We see obvious candidates for psychological help all the time in the media. We’re inundated with images of serial killers or schizophrenics who desperately need mental help, and we think to ourselves: “Good, I’m glad they’re getting help.”
But what about you and your family? Are you getting the help you need? The truth is, we can all stand to see a psychologist. Our problems may not be as life-and-death as the patients we see on television, but they’re just as real. Sometimes, we need help getting through them just the same.
Even children need a little help once in a while. In fact, bringing your child to a psychologist can encourage development of healthy coping mechanisms for later use in life. But sometimes life brings you lemons, and your child isn’t making lemonade the way they should be. It’s then that you should seriously consider bringing your child to a psychologist.
A child psychologist will give your child or teen a safe space to talk about anything that’s bothering them, from the big to the little things. With their expert knowledge of the adolescent psyche, a child psychologist can offer advice and a sympathy in a way that fickle children will actually be receptive to.
Losing Weight or Anxiety About Gaining Weight
Eating disorders in young children are actually more common than you might think. Young children often experiment with their own tastes. They will voluntarily restrict foods from their diet and become picky eaters. They’re setting boundaries while simultaneously testing yours. And this is natural!
This becomes unnatural, however, when you see drastic reduction in weight or appetite. Children, young girls especially, are surrounded by depictions of idealized human forms which can negatively affect their body images. This can manifest itself in the form of eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia.
It’s especially important for growing children to get proper nutrition. A lack of nutrients and vitamins can negatively impact their growth and have lifelong effects. Look out for too much focus on their weight and looks. Have frank and sympathetic conversations with your children about body image before an image problem has the chance to take root.
Regression in the behavior of maturing children should alarm every parent. Once a child is potty-trained or outgrows thumb-sucking, there is no reason for the child to return to those behaviors. In fact, many children are eager to be seen as more “adult” and will actively shirk activities and things that associate them with “babies.”
If your child has returned to performing behaviors that they had previously outgrown, then you should be concerned about possible sexual abuse. It is a horrifying thought to any parent, but it is one you ought to be vigilant of. Regression alone is not necessarily indicative of abuse, so look for pairing with other behaviors such as anxiety or increased discussion of overtly sexual or inappropriate topics.
Impulsivity or Inattention
When your child can’t be relied on to sit still for normal periods of time, or is unusually impulsive, consider having them screened for ADHD. The usual age of ADHD onset is seven-years-old. ADHD affects around 2 million children across the United States. However, because children living with ADHD tend to be as socially adept as other children, if not moreso, they often fly under the radar of authority figures like teachers, who may be more concerned with socially inept students.
Blurting out answers before hearing the entirety of a question or difficulty following through are just a few other ADHD symptoms to keep an eye on. Some children just have a flighty personality or tend to be impulsive when they are excited or surrounded by peers they want to impress, so keep a record of these behaviors over time to chart the most reliable course of treatment.
Aversion to Social Activity
Older children and teens may have a tendency to avoid social situations in favor of video games or some good ol’ fashion brooding, but young children should be hungry for social interaction. If your child shows distress at being introduced to social situations or is generally shut down when faced with other people, it’s time to call a mental health professional.
Social anxiety disorders can take many forms and not all require medical treatment. It is possible that your child simply needs to be shown different coping mechanisms by a professional versed in the subject of adolescent anxiety. There could be an underlying issue unrelated to an anxiety disorder, however. Children that become introverted over time may be experiencing or may have already experienced a trauma described earlier on this list, like sexual abuse or disordered eating. Have a frank (and age appropriate) conversation with your child that relays your concerns without being accusatory or overly panicked. Your first priority is their mental health, and you don’t want to put your stress and fears unto them!
About Author: Albert Cooper is a professional blogger and SEO adviser. You can search his content from Google to using the keywords “author Albert Cooper”. He is also a freelance content adviser and writer for History and Headlines, Food N Health, Business Mag, and several other blogs. You can contact him through Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram. Or https://about.me/albertcooper.