In your mind, take yourself back to when you were a child. What did you need? You might recognise that you needed food, a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in, clothes to wear, toys to keep you stimulated, friends to have fun with and to improve your social skills, and so on and so forth. Did you acknowledge that you needed love, acceptance, understanding and meaningful connection? If you didn’t, you are not alone. We get so caught up in worrying about meeting the physical and mental needs of children that we run the risk of overlooking their emotional and spiritual needs. This leads us to then question how it is that children can be expected to become emotionally intelligent and integrated adults.
As a result of the oversight in meeting our children’s emotional needs and the increasing demands being placed on them, we are seeing a rise in the prevalence of anxiety and depression among children and adolescents. Life certainly seems to be placing far more pressure on them now compared to when I was young. It seems to me that children nowadays have less time in which to just enjoy being children. I find this incredibly sad. There are so many wonderful skills and abilities that are discovered and enhanced through play, yet children have to make time in their busy schedule to enjoy the freedom of one of life’s most simple pleasures.
We live in a fast-paced society and somehow expect children to keep up. Their poor little legs are not developed enough to keep the pace. So we end up with children doubting themselves and their abilities. And so begins a life-long battle of labels and stigmas, overwhelm and a perceived inability to cope with life’s increasing demands. They might experience low self-confidence and an inability to see their worth, and they probably won’t know what to do about it. We might see them as angry or behavioural and tell them to “change their attitude” without giving them the tools to do so, further impacting their sense of self and, ultimately, unintentionally disempowering them.
All of these challenges and expectations will repeatedly play over and over in their mind and become the cause of limiting beliefs and fears in our children, becoming deeply embedded in their subconscious mind, that part of the mind which is outside of their awareness. And once it is outside of conscious processing, we can no longer see why our behaviours and patterns are what they are. As most of us know, it is near impossible to merely “think” a problem away because our conscious mind then becomes obsessed with the very thoughts we are trying to rid ourselves of and stops us from seeing the cause of the beliefs that created those thoughts in the first place. We cannot see that they are firmly rooted in the subconscious mind.
“Good grief,” you might be thinking to yourself, “I feel overwhelmed just reading all of that.”
So, how can we help them?
First of all, we need to show them that we love them and accept them for who they are, not for what they do. We need to create a safe space for them to learn how to express themselves in a healthy way. We need to bond with them and show them that they are worthy of love and understanding. We need to connect with them in a meaningful way. We need to show them that they are important. With the right foundation, we can begin to address the insecurities and the limiting beliefs they hold within themselves. We need to teach them how to effectively manage their emotions and challenges so that they are less likely to become overwhelmed and are better able to behave in appropriate ways.
It is also important to consider effective methods to help them release and reframe their perceptions, fears and limiting beliefs. This is where Hypnotherapy works wonders. You might have a child who is becoming increasingly stressed about doing well in school, for example, because they hold a subconscious belief that they are not intelligent or that they do not learn as quickly as their peers. They might not realise, though, that they carry those detrimental beliefs. Such a belief can only become known by making the unconscious conscious. Hypnotherapy offers a powerful, yet gentle, way in which to do just that. By uncovering their limiting beliefs, we can help them to see themselves and their challenges in a new light. We can help them to let go of their fears and to adjust to more positive forms of self-talk.
Along with Hypnotherapy, we can combine other modalities, such as movement and play, to help them bring their mind, body and emotions back into awareness, back into balance. We can show them how to release negative emotions through their body, rather than focusing purely on the mind. The far-reaching benefits of movement and play are a phenomenal addition to the therapeutic process, allowing us to offer a holistic approach to healing.
Through movement, we can teach children to express themselves while releasing emotions that are trapped in their body, negatively affecting their behaviours and habits. Re-establishing a healthy connection between mind, body and emotions with movement also allows the child to build trust within themselves and their body. Promoting a physical way in which to process their emotions and challenges teaches children varying ways in which to help themselves to cope better when times get tough. Through methods of play, we can open up pathways of communication to establish a trusting, effective therapeutic relationship in which children can safely express themselves. With this, we can determine how best to move forward in order to help them achieve their desired outcomes in healthy and positive ways.