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Early Warning Signs

At Alta Behavioral Healthcare we’ve been screening and assessing children, adolescents and young adults for many years. You’d think we’d have it all figured out by now! Actually, we’re pretty good at identifying early warning signs of an emotional problem. But we’ll never measure up to the most talented screeners of them all — parents!

You see, parents have something that we professionals don’t have — a keen sixth sense and an intimate understanding of their children. They know what is typical for their children, they know when something is askew, and they’re tuned in to their children’s moods.

But like some musical instruments, sometimes parents’ sensitivity to these things is out of tune. There could be many reasons for this, such as fatigue, other worries or pressures at work or school. Whatever the reason, sometimes parents and caregivers can benefit from some reminders to help get back in tune with their children.

Early warnings signs don’t mean there is something wrong with your child. Actually, they’re very much like yellow traffic lights — they simply mean proceed with caution or pay close attention.

So, what are some early warning signs that may indicate you need to pay closer attention to your child’s emotional health? Here are some things to look out for:

  • Grades are sliding from what they typically are
  • School attendance or avoidance is beginning to be a problem
  • Discipline problems are starting to occur in school or at home
  • Changes in sleep, appetite or socialization with others become evident

These are just a handful of some of the more common early warning signs of a possible emotional issue. There are certainly many others, but the commonality among all of them is a change in what is typical for your child. These simple reminders might be all that’s needed to help you zero on your child’s emotions like a fine-tuned instrument.

If you’re seeing any of these early warning signs, talk to your child — or bring them to a behavioral health professional for a complete assessment.