This is Part 2 in a 2-part series. Read Understanding Your Child by Observing Their Play, Part 1: Wishes and Desires. Children can be understood by observing their play. All of their unconscious wishes and desires are cast into a train set, playground or sandbox for their parent to observe and take notice. As noted in my previous article entitled Understanding Your Child by Observing Their Play, Part 1: Wishes and Desires, children play to express both pleasurable and ‘forbidden’ wishes. Children also attempt to master life. They must master the world around them, their bodies and their conflicting internal experience. Forbidden wishes are examples of conflicting internal wishes. Children may wish to hurt/destroy/kill, but they also don’t wish to hurt/disappoint/destroy the person that cares for them and that they care about. They also know that it’s against the law or against their parent’s wishes to act on such things. The work of a play therapist or parent is to help a child become

Source: Understanding Your Child by Observing Their Play, Part 2: Mastering Life