How can parents know if their child is having emotional problems at school before the teacher calls? Here are the warning signs:
* Changes in eating behaviors, usually a loss of appetite.
* Changes in sleeping patterns, especially trouble falling asleep or nightmares.
* Extreme mood swings, beyond the normal adolescent moodiness.
* Misdirected anger. Blasting a family member for seemingly no reason may be a child's way of venting frustration from school in a safe place.
* Changes in motivation or demeanor: A normally enthusiastic student doesn't want to do homework or go to school, or a talkative child becomes quiet.
* Vague illness, such as stomachache, headache or fatigue.
* Less interest in once-enjoyed extracurricular activities.
* Withdrawing from peers or family. Be concerned when your child wants to stay in his room all evening.
* Sudden shift in appearance: body piercing, baggy pants, radical hairstyles.
If your child exhibits any of these behaviors, look into what's behind it. Talk to your child directly about the trouble and seek help from a teacher or school counselor if necessary.