Would you know if your child is having a problem?
How do you know when your child is having a problem? Are there early warning signs? How can you tell? I have invited Todd Griffin, the Director and Principal Psychologist at TG Psychology to help give us insight into the key behaviors that might indicate there is a problem brewing within our child.
3 Key Signs Your Child is Having a Problem
As children grow, life can be demanding on their young minds. Just like adults, children can experience problems that they may not want to talk about. Unfortunately, due to their undeveloped brain, they may not know how to overcome their struggles in life.
When this occurs, they start to exhibit different signs that signal there’s a problem. For parents who are concerned about their children, this is an expert guide on the top signs to watch out for to know that your child may be struggling with a problem in their life.
Common Signs Your Child May Be Having Problems in Life
#1 Poor Behavior
The onset of spiraling poor behavior is the first major sign that something may be wrong with your child.
While children may have periods where they’ll push boundaries, children who start to exhibit poor behavior suddenly and continuously is a sign that you need to be concerned about. Some attributes of poor behavior to watch out for include, but isn’t limited to:
• Talking back
• Bossy and controlling
• Getting into trouble with the law
• Committing illegal crimes
Poor behavior will come and go, however if it starts suddenly, especially when your child was once a nice and respectful kid, then it signals that something may be wrong.
#2 Failing Grades
School-aged children tend to experience a lot of inner problems due to the pressure of school, peer pressure, bullying and other family issues at home. Another sign that your child is experiencing internal turmoil is if their grades begin to fall rapidly over a very short amount of time.
Grade drops are generally brought on by your child’s inability to concentrate due to their problem or depending on the problem, they start to feel unmotivated to strive for excellence because life begins to feel too hard. They begin to think to themselves why bother completing their school work?
While some grade drops are acceptable depending on the subject, if their report card is showing A’s and B’s straight to F’s, then it’s time that you step in and try to understand what may be causing problems in your child’s life.
#3 Changes In Their Mood, Sleeping and Eating Habits
Children who are experiencing problems also tend to have changes in their mood and in their eating and sleeping patterns.
Your child may start to experience bouts of insomnia where you’ll find them still awake at late hours of the night. They may be harder to wake in the morning because they’ve been awake for most of the night.
Their eating patterns will also change. You may start to see them lose their appetite, avoid eating altogether, or they may reject their favorite food.
Along with sleep and eating disturbances, their mood will also change. Your child may start to appear preoccupied with things when you talk to them. They may also want to avoid certain situations that may trigger a reminder of the problem they’re dealing with or they may seem anxious, fearful, sad or angry a lot of the time when you try to talk with them.
How to Help Your Child Resolve Their Problem
In order to help your child resolve their problem, you first need to know what the problem is. The first step to helping them is to sit down and calmly open the lines of communication. Don’t get angry or judgmental, simply explain that you’ve noticed changes and you’re concerned there’s something wrong.
It’s important to realize that it may take some time to get them to admit there’s an issue, but by constantly reassuring them it’s going to be ok and you want to help them through it, you will start to break down that wall. Overall, they need to know that you love them and you’re there for them during this difficult time.
If you find the problem is a lot bigger than you’ve anticipated, don’t hesitate to ask for help from your doctor. They may be able to get you in contact with someone who can help your child through their problems.
Did you know that unresolved problems in childhood are one of the reasons why depression occurs in teenagers? Remember it’s important to understand that while you may not think the issue is big, to them it’s something big that may be hard for them to overcome. Be understanding and try to put yourself in their shoes.
Children who are dealing with their own problems in life tend to release their stress in many different ways. By taking the time to look out for warning signs, you’ll be able to help your children resolve their problems so it won’t affect them in everyday life as they grow.
So, are you seeing any of these signs in your child? How can you tell when your child is having a problem?
Do you know someone who has a child who is struggling? Share this article with them.
Guest Author Bio
Todd Griffin is the Director and Principal Psychologist at TG Psychology, in Penrith, NSW. He has over 14 years of experience working with adults and young people in both public health and private practice settings. He has treated people from diverse cultural backgrounds, with a variety of emotional health and behavioral issues, including: depression, anxiety, relationship issues, anger, addictions, trauma and grief. He has also facilitated a number of group programs, treating a wide range of issues: from quitting cannabis, to social skills training, self-esteem development and deliberate self-harm behaviors.