Child Psychology

Child and Teen

Imagine the following: It's been a really, really bad day; you've come home after losing your job. It's also a sweltering hot summer day, and you and your child hear the ice cream truck down the block.  Understandably, your child is ecstatic, otherwise, the experience for you is average and largely unremarkable given the circumstances.  Regardless, you take your child to the truck to buy them an ice cream.  After they deliberate for what seems like forever, they finally choose their favourite flavour ultimately for it to plop to the ground not moments after the truck departs. Again, understandably your child is devastated. While the ice cream tragedy fails to move the needle on your list of true atrocities, your child feels differently.

Sometimes, as adults we forget that because many of the things that happen in children's lives lack real world implications, that the feelings they experience when something bad happens matches the true severity of the event. Despite the lack of implications on the child's life, in reality, the ice cream tragedy may evoke feelings of anger, despair, and sadness, in a similar way that the loss of a job may feel to an adult. Similarly, a teenager going through a difficult breakup, getting cut from a team, or even receiving a bad grade in school, can feel equally devastating the way adults do when bad things happen. These experiences are new, sometimes frightening, and can truly shape the narrative of children's self-worth, beliefs about the world, or themselves.


So, while lost desserts may seem trivial to the complexity and nuances of our daily lives, sometimes kids feel differently.

Little Tree Psychology, sees children ages 3-18. Typically, children and teens intake sessions are broken down into two parts. First, the parent(s) typically meet alone for the first session or first 20-30 minutes. During this time, the clinician and the parent(s) discuss confidentiality, fees, benefits, and how they would prefer to structure therapy with the child. This time also includes an extended history questionnaire where the following may be investigated:

  • The child’s social history

  • Behaviours at school

  • Interactions with family and siblings

  • Interests and extracurricular activities

  • Negative life experiences

The information above will be used to assess the possible causes of what is distressing your child that lead to undesirable behaviours. At the end of the intake, the clinician and parent(s) should have a good idea of what goals they would like to set for the child and how many sessions feel appropriate.


Last, it is important to remember that every child and teen is different, and will require a different approach therapeutically. However, and especially with children under 10, parental intervention in the therapeutic process is crucial to a child's success in therapy, as parents tend to have more power and control over their child's development than they often realize. Therefore, often simple parenting 'tweaks', can work wonders for a lot of presenting concerns. For this reason, it is encouraged that at the beginning or end of session that the parent(s) spend a few minutes alone with the clinician discussing ongoing strategies, successes, and areas of concern moving forward.

Common Youth Concerns
  • Lack of motivation in school

  • Bullying/peer dynamics

  • Sexual assault

  • Attention Deficit Disorder

  • Sex and gender dysmorphia

  • Divorce/separation

  • Social problems

  • Developmental delays

  • Sports-related stressors

  • Self-confidence

  • Social skills

  • Peer relationships

  • Emotion regulation

  • Stress management

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

Little Tree Child and Youth Counselling