Pediatric psychologist warns parents to trust their instincts about their children

Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”


Experts have been studying—and lamenting—the effects of divorce on children for decades.

Sad Child Charlotte Mecklenburg Divorce Attorney North Carolina Family Law LawyerNow a Los Angeles-based psychologist is warning parents—particularly those whose children are experiencing or have recently experienced a traumatic event such as a parental divorce—to keep a sharp eye out for behavioral changes in children that may warrant enrollment in therapy.

Psychologist Jeanette Raymond told Yahoo that children are not always keen to share their emotions with their parents, particularly when their parents may be seen as the cause of upset emotions.

Parents, on the other hand, seem to be just as keen on discerning their children’s emotional condition. The bottom line from Ms. Raymond is “Your gut instinct about your child is usually right.” If you suspect your child is not taking a divorce or parental split well, you may need to consider therapeutic treatment for your child.

Not every child is the same, and the circumstances that inform each child’s emotional well-being vary dramatically depending on a child’s age and surroundings, however Raymond identified a number of warning signs for parents to watch out for when going through a divorce.

Toddlers may exhibit aggressive behavior, including biting or kicking excessively and playing aggressively with their toys or friends. Cruelty towards family pets or other animals may be a sign of emotional upset. Toddlers may withdraw, cease talking or become unusually clingy or prone to tears.

Children of elementary-school age may exhibit classic symptoms of depression such as refusing to eat, sleeping excessively and having trouble staying awake. They may balk at answering questions about their family life and may try to find ways to avoid going home after school. Children of this age may also exhibit aggressive behavior that is indicative of underlying emotional instability such as cruelty towards friends or animals or incidents of self-harm such as excessive nail biting or pulling out their own hair.

Teenagers and children just short of their teens may be prone to cover their body with large, baggy clothes and to withdraw from friends, from school and from activities in which they were previously interested. Other warning signs include sexual precociousness, rapid weight fluctuations, bullying or being bullied, and the adoption of an adult manner of talking and acting.

Raymond warns parents of older children to be on the lookout for signs of substance abuse such as the smell of cigarettes or alcohol emanating from a child.

In any case, Raymond says, taking a child to talk to a therapist cannot hurt the child, even if it turns out that the child does not need therapy. Raymond said that allowing a child to talk to a therapist may provide the child with a safe, objective outlet that the child did not realize existed. It also may provide parents with a unique opportunity to understand what is going on in a child’s mind.

“Even if there is no major problem,” Raymond said, “you’ll learn important things about your child.”

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, then you need the help of experienced family law attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.



About the Author

ARNOLD&SMITH_243 3.jpg Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.






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