Childhood generally refers to the period in an individual’s life in which they’re under 18 years of age. Different phases of a child’s development can lead to new and unique challenges. Therapy and other supportive strategies can help. Click to learn more.
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Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Childhood can be a special time in a person’s life. Many may be learning about the world, bonding with parents, spending time with friends and enjoying everything that is new.
Whether you have your own kids or you are working with them as a teacher or in some other capacity, you may find that children generally have a lot to show us and teach us through the way that they perceive the world. Read on to learn how to maximize this special relationship between parent and child, and how you can lean into these years of discovery and fun.
What We Learn As Children
If you are the parent or caregiver of a child, you are likely watching a young person explore, learn more about themselves and try to make sense of their world. You may find that you have a lot in common with your child, or they may seem very different from you—whether it be in their interests, personality or preferences. It can be powerful to realize whether you are a biological parent or have adopted a child, you can significantly influence this person’s life, perhaps more prominently than anyone else can.
One of the most impactful experiences that many might experience is the process of learning. Generally speaking, we are always learning, no matter how old we are. Children may know this intuitively and might then continue to seek out knowledge through exploring, observing, playing, asking questions and more. This can help kids learn lessons like self-control, decision-making and problem-solving.
Parents might also teach their children about maintaining personal hygiene, how to cook and how to communicate effectively with other people. Teaching your children helpful life lessons can help ensure that they go into the world as capable human beings.
Remember What Childhood Felt Like To You
If you want to truly “be there” for a child, one of the most important things you can do is to emphasize that you want to understand their feelings. Even if you have kids or work with them in professions like teaching, this doesn’t necessarily mean you remember what it was like to be a child. It can be powerful to take some time to think back on your childhood and try to recall what it felt like. This may help you relate to the children in your life on a deeper level and understand them better.
When a child opens up to you, it can be important to listen intently and value what they have to say. Validating their feelings can help them feel safe, supported and secure. Additionally, they may be more likely to open up to you if they believe you are there for them.
While childhood can be a special and beautiful time, some people might experience childhood trauma or abuse. Physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse during childhood can be a common but painful experience that may take years or even a lifetime to heal from.
If you are a survivor of childhood abuse, it can be helpful to seek treatment for your past so that you can heal. Additionally, if your child has been through something traumatic, getting them support as soon as possible can speed up their recovery.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse in any form, reach out right away to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) for immediate support, advice and assistance.
Online Counseling With BetterHelp
Parents may consider seeking therapeutic support at any time for their child or for themselves. If you are having difficulties with what your child is experiencing or wish to find support in your parenting journey, online therapy can be a helpful resource to consider.
Many find online therapy convenient, as you can engage with it from the comfort of your home and in the way that is most convenient for you. For example: You can speak with your counselor through in-app messaging, phone calls or video chats.
The Efficacy Of Online Counseling
Online counseling can be ideal for parents who want support for themselves or their children but are struggling to find the time for it. One study assessed the effectiveness of a web-based therapy intervention on parental psychological flexibility and emotional regulation. Researchers found data that supported the idea that the intervention had positive effects in each of these areas. Additionally, parents’ mood and coping skills were also noted to have improved throughout the program.
Childhood can be one of the most distinctive times in our lives. It’s where many may learn important life lessons, celebrate significant milestones and start to grow into the person we’re going to be in the world.
Raising a child can be rewarding, but it can also come with plenty of challenges. You don’t have to walk through these difficult moments on your own, however. Speaking with a licensed online counselor can help you make wiser parenting choices and learn how to take care of yourself while caring for your child. BetterHelp can connect you with an online therapist in your area of need.