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Ask Dr. Shirley Schaye Your Own Question

Dr. Shirley Schaye
Dr. Shirley Schaye, Doctor
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1673
Experience:  PhD-Psych; Certif. Psychoanalyst NPAP& NYFS; Memb.APsaA;IPA; Pub.Author; Teach/Supervise Therapy
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how can you tell if a child is being coached to say things

Customer Question

how can you tell if a child is being coached to say things?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Shirley Schaye replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

Thank you for contacting Just Answer. I do a lot of child therapy. The way I would know this is I would get the information that you gave me for example. Then I would see the child alone. Children don't sit down and tell us what they are upset about/ what is bothering them. They act out. They show destructive behaviour or act out their behaviour. Because children don't talk that's why we child therapists do play therapy with children. The child when in a therapist's office will engage in play and then the therapist can interpret what is going on. From what you have said thus far, what I would do in my office is keep doll toys and have mommy's house and daddy's house or grandma's house. So for example, when the child is setting something up in grandma's or daddy's house I would fish based on what you have told me about what was happening there. Only by bringing him to a child therapist will you be able to determine what is really going on with him. There is no way to guess what is going on without knowing further details. In a child therapist's office the play would reveal what is going on.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

I should add, would reveal through play, not talking.


we have been in the process of custody hearings and where almost finished. our last hearing was to be on the 10th of this month. the father was to have custody and grandmother visitation since she has the the childs brother and sister in her custody. it has not been an easy road with the father and his family and the oldest child(the child's brother)has been in therapy himself for things that happen to him with the father of the youngest child. i.e. verbal and some physical abuse. the father's mother has now become involved and our dhs agent has informed us that they have coach the three year old into saying that his 8 year old brother has been touching him in an inappropriate manner. he was just with us and hasn't had any behavior changes that would lead us to believe anything is wrong with him. we have been informed by dhs that they are taking the child to a phycologist to prove this. the father and his mother have no idea that we have been warned about this and plan on using this information to take the child away from his brother sister and grandmother. do you think it would be possible to evaluate a child in one visit? and what kind of damage could they be doing to the three year old by coaching him/

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

Let me read what you wrote.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

It could do a lot of damage coaching him but you should save everything you wrote and bring the child to a child therapist and discuss everything with them. I doubt very much whether this can be accomplished in one visit. Make an appointment ASAP and see what the child therapist says.


thank you so much for your time.

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