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Many children who are treated for disruptive behavior problems are school-age. They’ve been acting out in class, ignoring or defying teachers’ direction, or being too aggressive with other children.

In many cases, these children have been exhibiting problematic behavior for years before they start school. Early intervention is key when dealing with behaviors of children in order to address issues before they escalate into larger problems later in childhood or adolescents.

Using a variety of play therapy and child development-based techniques, children as young as three years old can benefit substantially. Play therapy utilizes play, children’s natural medium of expression, to help them express their feelings more easily through toys, sand, therapy animals, art, and activities, instead of just words. Using these modalities, children are taught to exhibit emotional functioning through play and art. Children do not have the cognitive capability to verbalize issues, events, or trauma they might be experiencing and having a safe environment to act out their feelings allows the therapist to get a better understanding of what the child is trying to say exhibited by their concerning behaviors.

Signs that preschool kids might need help learning to manage their impulses and regulate their behavior include:

Repeated, intense temper tantrums.

Ongoing negative or concerning behaviors parents are having difficulty managing.

Poor sleeping schedule, habits, or bedtime issues.

Family circumstances (divorce, separation, death, incarceration, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, abuse, neglect, absent parent, parent alienation) causing distress to a child.

Physical symptoms or habits (hair, bed wetting, potty training, biting nails, self-harm, hurting others or self).

Not playing well with other children: Being excluded from play dates, being released from pre-school, ongoing negative reports or comments from other adults.

Behaviors causing a strain on the family unit, parental relationship, neighbors, or social environments.

A child dictating and controlling the family environment by their behaviors.

Behaviors causing concern for safety of child, other children, family members, or siblings.

Play Therapy Services

  • Observing and gaining insight into the family unit and in-home behaviors offers therapist a clearer understanding in the dynamics of the child and the family. Different techniques, ideas, systems, and practices are introduced during and after an in-home visit by the therapist.

  • Individualized family plans are designed by the therapist along with parents and family members offering input, needs and suggestions. Parenting plans are a multi-faceted approach considering each families values, ethnicity, beliefs, culture, goals, expectations, dynamics, and family history.

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