6 Signs That Your Child's Mental Health is Deteriorating
Today, mental health problems are a prevalent condition amongst kids and teenagers. Mentalhealth.org states that 10% of kids and preteens (5–16 years old) have clinically diagnosable mental health issues.
According to WHO, at least one in every seven teenagers between the ages of ten to nineteen went through a mental health crisis phase. This amounts to over 14% of the global population.
Furthermore, 70% of mental health issues start in childhood or adolescence. Because of this, early detection and management is crucial and can result in a better quality of life ahead.
6 Signs That Your Child's Mental Health is Deteriorating
As a parent, it's your responsibility to give your child the time and attention they need, and all parents must comprehend the following six facts about kids' and teens' mental health deterioration:
1. Constant Disobedience or Aggression
This refers to a pattern of angry or irritated mood, argumentative or rebellious conduct, and/or spitefulness that lasts for at least six months. It can come up in numerous circumstances and happens almost at least once a week.
The frequent loss of temper and the propensity to get upset or resentful are examples of anger and irritable mood. Rules-breaking, persistently defying authority, the purposeful annoyance of others, and/or blaming others for errors or poor behavior are all examples of something they are not happy about in their life, which triggers them constantly.
2. Decline in Study Performance
Psychological symptoms, such as emotional, social, and behavioral issues, can affect a kid's ability to operate in a variety of spheres of life, including academic achievement and performance in the classroom.
For instance, it has been repeatedly demonstrated that kids who display high levels of disinterest due to distraction and restlessness get poor grades, low scores on reading and math standardized tests, and higher rates of grade retention.
Additionally, behavioral issues and violent behaviors have been linked in a significant way to academic underperformance and high school dropout.
3. Persistent Difficulty Falling Asleep
Children who typically don't get enough sleep—or sleep of high quality—are a result of persistent sleep issues or insomnia.
This can be triggered for multiple reasons, like—not sleeping in time, overeating junk, taking caffeine-rich foods right before bed, etc.
But if your child has been showing insomnia symptoms for over three months, it's high time to consult your healthcare expert.
Additionally, if your child constantly struggles with sleep, they may experience daytime issues such as disruptive behavior, poor memory, difficulty concentrating or following instructions and increased daytime lethargy.
4. Constant Feelings of Worthlessness, Anxiety, Emptiness, Irritability, and/or Hopelessness
A prolonged sense of sadness and loss of interest are indicators of depression, a psychological disturbance. Depression in young children might appear as sadness, impatience, loss of self-control, anxiety, aches, pains, or unwillingness to attend school.
Teens may experience symptoms such as sadness, irritability, feeling upset and unworthy, anger, poor performance or poor attendance at school, feeling misunderstood and overly sensitive, using alcohol or drugs, eating junk foods excessively, engaging in self-harm, losing interest in regular activities, and avoiding social interaction.
5. Change in Appetite
How your child is eating may change along with their mental health symptoms, including weariness and a general loss of happiness in life.
While most young children and preteens experience loss of appetite as a typical mental health symptom, some youngsters may overeat, especially junk food, due to emotions of grief or worthlessness.
Depression symptoms can also result in emotional eating. Emotional eating is a regular occurrence in which a kid may feel the need to eat anything without any actual appetite.
6. Suicidal Thoughts
Children and teenagers contemplating suicide could say things such as, "I wish I was dead," or "I won't be a bother for you much longer." Withdrawal from friends, family, and routine activities can also indicate suicidal ideation.
Most kids and teenagers who attempt suicide have a severe mental health condition, usually clinical depression.
Younger kids commonly attempt suicide in the heat of the moment. They could be associated with emotions like sadness, confusion, rage, or facing challenges in concentration.
Whereas, teenagers' sentiments of stress, self-doubt, pressure to succeed, financial insecurity, disappointment, and grief may be linked to suicide attempts. Suicide may appear to be the answer to issues for some teenagers.
Suicidal thoughts and depression are both treatable mental diseases. The kid or adolescent's ailment must be identified, diagnosed, and properly treated using a thorough treatment plan.
For Parents: 6 Tips to Learn the Root Cause & Build a Coping Mechanism
Nowadays, parents forget to teach their kids the value of being in touch with their emotions because they are too busy preparing them—how to earn the best grades, take part in extracurricular activities, and attend music and dance classes after school.
Trying to distinguish between signs of a mental disorder and everyday problems that all children occasionally face can be challenging for parents. As parents, you can make conclusions about what to do based on the below-listed key observations and tips:
Find out how your child is copingwith different emotions and determining the source of their stress should be your first focus as a parent.
- Never dismiss your child's emotions or feelings as insignificant; instead, put yourself in their position to appreciate the pressure they are under.
- Talk to your child about your primary fears, anxieties, and challenges. (Keep it brief and do not share everything at once.)
- Listen to their response for at least five minutes before you pass any comment; this nourishes them with trust, and they will open up more.
- Don't be judgemental or throw tantrums. Every child is prone to make silly mistakes, but as parents, it's your responsibility to guide them. Inform your child that you will work through these challenging situations with them. No matter what (even if your child has done something wrong).
- Asking for and accepting help may benefit you and your child, so don't be scared to do so.
An essential parenting skill is knowing when your child needs assistance. Attempting to control your child's behavior or adequately address their emotions can occasionally be overwhelming or stressful.
Make an appointment to speak with a qualified professional you trust about your concerns and how to help your child with severe mental health issues.
The Final Note
First and foremost, you should work to improve your child's self-esteem. As a parent, you must show your kids how to build their own self-esteem.
A balanced diet, a relaxing night's sleep, and a regular exercise routine also benefit your child's mental and physical health.
Next, take proactive measures to ensure your child's mental wellness.
Be on the lookout for attention-related behavioral problems, difficulty sitting still, and difficulties focusing on everyday tasks.
If you are unable to help your child, speak with a child's psychologist or counselor, especially if you notice indicators of severe disturbed mental health symptoms for more than three to six months.
Remember that early action and intervention may be the key to addressing your child's issues as effectively as possible. Plus, this will prevent further deterioration of mental health.