Taking Care of an Ill Loved One

Knowing If Your Middle Schooler Needs Mental Health Counseling: Tips For You

When you have a child going through middle school, you may find yourself on a constant roller coaster of changing tastes, opinions, and emotions right along with your child. However, it can be very difficult to tell when your child's mood swings, sullenness, and other adolescent behaviors are just typical of middle school adolescence and when they are something more that could require mental health counseling. Get to know some of the signs that your middle school child is in need of the assistance of a mental health counselor so that you can be sure that you are taking the best possible care of your child at all times.

Their Anger Is Destructive Or Long-Lasting

Most children in middle school go through periods of being irrationally angry with their parents, siblings, or friends for seemingly no reason. However, there is a big difference between normal adolescent anger and the type that represents a possible mental health problem.

Anger that lasts for prolonged periods of time (several days or weeks on end of constant anger) could be a sign of a serious problem. Aggression and anger are both signs of depression and anxiety (or a combination thereof). It could also be a sign of borderline personality disorder or other mental health issues.

Additionally, if they become particularly destructive when they are angry, such as slamming doors, throwing objects, or breaking things, you may have a child who needs some mental health assistance for anger management. It can be difficult sometimes for adolescents to handle all of the hormonal changes they are going through and they may lose control of their anger. A mental health counselor can help them learn to control and channel those emotions into productive rather than destructive activities.

Your Child Shows Signs Of Self-Injury Or Lack Of Self-Regard

One of the most troublesome issues that some children begin to develop in middle school is a tendency towards self-injury (often referred to as cutting or self-mutilation). Again, because emotions run so strong during adolescence, children can become overwhelmed and not know how to deal with everything they are feeling, turning to cutting or other methods of inflicting physical injury or pain as a way to release their emotions.

Signs that your child is injuring themselves can include marks or scars on their arms and legs, missing hair (some children pull their hair out when stressed or upset), wearing long-sleeved clothing and refusing to roll up their sleeves or change into weather-appropriate clothes, and isolating themselves in their room or bathroom for long periods of time.

Sometimes, a child will turn to reckless behavior that shows little self-regard rather than intentionally injuring themselves. These behaviors would be things like risk-taking behavior like theft, cutting class, smoking or experimenting with illegal drugs, or reckless sexual behavior. Whether your child is injuring themselves or being reckless in their behaviors and actions, you should definitely take them to a mental health counseling facility as soon as possible to help stop their dangerous behaviors.

Now that you know a few of the signs that your middle school child is in need of mental health counseling, you can be sure that your child makes it through middle school as healthy and happy as possible.

For a mental health counselor, contact an office such as Lincoln Psychiatric Group.