The following signs and symptoms may indicate that your child or adolescent is experiencing to much stress for him or her to handle. Look over the list and see how many you can identify. Not every sign of stress is as important as the next one. Whining in children can be irritating but can usually be corrected with a behavioral program in a short period of time. Adolescents who start to give their things away may be a signal of suicidal thoughts and will require a much more detailed intervention then whining. You will have to use your judgment when looking at the signs related to your child. If you are concerned, seek out a counselor to talk to about the signs of stress your child is showing. If the signs seem severe, ask your child about them and don't hesitate to set up a meeting for your child or adolescent with a trained counselor.
Exaggerates - tells fantastic stories Daydreams a lot of the time
Becomes dependent - clings to parent Disobedient
Mood swings - happy one minute, sad the next Threatens to run away or actually does
Withdraws - avoids old friends Appears sad much of the time
Refuses to eat Won't go to school
Aches and pains for no reason Loses interest in things used to like
Cruel to others or animals Uncooperative
Pulls own hair out Stares into space for long periods of time
Destructive Gives personal things away
Wets the bed Can't concentrate
Can't sit still Gets into many fights
Lies Yells or is generally very loud
Nail biting Curses
Steals Sets fires or loves to watch things burn
Suicidal thoughts Truancy
Thumb sucking Temper tantrums
Cries easily and often Performs compulsive behaviors
Often angry for no good reason Depressed
Eats too much Fearful
Nightmares Has new, strange behaviors
Talks to self Shy
Wants to sleep all the time Has recently become self-conscious
These signs and symptoms do not cover every stress sign possible. In addition, you will have to look to see if some of the signs are appropriate at certain ages. One thing to be sure to watch for is when a sign suddenly appears. A happy child who suddenly becomes sad is telling you something is not right. Sudden changes should always be suspect. People who are depressed and suicidal will, sometimes, become very happy just before attempting suicide.
Give your child a break. If you see something that worries you, talk to someone. Some problems can be solved easily while others will take time. The end result, however, will be a happier child or adolescent. This will make your job as a parent easier. It's a win - win situation.
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