Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health’s (C&A) Middle Childhood program is designed to navigate the developmental tasks of children ages seven to 13 in order to be launched on a positive track for the rest of their lives.
The program is designed to help children in seven key areas:
- Social and emotional development – includes self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, personal responsibility, decision making, goal-directed behavior and optimistic thinking
- Physical health and well being
- Connectedness (relationships with peers and adults)
- School experiences
- After-school use of time
- Academic skills and achievement
- Parenting/parent-child interactions
Children in this age range are beginning to face issues of anxiety, depression, behavioral issues and more which can initiate the need for a diagnosis and treatment when the concerns challenge the child’s ability to function day-to-day.
Challenges sets in as children realize that life is not so small anymore and may not be as safe as it once appeared. In fact, they begin to see the world as big and encompassing. For the younger kids in grades two and three, they start to stress about passing the third-grade test (test anxiety). As kids progress towards their teenage years, social media, peer pressure and lack of skills to regulate emotions to solve problems set in.
C&A is able to offer family therapy sessions and parenting groups to help the family through this challenging time. Therapy sessions include individual therapy for the child and family therapy which includes the entire family. Case management services are provided to assist families with navigation of the community services and enhance the use of positive behavior and coping skills at home and school.
Navigating developmental needs
Prepuberty and puberty are challenging developmental stages for children and parents. The challenge is to navigate, guide and cope to have positive outcomes. Children at this point are meeting all the developmental stages.
Some of the challenges children in puberty experience include:
- Pressure - taking and passing state testing is an issue all kids face today
- Responsibility – kids are more independent for their actions such as waking up on time; getting to the bus on time; doing chores
- Technology – recommended screen time is anywhere from two to four hours but with school issued laptop computers, phones and the internet, overload is almost inevitable
- Social Media – research is showing a link between social media and depression
- Natural coping skills – healthy coping skills can move to unhealthy skills as kids experiment with drugs and alcohol if they are overwhelmed and lack a strong support system
The Middle Childhood program compliments the school-based program serving up to 2,000 clients a school year. The average length of treatment is 12 to 18 months. The program emphasizes on helping children to meet the specific tasks within their age development. Sixty-eight percent of kids have a positive outcome after 12 weeks of service.
At this age, we want kids to explore new skills, build friendships and figure out who they are and what they want to become. These children continue to need strong attachments to adults through nurturing, effective parenting to provide a sense of security, trust and a sense of belonging and security.