This episode is timely and needed as we face an uncertain world with accelerated issues of anxiety and concern. As parents we need to be aware that our children have feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness that they need to deal with. In today’s episode we cover some common warning signs and discuss how to respond. You can also access further information at fulleryouthinstitute.org/anxiousworld.
With the help of a licensed professional counselor, we identified four common categories of warning signs:
- What they say. We need to watch for repeated comments about stress, overwhelmedness, busy-ness, anxiety, depression. We should also watch for patterns of upset stomach, headaches, fatigue, insomnia. If there are sudden, dramatic changes in performance or personality. These signs should all trigger us to ask some questions and dig further.
- Irregular responses. If we see habits of overreaction, fixation, refusal, extreme embarrassment or shyness, indecisiveness, these can be signs of deeper concern.
- Extreme emotions. Perfectionism, outbursts, impatience, being “on edge” are also signs of potential underlying issues.
- Unhealthy habits. Addictive or obsessive behaviors, delays in development, unhealthy coping skills.
If we see any of these or combinations of these, we don’t have to immediately panic, but we should take note and try to dig further. Here’s some ideas of how to respond:
- Assess the level of seriousness and get the appropriate help.
- Assure them that you will be with them through the process.
- Ask them deeper questions on what they are feeling and what they need.
- Support healthy habits.
In conclusion, we urge you as parents to evaluate these signs and have these conversations with your child. We also urge you to seek help if you think there are deeper issues going on. Reach out to a pastor, counselor, or a professional if you think you need further evaluation or advice. If you have serious concerns you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or suicidepreventionlifeline.org.