Everything they soak up, from infancy onward, becomes embedded –to resurface later in their behavior. As children are developing, their parents are as well – development does not occur only in childhood or adolescence; it continues throughout our lives.
When adults become parents, ideally they demonstrate their capacity to love, nurture, respect, and take pleasure in something beyond themselves: their children. And just as children experience developmental phases, their parents do as well. Consequently, I work with both children and their parents, individually.
In treating children and adolescents, I work toward two goals: restoring the child to a path of progressive development, and restoring the parent-child relationship to a positive one for life.
In my 30 years of practice, I’ve worked with young children who have difficulty with aggression – against siblings, peers, parents and animals.
I’ve worked with children who have great fears and are unable to enter or function in the world of their peers. Some have had anxieties about school; others have had fears related to family members. Still others have had depression, or denied reality.
Through psychoanalysis, I’ve helped children deal with anxieties, phobias, depressions, cutting, poor peer skills, and psychological factors that impede their school work.
While I work with a child or an adolescent, I always work closely with their parents, individually.
For adolescents, I work with kids who have difficulty with their fears, peer relations, depressions, aggressions and temptations. I help adolescents and their families face their transition into adulthood and separation from their families as they go off to college, trade school or a job.
I also work with adolescents who have fears, who isolate themselves, and who create havoc within their homes.
For example, I worked with an adolescent who would not keep his room neat. He would bring food up to his room until plates piled up, and he would change in the kitchen and leave his clothes in the middle of the kitchen floor.
This youth had a desperate need to be seen by his parents, and he would create all these behaviors just to be seen, even if in a negative way. Through my work with him and with his parents, he was able to create more socially acceptable ways to be heard and seen by his parents.
And there are those children and adolescents who have challenges with impulse control that lead to either gaming or substance abuse. I address adolescents’ temptations when it comes to alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Some of my work is with adolescents who have come into difficulty with the law.
Many teens and young adults lapse into excessive gaming to avoid the demands of outside life; they gain their satisfactions and successes solely by winning at electronic games to the detriment of school, work and families.
When I work with children and adolescents, successful treatment requires my working with the parents as well – otherwise, parents can unconsciously sabotage their children’s progress. One mother told me, “I hate coming here. I should be on the soccer field, but you’re helping my daughter.”
My goal with children and adolescents is to get them on a proper developmental track so their natural forces can take them into their next life stage. If I’m able to do that, they are more likely to succeed with academics, extracurricular activities, peers and family.
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