have gradually developed the ability to apply learned concepts to new tasks. They also have a frequent interest in learning life skills from adults at home and elsewhere (e.g. cooking, fixing things, etc.).

Moral Development: Children age 8-11 are predominantly focused in the needs and wants of themselves, although they have developed a conscience and move from thinking in terms of “What’s in it for me?” fairness (e.g. “If you did this for me, I would do that for you.”). They now want to gain social approval and live up to the expectations of people close to them. They tend to have a ”Golden Rule” morality where they can take the perspective of others and may place the needs of others over their own self-interest. However, their moral thinking abilities are not always reflected in their behavior.

Psychological and Emotional Traits: Children at this stage have a need to develop a sense of mastery and accomplishment with frequent interest in making plans and achieving goals. They learn from what parents and others do to make and fix things and have a tendency to be disorganized and forgetful.

“Early onset of puberty is associated with lower self-control and emotional instability.”

Self-Concept: Influenced by relationships with family members, teachers, and increasingly by their peers, often relatively, 8- to 11-year-olds have a low level of concern about their physical appearance (especially boys), although this is influenced by peers as well as the media. Many boys experience pressure to conform to “masculine” stereotype. Girls’ body image declines precipitously with puberty, especially with early onset puberty. Early onset puberty is also associated with lower self-control and emotional instability, especially for boys.

Relationship to Parents and Other Adults: Children in late childhood development tend to be closely attached to parental figures and parents increasingly need to involve these children in decision making while increasing responsibility with age. Most frequent conflicts occur over sibling quarrels and forgetfulness with respect to chores, schoolwork, and messiness, especially of their bedroom. Parental listening skills becomes increasingly important as the parent-child communication patterns can change with puberty. Many adolescents report that (a) they cannot talk with parents about issues related to sexuality, and (b) they do not get needed information in sex education courses at school.

Peer Relationships: Friendships among 8- to 11-year-olds are often with their same-gender peers and are usually based on proximity, common interest/hobbies, or other perceived commonalities. Girls usually have fewer, but emotionally closer, friends than boys. Formation of exclusive “clubs” and shifting peer alliances is common at this age and media influences and popular culture increasingly affect the child’s peer activities and relationships.

You can download the complete “Task of Childhood” brochure

4 Blog Series 

  1. Task of Childhood Development
  2. Tasks of Childhood – Late Childhood Development Ages 8-11
  3. Task of Childhood – Early Adolescent Development Ages 11-14
  4. Task of Childhood – Late Adolescent Development Ages 14-18 

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: Kay@KayTrotter.com214-499-0396, or visit her web site http://www.KayTrotter.com.

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

Read More

Childhood Development Ages 8 to 11

childhood development ages 8-11“The major task of childhood is to become “your own person”

My childhood development blog series will include the characteristics of the “typical” child during each developmental stage from ages 8 to 18, illustrating how children’s progression through these stages is determined not only by biological growth and change, but also by temperament and personality, adult expectations, and social influences.

The main tasks of childhood require children to learn, and this kind of learning is not just a matter of getting the right answer. Most important is to understand the meaning of the right answer. This is truly difficult work and it absolutely requires support from parents, relatives, and neighbors.

To help children grow up, parents need to be aware how their child is changing, growing, and developing. It is easy for a middle-aged adult to forget this fact, especially when confronted with a difficult problem. However, parents who are working on their own growth are in a good position to understand children and to respect what they are doing as they struggle to grow up and become good people in their own right.

Children progression through these stages is determined not only by biological growth and change, but also by temperament and personality, adult expectations, andsocial influences. Children learn to make choices and commitments, follow through with them, and stand up independently in the world. They need to be respected for taking on these tasks. After all, we respect adults who can do these things. They are complicated and courageous actions. However, children swing back and forth between dependence and independence as they work on these tasks. It is easy for parents to get frustrated. It is also easy for a parent to assume that if the child would simply follow the plan that makes sense to a parent, things would be all right in the end.

“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.”
-Richard L. Evans

Understanding your child’s moral, emotional, and self-development – the main tasks of childhood require children to learn, and this kind of learning is not just a matter of getting the right answer. Most important is to understand the meaning of the right answer. This is truly difficult work and it absolutely requires support from parents, relatives, and neighbors.

To help children grow up, parents need to be aware how their child is changing, growing, and developing. It is easy for a middle-aged adult to forget this fact, especially when confronted with a difficult problem. However, parents who are working on their own growth are in a good position to understand children and to respect what they are doing as they struggle to grow up and become good people in their own right.

