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Thirty and Thriving: Structured Play Time Can Help Your Child

Today, parents are busier than ever before and disconnected from their children. Moms, dads, and caretakers… I have one question: Can you give attention to your child for thirty minutes a week? There is no magic wand to help a child behave or to build a relationship with them. Nevertheless, small and intentional deposits into a child’s love bank could pay dividends. Have you considered play as a way to build a mutually satisfying relationship with your children?

What is Filial Therapy?

Filial Therapy, created by Bernard Gurney in 1964, refers to a type of psychotherapy. Parents are taught how to implement therapeutic techniques into their parent-child relationship. This often looks like a structured thirty minute play time with a child every week. Principles and guidelines are followed in order to create an accepting relationship with the child. Parents are equipped to empower their children as a result of filial therapy. These skills can be taught in as little as 10 sessions.

Why play?

Adults express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences with words. In contrast, children express their experiences and feelings with play.  Gary Landreth, a leading play therapist, is often quoted for his theory that play is the language and toys are the words. When a child works through their problems with play, they feel better about themselves. As a result, they will behave better. Other benefits of using toys as words include increased self-esteem, control, responsibility, and satisfaction in the parent-child relationship.

Let the child lead.

One of the major differences from regular play is that a child can lead without judgement, requirements, or put-downs. What about rules?! Of course, there are limits to the play time. The limit-setting technique used during filial therapy is remembered by the A-C-T acronym. Acknowledge the feeling, Communicate the limit, and Target the alternative. These three steps help set firm limits that children often have an easier time responding to.

Are you interested in learning more about filial therapy and how it can impact the parent-child relationships in your life? If so, give Amy Wine Counseling Center a call at 832-421-8714! I would love to guide you through creating a healthier, happier relationship with your child through play!


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