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Mental Health Red Flags & Letting Big Kids Have Timeouts

My last two pieces for Scary Mommy focus on our kids' mental health -- when to worry and a way to empower big kids to take care of themselves. Rates of youth mental illness continue to rise, and many parents and caretakers are not confident about how to identify and address mental health concerns. Most of us are more comfortable with the early signs of a cold or what to do if our kid has a scrape or sprain.

In Worried The Pandemic Is Affecting Your Kids Long-Term? Here's What An Education Expert Says (~5 min. read), I give a primer on the ABCs of what can change when kids are struggling with their mental health or school: Attitude, Behavior, and Class Performance are three things you should monitor regularly.

I get personal in Timeouts Work For Older Kids -- If You Do Them Right (~ 3 min. read). Years ago, my older son and I worked on a way for him to call "timeout" when things get too challenging or overwhelming. We are still doing it today. This strategy has given him power and agency over his emotional well-being. It is not a punishment; it's a tool.

I'll continue to focus upcoming parenting pieces on kids' mental health because I believe it should be a priority for all of us. The pandemic has been a prolonged and collective trauma, and for many kids, it brought additional losses and hardships. Your kids may or may not be thriving right now, but when and if they aren't, you need to be ready with tips and tricks for what to do.

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