Posted on: 30 April 2015Share
Any time your family is facing some significant changes, from divorce to a major move, kids may have a hard time adjusting. Often, balanced support from the family unit is sufficient to help your child get through this process, but sometimes you need more professional intervention. As a parent, it can be hard to tell where that line is. Here are some warning signs to watch for that may indicate that you need the help of a family counselor.
Prolonged or Persistent Feelings of Sadness
If your child has seemed sad for the last few weeks and nothing you've done is helping, it may mean that you need some intervention from a family counselor. To determine if your child's sadness is severe enough to need professional support, make an effort to entertain him or her. If all of your suggestions are met with indifference or tears, that's an indication that he or she is having a hard time dealing with emotions and may need help.
Obsession with the Past
Kids who are not adapting well to change will often remain focused on the past. If your child is spending a lot of time talking about past events before this change occurred, it may be that he or she is having a hard time dealing with what's changed. For example, if you've recently moved, your child may seem obsessed with things that happened in your old house. If this focus on the past is interfering with your child's ability to successfully face the current time, that's a sure sign that you need to talk to a family counselor for help.
Withdrawn and Distant Behaviors
When kids are struggling emotionally, they will often withdraw from their friends and family. Spending time alone is easier, because he or she doesn't have to try to keep up appearances in any kind of company that way. If your child is spending more time behind closed doors and alone than out with friends or in the main living area with you, it may be an indication that he or she is having trouble dealing with the changes.
Loss of Focus
Sometimes, the emotional upheaval and difficulties of dealing with change can actually interfere with your child's ability to focus and concentrate. If your child seems to suddenly be distracted or is having trouble following directions, it could be an indication of an underlying emotional struggle in dealing with the changes in the family.
Marked Changes in Daily Routines
Emotional distress can interfere with your child's daily routines. If you've noticed that he or she isn't sleeping well, is awake very early in the morning or is so fatigued that getting up in the morning is a struggle, that may be a sign of significant difficulties with change. You may even notice that your child's diet has changed or there's been a sudden change in appetite. All of these things are warning signs that you shouldn't ignore.
Reverting to Childish Behaviors
For younger children, one of the most common things that occur with significant emotional distress is a reversion back to early childhood behavior. If your toilet-trained preschooler or kindergartener is suddenly having accidents or you're struggling with a return to thumb-sucking, that's an indication that your child is struggling with the turmoil.
Anger and Temper Tantrums
Many young children lack the verbal capacity to express themselves clearly when they're struggling to deal appropriately with change. As a result, those emotions and difficulties can manifest as anger and temper tantrums. If you're struggling with outbursts and fighting all of a sudden, it may mean that your child is having a hard time processing something that's happening.
As you can see, there are many indications of emotional struggles in children. If your family is in the midst of a major change and you start seeing any signs like this, you should talk with a local family counseling center for support. This can help your child learn coping tools that will ease the anxiety and stress.