Late Childhood Development 8-11″

Cognitive Stage: Children in this developmental stage use logical thinking but with a very limited ability to extend logic to abstract concepts (e.g. the disdain for imaginative and illogical thinking of early childhood). At this point, they have accumulated a lot of general knowledge and have gradually developed the ability to apply learned concepts to new tasks. They also have a frequent interest in learning life skills from adults at home and elsewhere (e.g. cooking, fixing things, etc.).

Moral Development: Children age 8-11 are predominantly focused in the needs and wants of themselves, although they have developed a conscience and move from thinking in terms of “What’s in it for me?” fairness (e.g. “If you did this for me, I would do that for you.”). They now want to gain social approval and live up to the expectations of people close to them. They tend to have a ”Golden Rule” morality where they can take the perspective of others and may place the needs of others over their own self-interest. However, their moral thinking abilities are not always reflected in their behavior.

Psychological and Emotional Traits: Children at this stage have a need to develop a sense of mastery and accomplishment with frequent interest in making plans and achieving goals. They learn from what parents and others do to make and fix things and have a tendency to be disorganized and forgetful.

“Early onset of puberty is associated with lower self-control and emotional instability.”

Self-Concept: Influenced by relationships with family members, teachers, and increasingly by their peers, often relatively, 8- to 11-year-olds have a low level of concern about their physical appearance (especially boys), although this is influenced by peers as well as the media. Many boys experience pressure to conform to “masculine” stereotype. Girls’ body image declines precipitously with puberty, especially with early onset puberty. Early onset puberty is also associated with lower self-control and emotional instability, especially for boys.

Relationship to Parents and Other Adults: Children in late childhood development tend to be closely attached to parental figures and parents increasingly need to involve these children in decision making while increasing responsibility with age. Most frequent conflicts occur over sibling quarrels and forgetfulness with respect to chores, schoolwork, and messiness, especially of their bedroom. Parental listening skills becomes increasingly important as the parent-child communication patterns can change with puberty. Many adolescents report that (a) they cannot talk with parents about issues related to sexuality, and (b) they do not get needed information in sex education courses at school.

Peer Relationships: Friendships among 8- to 11-year-olds are often with their same-gender peers and are usually based on proximity, common interest/hobbies, or other perceived commonalities. Girls usually have fewer, but emotionally closer, friends than boys. Formation of exclusive “clubs” and shifting peer alliances is common at this age and media influences and popular culture increasingly affect the child’s peer activities and relationships.

† Source: Middle Childhood and Adolescent Development, Oregon State University Extension Service.

Next blog of the Childhood Development series will be  “Early Adolescents ages 11-14”

Download the complete ages 8-18  “Task of Childhood” 

Additional Resource:

Ages and Stages A Parent’s Guide to Normal Childhood Development Written by a fellow play therapist Charles E. Schaefer‘s Ages and Stages this book is great for sorting through what’s normal age appropriate behavior and what’s not.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

Read More

Childhood abuse still impacting your day-to-day life? Read this!

 

adult survivor of abuse

This blog is for you if your an Adult Survivor of Childhood Abuse and or Neglect

A few years back I started to notice that I kept seeing the same type of adult client coming to me. As I did an inventory of these clients I began to notice that they all had many similarities but the key factor was the transformation that took place during counseling. In each session I consistently found that I moved back and forth between talking to the 30 something man or women then talking to their 3-year-old inner child.  That’s right these adult clients were all survivors of childhood abuse or neglect coming to me unaware of how their childhood abuse was still impacting their day-to-day life as an adult.

This blog is dedicated to all my brave soul survivors who challenged themselves to look at their dark emotions and work to  overcome their fears.

Childhood Emotional Wounds

Research is just now beginning to understand how profoundly the emotional trauma of early child hood affects a person as an adult. They realized that if not healed, these early childhood emotional wounds, and the subconscious attitudes adopted because of them, would dictate the adult’s reaction to, and path through, life. Thus we walk around looking like and trying to act like adults, while reacting to life out of the emotional wounds and attitudes of childhood. We keep repeating the patterns of abandonment, abuse, and deprivation that we experienced in childhood.

The Brain and Childhood Abuse or Neglect

Research consistently supports that abuse in childhood can dramatically alter the way the brain copes with stress in adulthood. Consequently childhood trauma can shape the way your brain works. The limbic system sometimes called ‘the emotional brain’ is the area in the brain that initiates the fight, flight or freeze response, for surveyors of childhood abuse their amygdala which perceives danger is immune to the effects of stress hormone cortisol designed to regulate it’s response it may continue to sound an alarm inappropriately. This is because the production of cortisol in children with histories of abuse and neglect is stuck in a chronic ‘hyper-arousal’ state and may persists for many survivors throughout their adult years as well. Even when the abuse and violence has ceased and the environment is ‘safe’, many adult trauma survivors still perceive the threat to be present.

