If Your Child Has Trouble Adjusting After a Burn Injury

Symptoms that your child may be having trouble adjusting

It's very hard to cope in times of stress. Children are less able to cope with stress because of their limited life experience. Here are some signs that your child may be having trouble:

  • Agitated behavior, such as crying or thumb-sucking

  • A change in their normal eating, sleeping, or bathroom habits

  • Separation anxiety, such as clinging, refusing to sleep alone, or wanting to be held all the time

  • Sleep problems and nightmares

  • Lapses in toilet training, dressing, or self-feeding skill. For instance, a child who is potty trained may start having accidents. 

  • Withdrawal from family or friends 

  • Less self-confidence

  • Makes negative comments about self

  • Verbal and physical aggression

  • Repeated episodes of sadness

  • Acting out traumatic events in play

  • Trouble focusing 

  • Behavior changes (the quiet child may become frantic and the energetic child may become lethargic)

  • Physical problems, such as headaches, stomachaches, or dizziness

  • More dependence on parents or caregivers

  • Resentment of unfairness of situation, blaming

  • Trouble with peers

  • Unrealistic expectations of self and others

  • Concern with body image

  • Frustration and rebellion

  • Reluctance to trust or open self to others

  • Feeling hopeless, that life is meaningless

  • Depression

  • Poor impulse control, easily frustrated

  • Drug and alcohol abuse

Be aware of your child’s activity on social media sites and any possibilities of online bullying. Consult with tech specialists if you aren't certain how to keep track of and protect your child's online presence. In addition, work closely with your child’s teachers to make sure of a safe, respectful school environment.

Any abnormal, ongoing behavior should be checked by a mental health provider. It often helps to get professional care when you are concerned or unsure what do next. If one or more of these behaviors continues over a long period of time, professional help may be needed.

Contact your child's healthcare provider to talk about these changes or get a referral to a mental health provider. If the behavior problems are severe enough, go to the emergency room. If your child talks about suicide, has a plan and the means to carry it out, take them to the emergency room or call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (9-8-8) right away. Take all comments about suicide seriously.

Online Medical Reviewer: Dan Brennan MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Liora C Adler MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick BSN MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2023
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