Behavioral therapy for a child becomes necessary when the child begins to show questionable behaviors that start becoming a lifestyle.
For example, children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other related issues require behavioral therapy after their diagnosis.
This therapy helps the child overcome whatever triggers the behavior and teaches them how to unlearn and handle themselves.
Moreover, behavioral therapy largely requires the inclusion of parents or caregivers. It helps them understand the state of their children’s minds and how to strategically veer them away from such questionable behaviors. As we proceed, we must understand behavioral therapy and how it can help a child.
What is behavioral therapy?
Behavioral therapy is a technique used by professionals to help curb disorderly behavior in children. It focuses on teaching children new methods and behaviors and changing their thoughts and feelings about certain situations.
More so, behavioral therapy uses techniques such as positive reinforcement and modeling to help people learn how to cope with stressful or difficult situations. These techniques may differ according to diagnosis; however, they all have the same goal to improve the behavioral aspect of the child.
Parents are also taught how to handle their child’s behavior in a new and different way. For example, a child diagnosed with anger issues may get away with anything because parents naturally tend to overlook and take the easiest available option to pacify the young child before the tantrum escalates. However, during behavioral therapy, parents learn more efficient and effective ways to handle a situation at home.
They will understand that their perceived easiest route out of their child’s anger issue may not be the best for them and the child. They may need to offer rewards when the child acts calmly in the face of a situation and firmly stand by it.
What are the types of behavioral therapies?
People of different age grades can require behavioral therapy, including children under five. Behavioral therapy is a broad field and comes in various types which deal with different mental issues. For clarity, we have a list of some of the therapies:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is another therapy that focuses on helping individuals identify and modify dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors that lead to distress.
The professionals use these techniques to target the pattern of the patient’s thoughts and their following actions. The therapy helps to correct the flow of thoughts and how to act in situations that would have resulted in distress.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
This type of therapy was primarily established to treat patients with borderline personality disorder, and this disorder paves the way for other dangerous mental sicknesses, including intensive suicidal thoughts.
So, DBT focuses on helping these individuals manage their emotions, improve relationships, and develop healthy coping skills.
This type of therapy helps individuals with phobias or anxieties by gradually exposing them to feared objects or situations.
This type of therapy helps individuals calmly confront their fears and anxieties. Most times, patients take their time to thoroughly do away with fear and anxiety, but the professionals help them to conquer their fears through techniques like the breathing technique.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
This type of therapy encourages individuals to accept their thoughts and feelings while committing to taking action that is consistent with their values. One of the techniques helpful in this kind of therapy is the mindfulness-awareness method.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
This therapy focuses on helping individuals identify and modify irrational beliefs that lead to distress.
Children behavioral therapy
When it comes to kids, the techniques become more doused and accommodating. This includes turning a cognitive behavioral therapy session into a supervised play period.
Through these, the therapists work directly with the children and proffer a lasting solution like a coping mechanism.
When a child is involved, everything about this process becomes very sensitive and must be handled carefully. So, aside from the therapies mentioned above, a child-friendly procedure will include the following:
Here, the child is not hand-picked for the therapy sessions. The whole family, which primarily includes the parents, must be involved.
Family therapy can collectively understand the child involved and learn how to proceed from the situation. More so, the therapist learns about the entire family and professionally decides how they can be individually and collectively helpful to the child.
Play therapy is a psychological therapy that involves playing and creative activities as a way for children to express their thoughts and feelings. It is based on the belief that children can express themselves more freely through play than verbal communication.
During play therapy, the therapist uses the opportunity to monitor the child and analyze their mental state and problem.
This method is highly effective as it can help children with various issues, such as difficulty in social situations, difficulty expressing emotions, and difficulty forming relationships.
Play therapy is also used to address behavior problems and to help children work through trauma.
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an evidence-based treatment for younger children who show emotional and behavioral disorders. This therapy emphasizes improving the quality of the parent-child relationship and changing parent-child interaction patterns.
PCIT uniquely combines play therapy and parent training to help parents learn more positive, effective ways to interact with their child to promote positive behavior, all under the watchful eyes and guidance of the therapist, who may be directing things from a separate room.
Hence, this therapy’s final result helps children improve their behavior and emotion regulation and build attachment with their parents.
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) has also been a breakthrough for adopted children and their new parents or parents who have been away for a very long time to bond.
Why is behavioral therapy for a child necessary?
Diagnoses are scary events in life; when they occur, people involved begin to seek the proper medications immediately.
So is the situation with parents of children diagnosed with mental issues. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is better to begin behavioral therapy for children presenting with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) first. Especially children from two to seven years old, and maybe follow up with medications if necessary.
Parents who offer medications first may only successfully suppress the symptoms without addressing the root or helping the child know how to behave when faced with triggers. Therefore, causing more harm than good to the child.
Benefits of behavioral therapy for a child
Behavioral therapy for a child is necessary because it can help children learn to manage their emotions, build confidence, improve communication skills, and develop better problem-solving abilities.
Furthermore, it can help children develop healthy coping strategies to deal with difficult situations, improve relationships with peers and adults, and understand the consequences of their actions.
Conclusion on behavioral therapy for a child
Behavioral therapy may require many sessions and stretched patience, depending on the severity of the child’s condition.
Be as it may, child behavioral therapy always comes through for mostly all kids and their families needing it.