So Now You’re an Adult

As an adults survivor of childhood abuse or neglect you may find that you produce too much of the stress hormone cortisol which causes you to be in a state of ‘hyper-arousal’ which in turn decrease the volume of  your  hippocampaal causing poorer functioning of declarative memory placing you to be at a  greater risk for experiences of depression and physical inflammations. As an adult survivor you will be more likely to be highly stressed, have difficulties with anger and emotions, and be prone to self-harm, anxiety, suicide and depression.

What to do Now

Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (ASCA) is an international self-help support group program designed specifically for adult survivors of neglect, physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse suggest that you take some time with the following two self-assessment scales to help you determine your current level of safety. After each checklist and the scoring information, there are some recommendations, which are designed to help you determine whether you are ready to progress with a recovery program.

Safety Checklist

Check “Yes” or “No” to answer each question:

1. Do you have impulses to harm yourself?                                                        Y:___ N:___

2. Do you find yourself in unsafe situations?                                                     Y:___ N:___

3. Do you easily feel overwhelmed by feelings, thoughts,

memories or bodily sensations?                                                                            Y:___ N:___

4. Do you currently feel threatened by someone close to you?                       Y:___ N:___

5. Have you ever attempted suicide?                                                                     Y:___ N:___

6. Have you ever “lost time” or lost sense of being yourself?                           Y:___ N:___

7. Do you use alcohol or drugs to excess?                                                             Y:___ N:___

8. Is there a firearm or other potentially dangerous

weapon at your residence?                                                                                       Y:___ N:___

9. Have you been victimized by someone within

the last three years?                                                                                                    Y:___ N:___

10. Is someone close to you involved in illegal activities?                                   Y:___ N:___

SCORING: If you checked “YES” to more than three questions, your current risk level is HIGH.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Let this checklist tell you what you must do to lower your risk level and create more safety in your life. Some of the situations, such as that posed in question eight, concerning firearms or dangerous weapons, can be resolved easily: remove the firearm or weapon from your residence. With other situations, such as past victimization (question nine), there is little you can do except to make every effort to prevent a recurrence. In most of the other questions, the issues are somewhat complicated but not unsolvable. You can (and should) seek professional help if you lose sense of time or of your self or have impulses to harm yourself. If you are being threatened or abused by someone close to you, you need to take steps to protect yourself and to make the threats or abuse stop  even if this means ending the relationship. If you are unsure as to how to address any of these questions, then you may need help to figure out how to create SAFETY FIRST!

Suicide Behavior Checklist

Check “Yes” or “No” to answer each question:

1. Do you feel chronically depressed?                                                                Y:___ N:___

2. Do you have recurring thoughts of killing yourself?                                  Y:___ N:___

3. Do you have a specific plan to kill yourself?                                                Y:___ N:___

4. Have you acquired the means to kill yourself,

such as a supply of pills or a gun?                                                                       Y:___ N:___

5. Do you intend to carry out this plan to kill yourself

within a specified time frame?                                                                            Y:___ N:___

6. Do you have thoughts of actually killing or harming others?                   Y:___ N:___

7. If yes, have you made specific plans or arrangements

for this to occur?                                                                                                     Y:___ N:___

SCORING: If you answered “YES” to ANY of the above questions, your suicide/harmful behavior risk level is HIGH.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Get professional help IMMEDIATELY.

You need to first lower your suicide/harmful behavior risk before attempting to initiate or continue recovery from your child abuse. The two are probably connected, but it is very important that you concentrate first on stabilizing yourself before delving deeper into your abuse issues.

Resources:

Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (ASCA) is an international self-help support group program designed specifically for adult survivors of neglect, physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse.

The ASCA program offers:

  • Community based self-help support groups
  • Provider based self-help support groups
  • Web based self-help support groups
  • Survivor to Thriver workbooks

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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Childhood Abuse – Nearly 200,000 children are reported as abused each year in Texas

Nearly 200,000 children are reported as abused or neglected each year in Texas. Every day, about four children die in the U.S. because of abuse or neglect, most of them babies or toddlers.  For every incident of child abuse or neglect that gets reported, it’s estimated that two others go unreported.

Myths About Child Abuse

Myth 1: It’s only abuse if it’s violent or sexual.

Fact: Physical and sexual abuse are just two types of child abuse. Neglect and emotional abuse can be damaging also, and since they are more subtle, others are less likely to intervene. Neglect is by far the most common form of child abuse, accounting for more than 60% of all cases.

