Children go through different stages in their life that can alter how they perceive and interact with the world. As parents, it is vital to monitor your child’s behaviour as well as their daily activities; this enables us to decode what paths they are headed on. When it is habitual as a parent to only pay attention towards punishments and confining oneself to a standard management of matters, there is a good chance that your child may turn further problematic; it is essential to understand the root cause and identify the core of the problem.
Here are some of the common signs to watch out for; it is important to identify these and take correct measures to guide your child back on a positive path:
If your child is getting lower than the normal grades, something is wrong somewhere. It could be a learning infirmity, laziness, need for more attention, or social or domestic issues. It could also be a sign of depression. Getting to the core of the matter is important than just punishing your child or overburdening them with your expectations of better grades.
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Everyone experiences the occasional change in moods at different phases of their life. Teenagers with fluctuating hormones, in particular, are more prone to ups and downs. The key here is to regulate if highs and lows are too extreme, or if your child quickly shifts from Euphoria to Depression seemingly without a cause. Be empathetic and calm with your child. Try to get your child to speak up about what they are truly experiencing at the moment.
When you find out that they have been hiding something, even if it seems to be insignificant at that point, it is an indication that this can further lead to suspicious behaviour. They are creating a habit of secrecy and it either says they are fine with bad behaviour or they don’t trust you. Each of these is dangerous and indicates that parent-child communication is under threat (and vice-versa)
Sudden Change of Friends
Making new friends is a good thing, but a red flag is when they stop spending time with one group and start hanging out with a totally new group of people. It is important to find out what attracted them to the new group, and what caused them to stop hanging out with their former friends. Relationships are intricate and young children need their parents to help in directing them towards healthy relationships and hence being, consultant aware of your child’s friend circle and significant others in their zone of influencer is of great importance.
Also read: Ways to Deal with your Child's Anger
Puberty will surely bring some personality changes, but keep an eye on it. When a generally upbeat kid becomes more doubtful, or an outgoing kid becomes quieter, there is something driving the negative change. Maybe they are doing things they know you wouldn’t approve of or there can be some other reason. Gently ask them questions about the changing world around them. You can also share your experience when you were at their age, and make them feel that they are not alone. Empower them to be fully aware of their strength & weaknesses gradually addressing their limitations too.
Communicate as much as possible with your children and make a safe place for your children as they try to navigate life. Try and win their confidence & trust, understanding that you mean well for them wean off from their dependence of social media, thereby inculcating healthy hobbies, over and better management of the challenges of the real world.
Inputs by, Dr Fabian Almeida Consultant Psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital Kalyan