When you are the parent of a child in middle school, you will more than likely begin to notice dramatic changes in their attitudes and behaviors. While this is a part of growing up and beginning puberty, there are some changes in behavior that you may find distressing. It can be difficult to gauge why your child is acting differently and if their behaviors should be a cause for concern and action. Get to know some of the steps that you can take to better understand your middle schooler's changed behavior so that you can be sure that your child remains happy and healthy going forward.
Keep In Close Contact With Their Teachers And Counselors
One of the best ways that you can keep track of your child's overall behavior and well-being is by staying in close contact with your child's teachers and guidance counselors. Your middle school child spends most of their waking hours at school where you cannot keep track of them, which can make it difficult for you to understand the reasons their attitudes may have changed.
Talking to their teachers and counselors will help fill in the gaps. For example, if you notice that your middle school child seems detached and depressed at home and is not interested in family activities or in things that used to delight them, you can ask their teachers to keep an eye out for similar issues at school. They may have a mental health disorder (depression), be experiencing bullying, or be completely fine at school and just going through the transition in their life where they want to be more independent from parents and family.
Once you have the teachers' and counselors' perspectives, you can better determine what your next step will be. You can contact a mental health therapist if you suspect depression, work with school administrators to address bullying, or simply try to give your child their space and keep a watchful eye on them, depending on their observations and recommendations.
Test Your Child For Drugs
Unfortunately, more and more children are beginning to experiment with drugs at early ages, including in middle school. Drugs cause many different behavioral and mood changes including lethargy, depression, anxiety, mood swings, anger and aggression, and the like. Of course, many of these changes are similar to the common to changes your child is already going through during puberty, making it difficult for you to know what is going on just by looking at them.
If you suspect your child is using drugs rather than just experiencing the normal preteen moodiness, you will want to have them undergo drug testing. There are a couple of ways that you can do this. First, you can take your child to their doctor to have the drug testing performed. Your child may assume that they are going in for a routine checkup or physical, but the results of blood and/or urine testing will tell you whether or not there are any drugs in their system.
You can also purchase drug testing kits to use at home if you want to approach your child directly about the issue. These tests are usually designed for specific substances (some only test for one while others may test for up to 12 specific drugs). So, you will need to be reasonably sure of what drug your child is taking before you buy an at-home testing kit.
Now that you know a few of the steps that you can take to better understand your middle school child's changed behaviors and attitudes, you can be sure that you are doing everything you can to keep them healthy, safe, and on the right path in their life.
For more information, contact a company like Pecos Drug Testing.