Seven Mental Health warning signs to watch for in your kids

WORRYING about your kids is only natural, but it can be hard sometimes to know what’s really going on with them.

No matter how close you are, there will probably be times when they don’t seem to want to open up to you, or you’re not spending as much time together as a family as usual.

Of course, you’re not meant to be in your child’s pocket all the time, but trust your instincts – if your child seems low or you’re worried about their mental health, follow your gut.

 

Not sure what signs to look for?

Dr Melinda Rees, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Chief Commercial Officer at mental health support platform Psyomics – who is mum to three teenagers herself – explains…

 

1. They’re socially withdrawing

“If you notice your child spending less time with friends and family members and more time alone, this could be a warning sign – especially if they previously had a number of close friends who they happily spent time with,” says Melinda.

Website Designing/Management/Social Media – Iyanu Victor

“Going for a walk with your child, or sitting together in the front seats of a car, while giving them a lift somewhere, are often good places to gently start a conversation.”

 

2. They’re always tired

Everyone fancies a lie-in every now and again, but keep an eye on how tired your child is.

“It’s normal for teens to want to stay up late and sleep in, but if your child seems to be mostly exhausted, really struggles to wake up, and is too tired to participate in activities they used to enjoy, this is a warning sign,” says Melinda.

Certified French Tutor in Nigeria with Years of Experience – Ms Blessing Akpan

“Empathising with their struggle, rather than confronting them will help them feel you are safer to confide in.”

 

3. They’re constantly online

“Most teenagers now conduct the majority of their social interaction online, using apps like TikTok, Snapchat, BeReal and Instagram,” explains Melinda.

“But spending multiple hours each day on these platforms can warp young people’s understanding of the reality of life and relationships.

“If your child appears distressed or upset after spending time on their phone, but refuses to be separated from it, the content they are consuming could be negatively impacting their mental health.

“There are many guides available online to support social media breaks.”

Check your child’s phone, most have settings you can change to limit screen time.

 

4. They’re skipping family meals

Get everyone round the table. “Family meals are a great opportunity for everyone to share their news and talk about anything that’s worrying them,” says Melinda.

“If your child continually avoids these meals, it might be because they’re trying to hide something that they’re struggling with.

“It could also be a sign of an eating disorder – a common symptom of these conditions is making excuses not to eat in a group setting.

“See if your child would like to take a lead on producing some of a family meal, or even choosing the desert to help with engagement.”

 

5. They get angry or burst into tears unexpectedly

Is your child often on the verge of tears?

“Regular outbursts of anger or tears at the slightest trigger – or for seemingly no reason at all – are a sign that your child is struggling to process their emotions, or that they’re struggling to cope with certain thoughts and feelings,” says Melinda.

“Remember to allow enough time for you both to calm down before you approach them to follow-up.”

Seven Mental Health warning signs to watch for in your kids

6. They’ve started quitting hobbies

Be alert to your child opting out of things they used to love doing.

“If your child suddenly decides to quit their sports team, clubs or hobbies without explanation, especially if they previously loved going or have been taking part for years, parents take note, finding out what the trigger for quitting is key here,” says Melinda.

 

7. Their schoolwork is slipping

The odd bad mark might mean nothing but a lapse in concentration, but consistent changes in grades and behaviour at school could signal there’s an issue.

“Staying in regular contact with your child’s teachers is important for all parents, as they often notice changes in your child’s behaviour and attitude to schoolwork before anyone else,” says Melinda.

“If a teacher starts to express concerns about grades slipping or deadlines missed, the reason could be more than laziness or poor organisational skills.

“Ask them how they feel about what’s going on for them.”

 

Ella Walker

Follow Us On Telegram

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *