As children are still learning, growing, and developing, each developmental stage adds to the skills necessary for appropriately managing an adult life. Coping with the death of someone close may not be an experience the child has previously encountered and, consequently, he or she may not have learned the appropriate skills of grieving and adjusting. If the necessary skills are not already within that child's repertoire then it may be appropriate to ask, what is missing? What does the child need that he or she hasn't yet acquired, and how can we help teach those skills in the therapeutic context?
"Learning New Tricks" (Story 26) talks ofa boy who needs to build a skill he does not yet have— controlling his bladder. With the help of a friend's father, who owned a circus, Andy discovered it was possible to learn new skills, such as juggling. In doing so, he became aware of capabilities he had not realized he possessed, practiced improving these new abilities, and shifted his focus from his problems to his resources. It is a tale that walks the child step by step through building the necessary skills to resolve his problem and enhance his self-confidence.
Was this article helpful?