Children’s mental health is sometimes not given the weight it deserves. While most people are battling with stress, anxiety, and mental breakdown during Covid-19, chances are kids are suffering in silence. The social distancing, homeschooling, and work from home are robbing us of our peace and many important social aspects of life. People are battling with job losses, financial runaway, relationship issues, weight loss/gain, and the fear of contracting the virus.
Kids are also trying to cope with the parents who are adversely affected by the pandemic. They are certainly not immune from the stress of coping with social distancing. Spending time alone while their parents are busy working at home to make ends meet is enough to make them feel neglected.
This can impact children’s behavior, and before we could notice it, kids may be battling with depression. Parents can be unaware of when their children or teens are undergoing stress and emotional breakdown.
As a parent, you need to know how to identify behavioral changes with your kids and teens to help take the right measures. Ignoring signs of stress and depression only postpone days of trouble. It can ruin relationships with kids beyond repair.
Let’s explore some of potential mental health related concerns in children:
Loss of Appetite and Insomnia
If you discover a change in your child’s eating or sleeping habits, chances are the child might be battling with stress. Just like adults, children may lose appetite and have difficulties catching sleep when they get overwhelmed by emotional turmoil.
This can be triggered by what is happening in the family. Loss of job or income and sickness are a few example. Not spending time with them is also enough to feel as if they have been neglected. Try spending time with your kids and get to know the cause of their stress. If you can succeed getting them to talk about it, problems maybe half way solved.
Lack of Interest in Their Studies
Homeschooling can affect kids, making them lose interest in their studies. The feeling of wanting to connect with friends, enjoying creative arts, participating in games, and competitive work in a classroom setting can cause panic to school going kids making them develop a negative attitude toward studies.
Even the questions that are lingering on their minds about what the future holds for them and the worry of whether they will go back to school or not is enough to impact the energy they put on the books.
If you notice any changes or interest in studies, it is high time you gave your kids hope. Try to read and sing songs that give them hope. Plan a movie night together and turn your living room to theater for that moment. Declare a day as a gym/work out day, and again, the space you already have in your house is good enough for this if you are creative. Kareoke night works perfectly too. Give them counseling if you are skilled, or seek help from a professional.
A Lot of Complaints When Assigned Duties
Kids can be cheeky at times when they don’t want to complete tasks. The worse happens when they are on their teenage stage. But despite the changes taking place in their bodies, that can’t be a reason enough to neglect duties. The adolescent stage is the most delicate, and if the right measures aren’t taken, kids can become rebellious. If you can connect well, you can use this moment to build lasting bond with them.
The situation can get worse when they are showing signs of emotional and psychological concerns such as:
When kids are having challenges, they tend to interact less and spend most of the time alone. During this emotional and mental breakdown, they may become easily irritated, worried, and angry at themselves or everyone around them.
Try not to be harsh to them as doing so can ruin the situation.
Talking Negative about Themselves
Just like adults, kids can lose the purpose of life when everything around them is not friendly. As young as they may seem, emotional distress can get so overwhelming to the extent of speaking negative things about their life.
As a parent if you observe your child is saying negative things like “nothing is fun,” “nobody cares about me,” “you hate me,” “you love so and so,” “I want to be alone,” it is a clear indication that the child is stressed. Don’t ignore these signs especially if you are seeing patterns. They may trigger suicidal thoughts in the long-term if unattended.
Finding a Solution
As mentioned above, kids and teens express their emotional distress in different ways. As a parent or guardian, you should not sit back and watch these emotions take a toll on them. Do something to make them feel better. If need be, seek professional advice before things get out of hand.
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