As a parent, no one truly knows your children as well as you do. You can tell when they’re upset, or when something just isn’t quite right. You can sense it when they’re hiding something, or when they aren’t telling you the whole story. If your child seems stressed out or anxious, and you have no idea why they might be, here’s what to do next:
Before doing anything else, ask your child if everything is okay. You may be able to get a better sense of things by their reaction. They may open up to you and share what’s concerning them. If they don’t, you shouldn’t try to pressure them into explaining. Give them some space and don’t pressure them, but start checking things out on your own to make sure that they’re really okay.
Check their call and text history
Take a look through your child’s cell phone call and text history. See if you find any unfamiliar numbers or unusual messages. You shouldn’t feel as though you’re violating your child’s privacy, but rather that you’re invested in their safety. Once they have a cell phone of their own to use, you should feel comfortable monitoring all of the activity on it. That includes call history, photos, text messages, and even their web browser history.
If you do find any unfamiliar phone numbers, you may want to do a quick search to see who they belong to. You may also want to simply ask your child outright. You should let your child know that you can and will be checking in on their mobile device activity from time to time.
Check their social media
You likely monitor your child’s social media accounts anyway, but if they’re acting stressed or anxious, you may need to do a little more digging. Check their accounts by logging in on their device. Take a look in their direct messages to see if there’s any suspicious or concerning correspondence.
You also want to see what types of images and content that your child shares online. This may provide some clues as to what may be concerning them. If you aren’t comfortable browsing through their social media accounts without their knowledge, then talk about it first. Ask them to share it with you so that you can look over it together.
Let them know you’ll listen
The most important thing that you can give your child is your time and attention. Let them know that you’re available to them at all times, and that you’re truly listening. Don’t force them to share and talk, but gently encourage them to let you know what’s bothering them.
Having an open and honest relationship with your child is one of the best ways that you can protect and help them. Check their mobile device for hints and clues as to what may be causing them to act differently. No parent wants to see their child anxious or stressed out, so understanding the cause is critical to helping them feel better.