Over the past few months, I’ve noticed that Alex is spending more and more time on his computer and playing video games in his room. At first he’d spend an hour at most chatting with his friends on Facebook or enjoying a new game. But now, as soon as he gets home from school, he runs upstairs and won’t come out until dinner. Even then, he’ll be in a rush to eat and go up to his room again. Sometimes he becomes defensive when we bring it up. Whenever I try to talk to him about it, he’ll tell me that “it’s not a big deal” with his eyes glued to his computer screen. His teachers have told me that he’s rarely turning in homework or doing well on tests. Alex is usually an A and B student, but his grades are starting to slip into C’s and D’s. My wife and I have a feeling that there might be something wrong that we’re not seeing.
Like all behaviors, social media and video game use exist on a continuum, with some use being “typical” and some representing a more serious problem. It can be hard knowing when to seek help from a professional to learn when behavior is “normal.” If you’re struggling with this question, it can never hurt to come in for a consultation and speak to one of our psychologists for information and to help feel confident about what’s going on.It can be hard knowing when to seek help from a professional to learn when behavior is “normal.” Click To Tweet
Learning more about the issue can help us become aware of what to look for while gaining more knowledge about how to help our children in the future. We’re here to help you and answer any questions you might have following your viewing of Screenagers.
What to Look Out For
Below are a few questions to ask yourself of whether your child’s difficulties are on the more typical end or the more problematic end of the spectrum. But keep in mind, seeing a psychologist does not have to be reserved for dealing with serious problems. We can all benefit from a sounding board, a place to look inward and reflect on our lives and choices, to discuss goals and refocus on what’s important.
With that said, we consider that problems to have reached a clinically significant level (in general terms) when the following occurs:
- When the issue is significantly interfering with day-to-day life:
- This might mean that a child is struggling to attend or do well in school, or an adult is doing poorly in their professional (work) life.
- The person may be sleeping too much or not enough, over- or under-eating, neglecting their hygiene or otherwise not taking care of themselves.
- When the person is experiencing distress or causing significant problems for those around him or herself:
- An individual who is experiencing a lot of anxiety or depressive symptoms (sadness, loss of interest in things that were previously enjoyable, fatigue, etc.) may feel very unhappy or even hopeless.
- Many children who are hyperactive or impulsive, or who otherwise “act out”, do not think that their behavior is problematic at all. However, parents, teachers, siblings and friends may find it very difficult to be around that person because of the level of disruption, argumentativeness or whirlwind of activity.
- When there is a sudden or gradual change in mood or behavior that has lasted more than a few days:
- While certainly not all, this can include increased drinking, drug use, shopping, gambling, gaming, eating, fasting or insomnia.
- When an individual is suffering physical ailments (e.g. headaches and stomachaches) that do not seem to have a physical cause:
- We sometimes unknowingly and physically show our stress due to a strong mind/body link.
- If things become life-threating in any way or if you are concerned that you or your loved one may be a danger to themselves or to others.
We’re Here to Help
When a loved one expresses unusual behaviors, finding the cause can be challenging. If your child has started acting out of character or if you feel the need to talk to a professional about whatever it is that’s bothering you, Rice Psychology Group wants to help. We will provide a comfortable and judgment-free environment to help you tackle the issue at hand. Get in touch with our psychologists in Tamp today to get started.When a loved one expresses unusual behaviors, finding the cause can be challenging. Click To Tweet