Following the recent incident of a 23-year old boy who confessed to killing his several members of his family, parents are concerned about how they can prevent their children from heading down the same path.

Additionally, it has raised concerns over insufficient knowledge about mental health, which some feel could be the reason for the recent occurrences.

Now that we have almost resumed normalcy despite the Covid-19, we are back to times when parents do not spend so much time with their kids. Yet, it is very crucial that you notice and pick out traits in your child that may lead them down the wrong path instead of just focusing on punishment which may lead to destructive behavior in kids.

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Here are five ways on how to spot a troubled child:

  1. Secretive child - A child who hides things is more likely to also be keeping a lot of things to themselves. Although when you find out that your child has been hiding something, it does not mean they are bad. They could be ashamed or simply not trust you. Either way its better to cure the symptom rather than treat the disease. Encourage them to speak up and be attentive and understanding.
  2. Poor performance- When a child starts dropping grades, this should raise an alarm immediately. However don't be quick to jump into conclusion because this could simply mean they don't like school or have a hard time understanding. It could also be a sign of depression, loneliness or they might be a victim of bullying in school. Get to the bottom of it. Depression, loneliness or bulling can lead to very destructive behavior.
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3. Uncontrolled anger-  When you notice your child lashing out on simple things or being aggressive, for example slamming the door or hitting a pillow in anger, this should raise concern. Without the right emotional regulations children end up being depressed, isolated and later on feelings of inadequacy. Tell them its okay to be mad but not okay to take it out on things.

4. Drug and alcohol use- Teenagers have become uncontrollable and sneaky. They sneak out, meet their friends and go to parties and engage in all manner of drugs. One bad behavior leads to five bad behaviors and things may escalate.

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5. Excessive feelings of rejection, isolation and being alone- Its important to train or teach your kids on emotional regulation. This is becoming a major cause of suicides and other destructive patterns. Kids end up becoming really troubled when they spend too much time in isolation by themselves. They start to feel rejected and picked on.

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