As parents, you are often advised to look out for Red Flags—tell-tale signs that suggest serious problems with your child. While most parents get extensively briefed about the red flag issues, it’s much harder to comprehend Pink Flags.
These signs are occurrences that do not necessarily imply major issues with your kid but still warrant your attention. Accumulation of multiple flags or prolonged problems could be a reason for further investigation. Below are some common pink flags:
Inconsistent or Insufficient Sleep
ddimitrova / Pixabay : Baby girl sleeping peacefully
A young child needs at least 10 hours of sleep every night. Usually, kids struggle with waking up early in the morning or wanting to stay up a little later than they are supposed to. Problems arise when extremities occur on either end of the spectrum.
If you notice that your child has trouble getting out of bed at reasonable hours and spends a lot of time sleeping at odd hours, this could be a symptom of depression. Conversely, if your child takes a long time to fall asleep or wakes up multiple times throughout the night, this could be a sign of anxiety or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The bellyache is a proverbial ailment among children, and more often than can be explained away through food habits. However, if your child develops frequent aches that are probably not the result of constipation, food poisoning, or allergic reactions, this could be a telling sign of an underlying psychological issue. Anxiety and depression in children have both been linked to gastrointestinal problems.
In children, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can manifest in the form of compulsive tendencies. A kid who suffers from this will have a fixation on a certain ideology – for example, an extreme fear of germs – and will religiously undertake steps to deal with it.
You may see your kid wash their hands an unnecessary amount, often at inconvenient times, and they will not be able to rest easy until they have accomplished the task. Developing dogged, repetitive routines such as hand-washing can interfere with the quality of your child’s life.
The occasional tantrum is common enough, but if your child is prone to angry outbursts on a day-to-day basis coupled with aggressive, destructive actions—the behavior could be a sign of depression or Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD).
While children may be less innocent than we give them credit for in general, those suffering from issues like depression express an undue amount of negativity in their thoughts and actions. This could materialize as morbid drawings or scenarios in make-believe play, often centering on hurting oneself.
Ben_Kerckx / Pixabay: Sad young girl hiding her face
A depressed child may also be extremely harsh with themselves, being unforgiving of their own mistakes and attempting to issue a form of self-punishment.
Ultimately, these issues are described as Pink Flags as they can simply be different phases in growing up. A sleepy child may just have spent too much time staying up watching television, whereas a kid who throws five tantrums a week may just have been having a bad week.
Young children will come up with wide, varied ways to make sense of their environments, and not every response or reaction is cause for worry. At the same time, it is also wrong to group a combination of worrisome behaviors together and dismiss them as ‘kids being kids’. Responsible parents who pick up on pink flags are advised to raise the issue with their pediatrician for personalized insight and input.