Ask An Expert: My Son’s Mood And Behaviour Have Really Changed – What Can I Do?
Action for Children gives parents advice on how to deal with major mood changes in young people
28 January 2019
All Credits: PA
My eight-year-old son doesn’t seem to be his usual enthusiastic self, is unable to focus and unwilling to socialise. What can I do to help?
Sue Rogers is a mental health and emotional wellbeing expert at Action for Children (actionforchildren.org.uk) and leads the early help schools programme for teenage depression.
In the run-up to Children’s Mental Health Week (February 4-10), she says: “If you find there’s been a significant change to your son’s moods and behaviour, acknowledge you’ve noticed a change. The sooner he understands you’re aware his mood and behaviour are different, the sooner you can begin to support him.
“Think about the best way to approach an initial conversation to effectively explore what’s really going on. You might want to consider a more relaxed and less confrontational setting, such as on a walk together or trip out in the car. Start with some reassurances that you’re here to support him, whatever the issue.
“Communicate creatively, by asking your son to write down or draw how he’s feeling, focusing on key words to explain his lead emotions, such as ‘worried’, ‘unhappy’, ‘sad’ and ‘anxious’. This might help him explore how and why he’s feeling a certain way.
“ It’s helpful to know whether others are seeing a physical or emotional change in your son, too. Turn to close family members, friends and his teachers to get a clearer picture of what’s happening in his life and how this is impacting his mental health.”
Further advice to help your child or teenager with their mental health and emotional wellbeing is available at Action for Children’s Build Sound Minds website (buildsoundminds.org.uk).