Are we failing our children?

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Before I sign off I thought I’d reproduce the advice Tanya Byron produced in the Times on ‘warning signs’, although I think there should be an element of common sense applied to it. No one sign indicates your child is in crisis. An adolescent is always going to throw up challenges and you must be comfortable setting rules and boundaries. However, it may be of some help, with things you may not have considered. I think the most important thing to remember is to know your child and trust your instincts. Don’t wait for things to ‘sort themselves out.’ Sometimes, even when a child doesn’t want to talk or reacts negatively to inquiry, they care that you care and it is often the first step on the path to dialogue. As Byron is at pains to point out, there is no shame in mental health. She recommends the website as a useful place to ensure that any diagnosis offered for a child matches up to the evidence offered.

• A decrease in enjoyment and time spent with friends and social groups.
• Loss of interest in favourite pastimes
• Excessive isolation or disobedience
• Hitting or bullying other children
• Wearing clothes to hide parts of their body
• Odd body movements
• Excessive time spent on activity, for example screen time or digital activity
• Aggression and mood swings that are out of character
• Unexpected weeping
• Paranoia and excessive secrecy
• Excessive anxiety and seeking constant reassurance
• Seeing or hearing things that other don’t see or hear
• Being overly suspicious of others

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