As parents, we want the best for our kids. Whether it is education, clothing, or nutrition, we choose the finest for them. For most parents keeping their kids physically healthy and providing for them are the top priority. However, at the same time, parents might turn a blind eye to their kid’s mental health.
Similar to how adults experience anxiety, sadness, and stress, so do children. Their school life, friendships, and the ever-changing world can overwhelm them and cause emotional irregularities. These mood swings could result in mental disorders if left unchecked. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental disorders and chief causes of emergency visits in kids. One in five children has a mental illness, and the numbers have increased after the pandemic.
Most youngsters are afraid to share their inner turmoil. Their frustrations and emotions are bottled up, resulting in disruptive and destructive behaviors. However, parents or caregivers can intervene and help their children mentally. A lookout for these six signs can help you identify mental distress within your little one.
Most children express themselves through their actions. They portray their inner feelings through their behaviors. Whether a child is worried about a lost toy or sad after losing their favorite game, their behaviors change with their emotions. However, repetitive disruptive behaviors can be a sign of something else.
In children, a distressed mental state can manifest through various signs. Constant aggressiveness, excessive irritability, and overreaction may indicate anxiety or social discomfort. Similarly, behaviors like bullying, arguing, acting out, or being defensive might represent the inner turmoil of your child. Noticing these behaviors is crucial for your child’s health.
Try to connect with your child. Speak with them regarding their behaviors and guide them. Taking your child to an LPCC can also help. Clinical counselors excel in dealing with disruptive behaviors and can help your child relax. They can help your child find better ways to express their feeling and adapt to change.
Disruptions in habits:
As children grow and learn, they pick up habits from their peers, and their interest change with their environment. However, a sudden change in regular patterns can be alarming for parents.
A significant shift in diet and sleep patterns suggests a mental illness. Like adults, children also suffer from depression. In children, depression manifests as excessive worrying and crying. Additionally, children lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and cannot socialize with family and friends. Children suffering from extreme sadness may eat a lot or nothing at all and often have poor hygiene. Their sleep patterns are also deranged; they may sleep for hours or not at all. Thus, parents should seek help if their child has irregular bed hours, unhealthy eating habits, or persistent low mood.
Our physical health is dependent upon our mental health. With declining mental health, your physical health will surely go downhill. Similar is the case with children.
Children often pick up minor ailments from school and end up sick now and then. However, frequent headaches, stomach issues, or fatigue can be a symptom of deteriorating mental and physical health. With a depressed or anxious mind, a child’s body stays in a state of constant stress that negatively affects their health. Their body’s normal functioning and immune system may suffer due to a mental illness, and they show symptoms of weakness.
Parents should visit the doctor if such symptoms persist. An inability to identify a particular physical ailment suggests that the child requires a mental check-up.
A child’s academic performance holds significant value in a lot of families. Every parent wishes to see their child excel in curricular and extra-curricular activities. However, parents often rebuke an underperforming child without identifying the cause.
Children suffering from mental distress may not be able to perform as effectively as their peers. They face trouble focusing and often seem distracted. Due to persistent anxiety and a preoccupied brain, they cannot retain information for extended periods and lose interest in what they are doing. Resultantly, their grades and performance suffer.
Parents should provide an open space for their children to discuss their grades and performance. They should stay in touch with the teacher regarding their child’s progress. In case of no improvement, try to visit a therapist as they can assess the child’s mental condition and help accordingly.
We all want some downtime to ourselves, even our kids. School routines, family meetups, and the world, in general, can tire out a kid. Resultantly, they take refuge in their room. However, how long they stay inside can tell a lot about their current emotional condition.
Social isolation manifests as withdrawing from others and losing all social contact. It begins at home; children prefer to stay cooped up in their rooms and avoid contact with their parents. Afterward, they try to escape plans that include social interactions like birthdays, dinners, or other social activities. Eventually, their friendships and interpersonal relationships suffer, and the child becomes lonely.
As parents, try to stay aware of how much alone time your child has. Notice if they are actively participating in social activities are not. Observe changes in personality and routine. If you suspect isolation, try to reach out to a professional to help your child socialize again.
Constantly seeking information on death, murder, or suicide is alarming. Children who idealize death or often talk about dying require immediate help. Such children may also show signs of self-harm. Pulling out hair, repeatedly banging their head on hard surfaces, or pricking their skin with fingernails are all signs of self-harm. Due to emotional and social distress, children indulge in self-destructive behaviors or conversations. Feeling lonely, losing hope, and having constant guilt can lead to suicidal thoughts in children of all ages.
Parents should reach out to suicidal helplines and mental health counselors as soon as possible. They should monitor their child’s behavior and keep them company constantly.
Children face the world in their way. Each child is unique, and the world around them affects them differently from others. Understanding your child is crucial. By identifying your child’s needs, behaviors, and emotions, you can provide the help your little one requires. Observing signs of distress and allowing children to talk with professionals can help your child adapt and live a stress-free life.