When I ask if my child is worried, he says no, but then I catch him picking his nails, and I can tell something is on his mind. What should I do?
We often observe these “nervous habits” in our children (and recognize them from our own behavior!). Sometimes these quirks are just that – habits, behaviors that may at one time have been due to nerves but now just have taken on a life of their own. The best way to address it is to simply ask. If your child denies having any worries, you can take it at face value. If you’re still concerned, look at the rest of his habits. If you see any significant changes to his behavior in other areas, you may be right. It may be helpful to ask the child’s teacher or coach if they see anything concerning. Oftentimes, worries are temporary, and pass quickly. If you see these behaviors intensifying or changing, it’s time to ask for more help.