Myth 2: Only drunks or dope heads (bad people) abuse children.

Fact: While it might be comforting to say that only “bad people” abuse children, that generalization is not correct. About 10% of babies are born to drug-using mothers. Of kids who have a parent who uses drugs, one in 13 is physically abused regularly. Not all abusers are people that we would characterize as “bad.” Many abusers have been victims of abuse themselves, and don’t know any other way to parent. Someone who appears outwardly to be a “good” person can be a child abuser.

Myth 3: Child abuse doesn’t happen in “good” families.

Fact: Child abuse doesn’t only happen in poor families or bad neighborhoods. It crosses all racial, ethnic, economic, and cultural lines. Sometimes, families who outwardly seem to have everything together are hiding a different story behind closed doors.

Myth 4: Only strangers in trench coats commit child abuse.

Fact: While strangers do commit child abuse, most child abusers are family members or others close to the family.

Yes, Child Abuse Prevention Month is a really big deal because child abuse is a really big problem. What can you do? Educate yourself about child abuse. Contact our local CPS office (Department of Family and Protective Services) or your local child advocacy center. They will have information about the definitions and signs of child abuse. Get involved! Help us prevent child abuse in a personal way.

hotline-poster-graphic

National Child Abuse Hotline

1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)


Tips for talking to an abused child

  • Avoid denial and remain calm. A common reaction to news as unpleasant and shocking as child abuse is denial. However, if you display denial to a child, or show shock or disgust at what they are saying, the child may be afraid to continue and will shut down. As hard as it may be, remain as calm and reassuring as you can.
  • Don’t interrogate. Let the child explain to you in his or her own words what happened, but don’t interrogate the child or ask leading questions. This may confuse and fluster the child and make it harder for them to continue their story.
  • Reassure the child that they did nothing wrong. It takes a lot for a child to come forward about abuse. Reassure him or her that you take what is said seriously, and that it is not the child’s fault.
  • Safety comes first. If you feel that your safety or the safety of the child would be threatened if you try to intervene, leave it to the professionals. You may be able to provide more support later after the initial professional intervention.

Reporting child abuse and neglect

If you suspect a child is being abused, it’s critical to get them the help he or she needs. Reporting child abuse seems so official. Many people are reluctant to get involved in other families’ lives. Understanding some of the myths behind reporting may help put your mind at ease if you need to report child abuse:

  • I don’t want to interfere in someone else’s family. The effects of child abuse are lifelong, affecting future relationships, self-esteem, and sadly putting even more children at risk of abuse as the cycle continues. Help break the cycle of child abuse.
  • What if I break up someone’s home? The priority in child protective services is keeping children in the home. A child abuse report does not mean a child is automatically removed from the home – unless the child is clearly in danger. Support such as parenting classes, anger management or other resources may be offered first to parents if safe for the child.
  • They will know it was me who called. Reporting is anonymous. In most states, you do not have to give your name when you report child abuse. The child abuser cannot find out who made the report of child abuse.
  • It won’t make a difference what I have to say. If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, it is better to be safe than sorry. Even if you don’t see the whole picture, others may have noticed as well, and a pattern can help identify child abuse that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.

Sources: DoSomthingAboutIt.com and HelpGuide.org

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: Kay@KayTrotter.com or 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly in her FaceBook fan page http://www.facebook.com/DrKaySudekumTrotter and her Pinterest boards http://pinterest.com/drkaytrotter/

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Childhood and Suicide

“The recent suicide of a 9-year-old boy at Stewart’s Creek Elementary School here in the Dallas area has prompted me to write a blog entry on children and suicide. My prayers and condolences go out to the families left behind and my wish is this blog offers help, direction, and hope for children and parents of my community.” – Dr Kay Trotter

Childhood and Suicide

Because it’s so unthinkable that a child could intentionally take her or his own life, there’s a false sense that our youngest citizens are somehow immune from the risk of suicidal behaviors.  We perpetuate the myth that childhood is carefree and joyful, absent of problems and stress.

The hard truth of the matter is, by the time they’re in third grade, children ages 8-9 have a thorough understanding of suicide, and younger children understand the concept of “killing oneself.”  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that children 12 and under are just as likely to be depressed as adults, and 25% to 50% of depressed people make at least one suicide attempt. The suicide rate for girls between the ages of 10 and 14 skyrocketed 75.9% in 2004, according to grim statistics released by the CDC.

