Significant life changes can often times trigger a change in your child’s behavior. The impact of life changes such as a death in the family, military deployment of a parent, a move, divorce, etc. can produce challenges that our kids have difficulty coping with.
In some cases, however, it's not as clear what's lead to a change in your child’s behavior. If you kiddo seems sulky, withdrawn, acting out, aggressive, anxious, tearful, etc. it might be a good time to have your child seen by a professional. These changes often seemingly come out of nowhere and can be alarming to parents.
Signs that a child may benefit from seeing a licensed therapist include:
developmental delay in speech, language, or toilet training
learning or attention problems (such as ADHD)
behavioral problems (such as excessive anger, acting out, bedwetting or eating disorders)
a significant drop in grades, particularly if your child normally maintains high grades
episodes of sadness, tearfulness, or depression
social withdrawal or isolation
being the victim of bullying or bullying other children
decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities
overly aggressive behavior (such as biting, kicking, or hitting)
sudden changes in appetite (particularly in adolescents)
insomnia or increased sleepiness
excessive school absenteeism or tardiness
mood swings (e.g., happy one minute, upset the next)
development of or an increase in physical complaints (such as headache, stomachache, or not feeling well) despite a normal physical exam by your doctor
management of a serious, acute, or chronic illness
signs of alcohol, drug, or other substance use (such as solvents or prescription drug abuse)
problems in transitions (following separation, divorce, or relocation)
therapy following sexual, physical, or emotional abuse or other traumatic events
Kids who aren't yet school-age could benefit from seeing a developmental or clinical psychologist if there's a significant delay in achieving developmental milestones such as walking, talking, and potty training, and if there are concerns regarding autism or other developmental disorders.