I wish I would have known what I know now, when my kids were young. Tiffany has learned in recent years that she fights anxiety and depression and has for many years. Of course, I feel horrible that I was oblivious and that she suffered so much.
I asked her how I can help others. We talked about it a bit and have some ideas for future help but I felt the need to bring this topic up now. I am not a very observant person. I play hidden object games to help me in this area but I’m not sure it is helping. Any way, she said what she recommends is just simply observing your child.
Observe your child
Watch them. See how they react under different situations, different times of day, after eating different foods. Even take notes to refer to later. Observe how they act or what they do in social situations, as well as before and after being social. Do certain social situations make them nervous or anxious? Do they get ‘drained’ by being with certain people or all people? Do they need to recharge upon leaving a social situation? And for girls, as they approach puberty, you will need to observe them over longer periods of time, looking for hormonal cues.
After taking time to really see your child, you can ask questions–kindly, inquisitively–be sure they understand that there are no right or wrong answers and that you really care about them and their answers. Are they in physical pain? Is it more than growing pains? Do they sit in a way that causes pain?
Gently Ask Questions
If your child is old enough, consider having him/her keep a journal, noting their feelings and any physical symptoms. Keeping a food diary can be a good idea. Then ask your child to share it or some of it with you, so that you can better understand them and what they are dealing with, as well as hopefully provide some insights or help in some way.
Noticing trends of behavior can help you help your child.
Please! Take some time (a week or so), pray about and for your child, and really observe him/her. I wish someone had advised me to do this; maybe I could have helped Tiffany deal with anxiety and depression earlier in her life.
Until next time, God bless,