During a play therapy session this week a nine year old refused to put on his apron before painting. There are few rules in the sessions, but wearing an apron to paint is one of them, and this child had been working with me for a while and knew this. His response to me was clearly about testing the boundaries and trust, which are both issues he needs to work on with me, due to the adults in his family letting him down, and saying one thing then doing something different. He was very cross with me which I acknowledged to him. He was very surprised that I continued the play session as usual and didn’t reprimand him.
This situation made me think of other times when children may express their feelings to adults and we may not like it and tell them off for showing this. We need to ensure that if we are encouraging children to express their feelings, then this includes all feelings, not just the ones that are easier for us to manage.