Daniel Silva Gaxiola from Unsplash.com
Risky behaviors-drug or alcohol use, excessive screen use, sexting, cutting, food restriction etc..
Moodiness and irritability
Being secretive or shut down, pushing you away
Time spent in front of the screen
As parents, we have been there, but it has been awhile and there are challenges our kids face, we didn’t! It is so hard to have perspective about our own children. They are our hearts walking outside our bodies and stepping back to see the wider picture is TOUGH!
But it is natural to be concerned when we are seeing some of the above behaviors. SO, HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHAT IS NORMAL AND WHAT IS NOT?
Each child has his or her own continuum. He or she is wired a bit differently than everyone else. So, one child’s behavior may seem intense for him or her, but compared to a different child, it may not be that shocking.
I am going to first say, it is complicated to assess whether a child’s behavior is abnormal, so I strongly suggest that you go with your GUT. YOU KNOW YOUR CHILD BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE.
So, if you are spending huge amounts of time:
• Comparing your child to your friends’ children,
• Researching online to determine whether you child’s behavior is abnormal,
• Spinning that mind-spin wheel inside your head constantly so you are losing sleep and having a difficult time enjoying the connection you DO have with your tween or teen.
STOP and seek help! If you are parenting from a place of fear, your will NOT be able to connect with the child who is in front of you!
However, I get that it is helpful to have some guidance, so I will give you some high-level tips to consider when deciding to seek help:
• Has this behavior started suddenly?
• Has your child’s friend group changed recently?
• Is this behavior getting in the way of school performance? Are your child’s grades suddenly being affected?
• Is your child isolating? Has he or she suddenly started refusing to get involved in extra- curricular activities?
• Have certain behaviors persisted even though you feel you have tried EVERYTHING?
• Has your child lost interest in the things he or she used to enjoy doing and has not replaced these interests with others?
• Is your child having a lot of trouble sleeping?
• Has there been a recent loss of appetite and weight loss or sudden weight gain?
• Have you suddenly been seeing excessive mood swings that are unusual for your child and you are concerned about?
Finally, I can’t emphasize this enough, PLEASE do not worry about crying wolf. You do not need to, clinically, assess your own child. It is okay to default to seeking help if, in your core, you believe something is not right—even if you don’t know what it is!
If you would like to talk to me about your child off line, I do offer free strategy consults over the phone. Feel free to grab a spot on my schedule! Go to: http://meetme.so/SharonBurris-Brown
If you would like to join my FREE Facebook group: Raising Empowered Tweens and Teens for the 21st Century, please click here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/217379022195244/