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Ask the Experts

Question:

My son, who has always been pretty well-behaved, is acting out at school and refusing to sleep alone. I have been really down, too, and I do not know how to help him. What can I do?

Answered by: Anne Marie Albano

Children of any age may go through various periods of acting out and anxiety. These symptoms can occur for many, many reasons that might not be clear to parents. Also, as you state that you, too, are feeling down, this indicates that you and your son may benefit from therapy. In fact, we know that when parents seek treatment for their emotional health, children often benefit from this.

Hence, I would call a local mental health center, or a psychologist or psychiatrist in your health plan, and make an appointment for you to see someone to discuss your concerns in person and in depth. The therapist will then work with you to decide on a plan to help you but also, to help your son. Not knowing the age of your son, it is difficult to guess at what he may be open to, but at the very least, your seeking help with a therapist will get things going to assist both of you with these difficulties.