5 Signs Your Kids Can Benefit From Therapy

5 Signs Your Kids Can Benefit From Therapy

Between working, taking care of your family and even going back to school, it can be difficult to find opportunities to spend time with your children. The less time you spend with them, the less likely you are to notice signs your children could benefit from therapy. Even people enrolled in fields of study as advanced as forensic psychology graduate programs can overlook basic signs in their children. If something feels off, trust your instincts. Watch for these five signs:

Social Withdrawal

If your family doesn’t often make time to spend together, it is difficult to notice when a child is becoming withdrawn. However, do your best to monitor your child’s behavior. If they spend most of their time in their room playing games or surfing the Internet, they’ve isolated themselves from friends and family.

While it’s true some children are naturally shy and withdrawn, if they seem otherwise dejected or it’s a new behavior, you should be especially concerned. If they used to enjoy going out with friends but no longer seem to, take note: Your child is in danger of isolating themselves. That could be the result of depression, anxiety or another mental illness.

Mood Swings

A depressed or anxious child doesn’t always seem sad or nervous. Mood swings are a common sign of many mental illnesses. While it’s true teenagers particularly experience mood swings, watch out for consistent mood swings or mood swings that extend to school and peers.

One moment, your child may seem inordinately angry, and the next they could seem sad or withdrawn. A child could seem ecstatic one moment and utterly hopeless the next. A happy-to-sad or sad-to-happy mood swing is often indicative of bipolar disorder.

Loss of Interest

A loss of interest in schoolwork could signify a learning or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but a loss of interest in fun activities or hobbies could mean depression or anxiety. If your child is lethargic and is not interested in doing things that were once enjoyable — sports, games, going to the movies — it’s time to sit down and talk with them. They may have grown tired of a hobby they used to love, but they should still find other activities enjoyable. If they explain they don’t feel like doing fun things at all or there’s no point in trying to have fun, make an appointment with a therapist.

Preoccupation

A child’s peers may encourage them to care for their appearance, but when your child is overly preoccupied with it, has a warped sense of appearance or exhibits low self-esteem, it could be a sign your child is suffering from mental illnesses like depression, anxiety or eating disorders. When telling your child they’re beautiful isn’t enough to make any impact, a deeper preoccupation is to blame.

Preoccupation doesn’t always have to with appearance. Another mental illness to watch out for in kids is obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD. This could lead a child to become overly preoccupied with illness and death, order and cleanliness, repetitive behaviors, hoarding and other obsessions.

Sudden Drop in Grades

Sometimes the earliest sign a child could benefit from therapy isn’t as dramatic as isolation or mood swings. A sudden drop in grades could be the first clue. If your child’s grades slip, talk to them and to their teachers immediately. Ask if your child is having difficulty learning — a learning disability or ADHD may be the reason — or if your child is struggling with bullying or feelings of worthlessness.

Five signs that may indicate your kids could benefit from therapy are social withdrawal or isolation, mood swings, less interest in previously enjoyed activities, a preoccupation with appearance or illnesses and a sudden drop in grades. However, the signs are not limited to these five alone. Generally, if you notice any change in your child’s behavior, tell your children’s doctor as soon as possible. Let them refer your child to therapy if necessary.

 About the Author: Nikita Jones is a contributing writer and middle school counselor. She recommends any parents who notices a change in a child’s behavior seek out the reason as soon as possible.

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