What does a Child Psychologist do? Here, everything you ought to know about a career in Child psychology is made known.
The soft giggles of a child can melt a stony heart. But anxiety could set in unexpectedly with episodes of long yowling at night, heightened fever, delay in growth progression, and a sudden deflection in behavior.
Oftentimes, new parents get dribbled by the alternating changes in their kids and would generally be perturbed by these changes.
Expert intervention may be required in some of these cases. However, it is essential to seek professional opinion in matters that concern conscious and subconscious development in kids and adolescents.
Psychology is not a novel term. Over time, psychology has progressed from identifying and resolving adult crises to resolving that of kids.
Child psychology is the branch of psychology that studies the behavior, interaction, and development of kids, until puberty. There are a lot of medical conditions that affect kids and they could be managed upon early detection.
Aside from this, children have peculiar needs that should be understood, in order to be met. Instincts may successfully encode the babbling of a child but child psychology is an analytic process.
What is Child Psychology?
Child psychology is the study of the psychological processes of kids as they develop and how these processes differ from one child to the next and how these processes are different from those of adults.
Child psychology deals with children; their response to the environment, parents, other kids from infancy to the end of adolescence. As a branch of developmental psychology, child psychology focuses on the ‘how’ and ‘when’ changes occur in children. Children must undergo a series of development and this is the reason child psychology is crucial.
At each level of development, children reach milestones – they begin to sit, make gestures, crawl, stand, walk, talk etc.
All these developments are attained by kids at different ages and times and they prove that growth exists and is taking place.
So, child psychology analyses the behavior of a child – the conscious and the subconscious, the progressions that occur at each developing point, when these progressions will occur and how they occur. It also spells out the dissimilitude in the level of progression for each child. This investigation continues until the child reaches puberty.
Core developmental areas in child psychology
Child psychology focuses on some core developmental areas, such as;
This is evidence that changes occur. It includes physical, cognitive, and social/emotional development. From the time of birth, children must undergo a series of changes that are relevant to their growth.
Child psychology focuses on progression in speech, in the ability to learn, feel, think in children. With this, they will be able to perform comprehensive analysis at every developmental stage of a child.
As another facet of development, milestones are pointers. It is considered normal to have children crawl, take their first walk, make their first speech at a particular period. Most times, many kids develop in these areas between 12 months or less.
These actions are relevant pointers in a child’s growth and child psychologists can tell when these actions would take place, empirically.
When these developments are delayed, it often raises a red flag. However, some of these stunts are not a result of a medical condition or disorder.
The way a person acts can presage personal sentiments, background, beliefs, and sometimes age. Children are mostly carefree and enjoy activities that make them move about.
They become generally mischievous, hyperactive, curious, and may never reach a point of disagreement with their parents. It is a common feature for kids to perambulate at functions, lose a tooth and get a cut from indulging in playground activities.
These behaviours are seen as normal. For adolescents, the predominant character trait is juvenile rebellion and it is for this reason that many parents seek counsel from child psychologists.
Socialization refers to interactions between individuals and how these interactions assist in the conformity to societal values. Socialization begins in early childhood.
There is a common saying that the family is the primary agent of socialization. There is also the axiom that charity begins at home.
Kids absorb what they see and hear quickly and as soon as they begin to internalize these norms, they will definitely begin to apply them. Socialization involves acquiring values, knowledge, and skills. All these, the child adopts bit by bit and will enable them to communicate properly with their family, community, and society.
Child psychology cuts across different areas. Hence, child psychology has different types.
Types of Child Psychology
There are specific areas of child psychology. They include;
- Educational psychology
- Adolescent psychology
- School psychology
- Clinical Child psychology
- Developmental child psychology
- Abnormal child psychology.
The predominant function of an educational child psychologist is to address the psychological needs of children by suggesting changes or modifications to the curriculum and classes. This is in a bid to improve the teaching and learning processes in schools.
Adolescent psychologists deal with adolescents or pre-teens as well as teenagers. They work with their patients through psychotherapy, create a structure of behaviour modifications and therapeutic processes. This they do with constant contact with the parents of the patients and the patients’ other supporters.
The functions of an educational child psychologist and that of a school psychologist may be closely associated because of the near term to education in school. School psychologists on the other hand address the mental health needs of kids.
Clinical Child psychology:
Clinical child psychologists do the following; assess, diagnose and treat children and adolescents with psychological disorders. Clinical psychologists also conduct academic and scientific research.
Developmental child psychology:
Child psychologists answer the “how” and “when” development occurs. The major role of developmental child psychologists is to conduct research in order to gain a better understanding of children’s behaviour.
Abnormal Child psychology:
Abnormal child psychologists work with young patients into their adulthood. They treat atypical issues in children, which are as a result of emotional or physical abuse or some other trauma.
What does a Child Psychologist do?
Child psychology deals with the needs peculiar to children and pre-teens. Their specialty is in identifying the mental and psychological needs of children and adolescents.
All these are in a bid to build strong and exemplary personalities. Child psychologists may perform separate functions, which may differ in the workspace, child, teen etc. But they perform these specific functions;
- Conduct academic and scientific research on child and adolescent behaviour, in order to gain a better understanding of their behaviours in total.
- Diagnose and treat kids and adolescents experiencing developmental and emotional setbacks.
- Identifying developmental encumbrance in kids and preteens.
- Work with doctors and specialists by identifying psychological needs as it affects the patients, their growth, and their well-being.
- Offers counseling to the patients’ parents on the methods to be taken for mental health management.
- Perform assessments and tests for diagnostic purposes.
An employer would normally include a set of skills, which an applicant must have acquired prior to application. A Child psychologist is expected to have these skills;
- Analytical evaluation.
- Problem-solving skills
- Observation skills
- Listening skills
These skills come under study, that is, during the process of learning or studying child psychology.
How can I become a Child psychologist?
- Get a bachelor’s degree in general psychology.
- Enroll in a graduate program.
- Complete practicum or internship
- Apply for license
- Get board-certified
- Apply for child psychology jobs.
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the role of a child psychologist.
How long does it take to study child psychology?
The minimum number of years in securing a degree is 4 years. So, be rest assured that you will not be spending so much time, studying. Although brisk, it leaves a positive impact on the students and on the society.
What other job roles are available for child psychologists?
Child psychologists understudies the development of children until adolescence. Their job is mostly therapeutic and they can take up roles as;
- Family counselor
- Behavioral therapist
- Paediatric therapist
- Social worker
- Behavioural health nurse etc.
Final thoughts on what does a child psychologist do
Seeking professional help and counsel at the slightest behavioral change in your kids is important. Childhood is delicate, as it is the period where changes occur.
If things begin to look different in your kids, don’t assume. Seek help.