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If Your Child Has Difficulty Adjusting

Nov 30, 2008
Agitated behavior such as crying, sleep disturbances and nightmares, and repeated episodes of sadness are signs that your child may be having difficulty coping with stress.

Symptoms that your child may be having difficulty adjusting

It is extremely difficult to cope with stressful situations that last for a long time. Children have less ability to cope with stress because of their limited life experiences. Some symptoms that your child may be having difficulty adjusting include:

  • Agitated behavior, such as crying or thumb sucking

  • Disturbed bodily functions, such as eating, sleeping, or elimination

  • Separation anxiety, such as clinging, refusing to sleep alone, or wanting to be held constantly

  • Sleep disturbances and nightmares

  • Regression in toilet training, dressing, or self-feeding skill. For instance, a child who is potty trained may suddenly begin having accidents. 

  • Withdrawal from family or friends 

  • Decreased self-confidence

  • Makes negative comments about self

  • Aggression, both verbal and physical

  • Repeated episodes of sadness

  • Continual acting out of traumatic events in play

  • Concentration difficulties

  • Behavior changes (the quiet child may become frantic and the energetic child may become lethargic)

  • Physical ailments, such as headaches, stomachaches, or dizziness

  • Increased dependence on parents or caregivers

  • Resentment of unfairness of situation, blaming

  • Difficulty with peers

  • Unrealistic expectations of self and others

  • Concern with body image

  • Frustration that produces rebellion

  • Avoidance and denial to avoid addressing an issue

  • Reluctance to trust or open self to others

  • Feelings of hopelessness, meaningless of life

  • Depression

  • Lowered impulse control, easily frustrated

  • Drug and alcohol abuse

Any unusual, persistent behavior should be evaluated by a qualified mental health professional. It is often very beneficial to seek professional care when you are concerned or unsure about what do next. If one or more of these behaviors persists over a long period of time, and to a marked degree, professional help may be needed.

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