Child psychology focuses on the mind and behaviour of children from prenatal development right the way through to adolescence. This particular branch of psychology deals not only with how children develop physically but also how they grow mentally, emotionally and socially as well.
Because child psychology is so vast, researchers tend to separate children’s development into key, specific areas. On a broad scale, these are often divided between physical development (study of hormones, genetics etc), cognitive development (thinking, memory, learning etc) and social and emotional development (attachment, interaction, language etc). Child psychologists attempt to make sense of all these aspects of child development by assessing certain “developmental milestones” within children.
What exactly does a child psychologist do?
The primary role of a child psychologist is to provide reason for children’s behaviour and, in doing so, help parents to better understand and cater to the specific needs of their child. Child psychologists can work in a wide range of settings and under various degrees of circumstances. Some of these include:
The most popular setting in which to find child psychologists. Private psychologists provide counselling and therapy whilst evaluating children for a variety of disorders including learning difficulties, hyperactivity, anxiety and depression. As well as evaluating for developmental delays, private psychologists help children to overcome abuse, personal trauma and other experiences that can affect their emotional and mental health.
Psychologists can also be hired by court systems to aid in helping children adjust to court proceedings such as divorce or custody battles.
Schools hire psychologists to help children who are facing mental or emotional difficulties that affect their behaviour or performance at school. Psychologists may use talking therapies (such as CBT), music therapy or play to communicate with the child and allow them means to express their feelings.
Child psychology encompasses a wide range of topics from genetic influences to social pressures. Some of the specific subjects tackled by child psychologists and researchers include:
- Gender roles
- Sexual development
- Personality development
- Prenatal development
Why do some children need psychologists?
Just like adults, children are often faced with a vast degree of trials and tribulations some of which can manifest into serious psychological and behavioural disorders if left untreated.
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