Well Being | Is your child lonely?

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There are many reasons why your child may experience loneliness at various times in their life. Recognising the signs and dealing with it is vital for parents.

Many people do not associate loneliness with young people. And it is for this reason why so many suffer on in silence, with that feeling intensifying over time.

When someone is feeling lonely, it is primarily because some important need is not being met. Indeed, there is no single known cause of loneliness with this emotion being complex and unique to each person.

Many studies show that young people are predisposed to these feelings of loneliness during their adolescent years as they go through the various physical, mental and social changes that can cause stress.

On the flip side, in reasonable doses, these feelings may actually develop creativity and self-reliance in a young person. However, it is important for parents to understand the cause of continual or frequent loneliness. Similarly, it is vital to recognise the type of restlessness and impatient boredom can accompany loneliness so that timely support can be provided.

Some of the many reasons why young people may experience loneliness include poor communication skills, difficulty making friends, issues with sexuality, experience of abuse or bullying, experience of loss or conflict in interpersonal relationships.

If this experience of loneliness becomes too frequent with no support provided, there is the big risk that these feelings may eventually turn into depression and other mental health problems.

There are many practical things that parents can do to alleviate the situation. Getting involved in your child’s interests is one. If they are involved in a sports club or team, volunteer with the organisation so you can keep an eye on them.

Help them start a hobby. Doing something they enjoy will keep them busy and preoccupied. Try out a few things until they find something they have a passion for.

Try to encourage activities away from using electronic equipment and social media. Going for a cycle or day trips to various activity parks are just some of the things you can do.

Talk to your child about loneliness. They need to understand that everyone experiences this feeling and that they are not alone. Encourage your child to talk about their reasons for feeling lonely and create some solutions for them.