Do you ever feel alone in a room full of people? What if that room was your house, the people were your family and you were a child.
Children will adapt in order to mediate their feelings and experience. Some children will act out (misbehavior). Some children will act in (anxiety and depression). Some children will retreat into their own imagination. Some children will become immersed in their schoolwork and perfectionism. Some children will put food or other comfort measures in the empty place.
How could a child feel this way in their own family?
There are a lot of possible reasons a child may feel this way, but rarely is the cause a “mental health” disorder, however, if not addressed, mental health disorders are almost sure to arise.
What is the “treatment?”
Years ago, I attended a homeschool group with my children at a friend’s house. I kept looking at a Norfolk Island Pine in their living room, and felt like I was watching it die. I made suggestions about how to restore that ugly tree to it’s true beauty. My friends said, “Do you want it?” I brought that tree home, gave it a shower (not kidding), a new pot and fresh soil and set it right in the sun in my living room. I gave it food, water and love (a lot of talking to). A few months later it was THRIVING!!! This child tree had developed so much in a short time. I offered the tree back to it’s original owner, who declined.
What would happen in a scenario like this, where a tree is failing to thrive, removed from it’s environment to a loving and caring one and then returned to it’s original environment?
While there is a time and a place for child therapy, is it fair to put a child in therapy, try to help them with some insight, give them some tools and send them back into the unwell environment from which they came?
We all need to strive for the family environment to be the therapy experience, the healing place.
The family should be the place where children learn social skills, executive functioning skills, emotional intelligence, life skills. The family should be the place where children feel, “I belong here!” “These are my people!” “When I want to share my joy, there they are.” “When I want to share my sorrow, there they are.” “When I have a problem, there they are!” “THESE ARE MY PEOPLE!”