If your child or a child of one of your family members is behaving in ways that are worrying you, this article is intended to alert you to what might be going on.

Often, when a child is misbehaving, or is withdrawn, or is obviously upset, but is denying or pretending that there’s nothing wrong, their parents or caregivers can misinterpret what is going on, making things much worse than thy actually are, or creating a problem where there isn’t one.

Many parents just assume the child is “misbehaving” for no reason, just to be a nuisance, with no thought that there might be some underlying problem that is causing the behavior.

It is amazing how often a child can be holding the wrong idea about something that they think is going on in their life – we adults tend to think they see and experience the world the way we do, but often they don’t. They may have misheard a conversation, or only heard part of it, leading them to imagine as real, and any number of frightening things.

And if their concern is real, it’s even more important for you to become aware of it and find some way to deal with it that is good for them and you.

The possible problems:

The following scenarios are not an exhaustive list of the possibilities, but are designed to give you another way of looking at things, that might be a breakthrough in your child’s life and your relationship with them.

Try not to over-focus on any particular issue as being the right one – the actual problem might be something completely different to what you think.

The various suggested problem scenarios:

They think they are to blame for their parent's bad situation, unhappiness, or troubled relationship.

They feel responsible for something bad that has happened to a family member.

They've have been sexually abused by someone and feel ashamed. They might think that they are bad and caused it to happen. They might have been threatened to not speak about it because their parents or siblings will be hurt if they do.

They know something, or think they know something, that is not good for the family.

They are feeling stupid, ugly, an outsider, or exposed in some way.

They are being bullied.

They don’t think they will be believed, or have tried to speak about it but have not been believed, or have been ignored.

They have, or think they have, done something bad to someone.

They are going through physiological and life changes that humiliate or scare them.

They might be, or are fearful that they might be, gay, and are disturbed about it.

They are being blamed for something they didn't do and no one believes them.

They may have some unacknowledged medical condition.

How to approach your child:

If any one of the scenarios seems likely, or if you realize some other possibility, there are a number of ways of approaching the problem. Keep in mind, that you may not know what’s worrying them, even if you think you do.

1. If it seems safe for the child to talk about it, gently let them know that you know something is wrong, that you want to help and that you won’t blame them. You might need to deal with any blame you feel or project, because the child will need to be not blamed, to be able to open up to you.
2. If the child seems too reactive to approach in any direct way, you might talk with your partner, or a friend, in the “accidental” hearing of the child, giving them the particular information they may need to hear, that will relieve them of their concern, or need for silence.
3. If you think you know what is worrying them, or if you don’t, you could let them hear, indirectly, that you would be very approving of someone who told their parents, or someone else (the school counselor for instance) what they know.
4. If you don’t have any idea of what is worrying them, you might speak in general terms about how when you were a child you told your parents about something bad and how pleased your parents were that you did.
5. No matter what you do, it would be especially useful to get in touch with a Counselor who is experienced with children, and work it out in some way with them, e.g. their school counselor.

Give your child the gift of valuing what they feel, of not just assuming they are being “bad” in some way, and of opening up a way for them to deal with their issues, and/or to relieve them of their guilt, fear, humiliation or pain, whether there is a real problem or not.

Author's Bio: 

Many years of personal research into the nature of consciousness, psychological processes, meme theory, and ongoing counseling work with individuals, couples, families and post-natal depression groups, is bringing deep revelations about the nature of our psyches.
This has led to a new break-through model of the human psyche that uncovers the simple and very understandable way that our survival mechanism creates the experience of our lives. Related web site: www.becomereal.com.