It’s child’s play

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Opinion -

CHIL­DREN can’t con­sis­tently ex­press feel­ings with words. What other op­tions do they have? Play ther­apy is the help ev­ery child needs these days. It is a straight­for­ward and ef­fec­tive process for the bet­ter­ment of chil­dren.

A re­cent ex­am­ple is what hap­pened to 18-year-old T. Nhaveen who was bul­lied at school and, in the end, killed by his bul­lies when they beat him up.

His ex-school­mates would have been trou­bled chil­dren since they were young. A ther­a­pist un­der­stands this well enough to bring such is­sues out in play.

Peo­ple might have a no­tion that this process is time con­sum­ing. They some­times say, “It’s just play!” Yes, the process of play ther­apy is with­out a sin­gle doubt, fun. How­ever, it is also a vi­tal and worth­while ac­tiv­ity, as there is plenty that can be ac­knowl­edged and con­veyed – and ob­served.

In the midst of my practicum in school, I had a short play dough ther­apy ses­sion with the stu­dents. That’s when I re­alised that there was more to know about this group of stu­dents I was teach­ing.

The ef­fort­less act of sim­ply rolling and squish­ing play dough can help chil­dren in re­leas­ing anger too. Some­times, the chil­dren cre­ate lit­tle

“mon­sters” or “ghosts” so they can pound them, which is ob­vi­ously a health­ier way of re­leas­ing anger than pound­ing on other chil­dren.

It isn’t nec­es­sary for all par­ents to send their chil­dren to recog­nised ther­a­pists. Or even buy ex­pen­sive ma­te­rial be­cause there are recipes on­line that show you how to make play dough at home.

And even if you don’t think your child has any be­havioural is­sues, it is a great op­por­tu­nity for par­ent-child bond­ing.

Sankita a/p Jayanan­dan Via e-mail

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