Statistics also verify that children do act upon suicidal thoughts—BUT SUICIDE IS PREVENTABLE

Suicidal Behaviors in Children

It is much easier to believe that the suicidal thoughts or behavior by a child are trivial or are a ploy to get attention. However, childrens’ suicidal behaviors are rarely impulsive and their motives are interpersonal in nature. Some of the most common reasons children may engage in suicidal behaviors are: used as a coping mechanism, it may be attempt to gain control in their lives, or to provide relief or escape from unbearable pain.

Children who are contemplating suicide frequently give warning signs of their distress. Parents, teachers, and friends are in a key position to pick up on these signs and get help. Most important is to never take these warning signs lightly or promise to keep them secret. When all adults, students, and our communities are committed to making suicide prevention a priority—and are empowered to take the correct actions—we can help youngsters before they engage in behavior with irreversible consequences.

Warning Sings of Suicide

  1. Talking About Dying — any mention of dying, disappearing, jumping, shooting oneself, or other types of self-harm.
  2. Recent Loss — through death, divorce, separation, broken relationship, loss of job, money, status, self-confidence, self-esteem, loss of religious faith, loss of interest in friends, sex, hobbies, activities previously enjoyed
  3. Change in Personality — sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, indecisive, apathetic
  4. Change in Behavior — can’t concentrate on school, work, routine tasks
  5. Change in Sleep Patterns — insomnia, often with early waking or oversleeping, nightmares
  6. Change in Eating Habits — loss of appetite and weight, or overeating
  7. Fear of losing control — going crazy, harming self or others
  8. Low self esteem — feeling worthless, shame, overwhelming guilt, self-hatred, “everyone would be better off without me”
  9. No hope for the future — believing things will never get better; that nothing will ever change

Other things to watch for—suicidal impulses, statements, plans; giving away favorite things; previous suicide attempts, substance abuse, making out wills, arranging for the care of pets, extravagant spending, agitation, hyperactivity, restlessness or lethargy.

Book for Parents

“Helping Your Child Cope with Depression and Suicidal Thoughts” by Tonia K. Shampoo and Philip G. Patros

“In my next post, I will be discussing teens suicide and suicide prevention”

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: Kay@KayTrotter.com214-499-0396, or visit her web site http://www.KayTrotter.com.

Dr Trotter also post regularly in her FaceBook fan page http://www.facebook.com/DrKaySudekumTrotter.

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SuperHero Play Increases Self-Esteem

SuperHero

I just opened a box with new costumes for the play room: Doctor Scrubs, Superman, Wonder Women, Police Officer and Ninja. I am excited to see how the kids use them to play out their emotional conflicts.

Take Superman, for example. Clark Kent is a timid man, but with just a whirl and his special brand of magic, he becomes the all-powerful superhero with superhuman strength and ability. When a child participating in this type of fantasy they successfully boosts themselves from the timid shy Clark Kent to the status of an all-powerful superhuman. This relieves them of their feelings of inadequacy and allows them to discharge their feelings of aggression away from those adults in their life who are in control of them, thus keeping those relationships intact. The greater the imagination, the more elaborate and disguised the fantasies are and the greater the emotional relief and resolution of conflict.

How many times have we all seen young children battling the forces of evil and wondered why does he/she enjoy this so much?

Fantasy in the form of play allows children to build a world of imaginary characters and stories that play out current emotional conflicts in such a way that the emotions are expressed and resolved on a subconscious or unconscious level. Where children rise above themselves as they play, becoming more than their average selves.

In fantasy play, children are able to use abstract and representational thinking, allowing a bowl to become a hat, an empty pot to become a steamy aromatic soup, and a pile of pillows to become a boiling lava flow. This self-guided play requires planning, regulating, and negotiating.  In short, the act of “acting” strengthens the executive functions of the brain.

You can help by

  1. Creating a dressing up box and filling it with old clothes, scarves, jewellery, bags and hats that can be used for pretend play.
  2. Encouraging children to share their pretend play, but without interrupting the flow of play.
  3. Joining in! But let the child lead, through your responses: “Show me what you want me to do,” “What should I say?” or “What happens next?” “What happens now?” “What kind of teacher am I?” “You want me to put that on,” “Hmmm…,”

How does this help my child?

  1. How your child feels about themselves will make a significant difference in their behavior.
  2. As your child feels better about themselves they are able to discover their own strengths and assume greater self-responsibility as they take charge of daily life situations.
  3. How your child thinks, and how they performs in school are directly related to how they feels about themselves.
  4. When your child feels better about themselves, they will behave in more self-enhancing ways rather than self-defeating ways.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

You also might like these blog post by Dr Trotter

The Task of Childhood Development

Play Therapy with Young Children

Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

Dr. Trotter’s Pinterest Boards

Additional Resources:

Superhero Play and Child Development

How superhero play supports learning

 

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