As you think about these signs of relationship problems, keep in mind most youngsters do not have these difficulties on any continuing basis. Young people have better days and worse days; but on the whole, they are developing satisfactorily and getting along fine interpersonally.
Some children do have problems with people and relationships, though. For the most part, these youngsters also are having other difficulties. The most common additional difficulty is a serious change in their self-esteem. In fact, it is unusual to see serious, interpersonal maladjustment in a child who does not have self-esteem difficulties.
Something is going on in your child’s world causing him to have trouble getting along with people. If he has not always had trouble, something is going on now. What has changed? What happened at school or somewhere else to cause problems with his friends? What is not working as well for him as it had been? The cause is there if you can be patient enough and persistent enough to find it. The likelihood is your youngster already knows exactly what changed. The question is whether you can help him feel safe enough to share it with you.
If you answer Yes to any of the following questions, your child is or is becoming interpersonally maladjusted. Proceed gently but persistently.
The signs that follow are divided into three groups. The first group deals with problems getting along with other children. The second focuses on difficulties related to low self- esteem; and the third considers signs of withdrawal and isolation. Consider all three areas in order to fully explore the types and range of relationship problems your children may exhibit.
Does your child
Try to keep his friends all to himself?
Often get his feelings hurt?
Often become the brunt of teasing and put-downs?
Get up-tight and nervous when someone is angry or upset?
Refuse to stick up for himself?
Try to please everyone and keep everyone happy?
Feel like most people do not like him?
Get rejected or ignored by most people his age?
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Worry and fret about not doing things well enough and about failing?
Avoid starting things because he is afraid they will turn out badly anyway?
Give up too quickly and too easily?
Feel unhappy about his physical and sexual development?
Dislike himself or put himself down?
Feel he does not fit in or belong anywhere?
Think no one loves him?
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Seem to be losing interest in people and activities he had enjoyed?
Have trouble making and keeping friends?
Avoid people and social activities?
Only like activities he can do alone?
Refuse to talk to anyone about his feelings and thoughts?