In the past, maybe it was sex or drugs. Now add modern school issues like cyber-bullying and there are even more reasons to stay in touch with changes in your child.
We recommend family dinners every night possible so you stay close to your kids. Even if you do this, you should still watch for other danger signs that mean you need to go in and talk to the school and have a frank conversation with your child.
These issues start earlier every year, so don’t think your kids are safe just because their age doesn’t end with “teen.”
- Change in friends, loss of interest in going to school or social life. (depression, cyber-bullying)
- Overly private about computer or cellphone. Clears history when away from computer. (cyber-bullying)
- No longer having fun online, but seems markedly more serious about computer time. (cyber-bullying)
- Change in sleep patterns or eating. Even more moody or sullen than most teenagers. (depression, cyber-bullying, drugs)
- Withdrawn behavior, unwillingness to talk, sudden changes in personality. (depression, cyber-bullying, drugs)
- Receives strange packages and suspicious phone calls. (cyber-bullying, drugs)
- Sudden drop in grades, or study habits. (depression, cyber-bullying, drugs)
- Reacts nervously to phone calls, text messages, IMs, or emails. (cyber-bullying)
Make sure to keep the computer in a public space so you can monitor usage and your child’s interaction.