10 Ways to Know Your Kids Are Not Adjusting Well to Life

Raising children can often feel like raising a little demon sometimes; such is the heartache that can ensue when children are struggling to adjust. While it is easy to become discouraged as our children grow, we must remember that we went through the same thing, usually ignoring our parents’ better judgment along the way. However, if your child is not adjusting well to life, there are signs to look out for.

1. They Insult Themselves

Stressed kid crying
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Often, a sign of trouble at school is when your child cannot see themselves in a positive light, turning on themselves when they get something wrong. Childmind explains that self-deprecation is fine, though if it becomes more severe and regular, it could be their way of preparing themselves for a fall — a form of self-defense.

2. They Lack Confidence

Mother supporting teen
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Confidence has a spectrum ranging from egotistical narcissism to a complete lack of self-esteem. Psychotherapist Amy Morin, author of the parenting book 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do, says in a CNBC feature that there are ways parents encourage low confidence, such as overprotecting, condoning victimhood, or over-perfectionism.

3. They Lack Impulse Control

Kid throwing tantrum
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In some parts of the world, firstborn sons are treated like the largest chick in the nest, often given preferential treatment over their younger siblings. We can only imagine the outcome in later life, though we also ask ourselves whether we are beyond reproach. Children who never hear the word “No” may grow up entitled and, worse still, dangerous. This disposition doesn’t combine well with social conflict at school or beyond the classroom.

4. They Treat Adults as Enemies

Angry mother scolds her teen daughter
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The hardest step some parents face is making the transition from raising infants to preadolescents, then adolescents who no longer care what they say. While teenage sass is the norm, overly forceful or emotional parenting can result in youngsters losing faith in all adults, says the Cleveland Clinic. If the adults who love you most struggle to communicate with a child, they will stop listening to adults.

5. They Hate Being Outdoors

Kids watching ipad
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When your child spends too much time indoors tethered to devices or gaming computers, they may develop a tolerance to being outdoors. Researchers at Harvard Health identify several factors that make being outdoors an essential part of development, such as vitamin D absorption, risk-taking skills, and executive function. Building good outdoor habits from an early age will make kids seek out their happy place in later life, which always includes positive childhood experiences.

6. They Lose Interest Quickly

Bored kid with mobile
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If your kids are not completing tasks, there may be an underlying issue, such as attention deficit disorder (ADD). However, it is most likely they lack the focus necessary, which will trouble them in later life. We can all agree that overexposure to low-attention cell phones and apps such as TikTok is damaging young minds not equipped to handle such low attention-span media.

7. They Aren’t Socializing

Stressed child
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A YouTube reaction video from the REACT channel shows modern-day teens watching how high schoolers acted in the ’80s and ’90s compared to now. In his After Babel report, Jonathan Heidt discusses how socializing has suffered as a consequence of smartphone usage. He argues that earlier exposure to smartphones has a direct relationship to worse mental health in adult life.

8. Lethargy

Lethargic child in school library
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A familiar symptom of depression is lethargy or a lack of motivation, which will detrimentally impact a child’s performance in school. As kids get older, their sleeping patterns change; then hormones take over, causing long-lasting bouts of perceived laziness. Notwithstanding the possible mental health connotations, there are other reasons for wanton idleness, such as poor fitness, poor diet, or emotional turmoil with romantic interests.

9. Sudden Weight Gain

Fat kid being sad
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Naturally, our children fill out as they grow, and sometimes growth spurts produce excess fat, which is healthy, says Ashleigh Spitza, RD, in Children’s Wisconsin. However, if that sudden weight spike increases or is prolonged, there could be some mental health issues. Parents can do nothing except encourage, show love, and communicate praise for better food choices or lifestyle adjustments.

10. Poor Hygiene

Kid with dirty nails
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Teachers can sometimes be faced with difficult social issues in the classroom, and poor hygiene is often connected to economic status or poor domestic standards. When a student comes from a financially stable background yet lacks the corresponding hygiene levels, it might be time to seek help. If a parent cannot identify this problem, it probably means they aren’t doing their job correctly. The National Institute of Health (NIH) says that personal hygiene is a determinant of preventable disease and social rejection.

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