Kids: working through a rainbow of emotions


Children who withdraw may do so for a variety of reasons. Some children fear further pain and think that if they do not show emotion, or attempt not to feel, they cannot be hurt. Other children withdraw out of anger in an attempt to shut out parents. Other children who have witnessed fighting or abuse withdraw in an attempt to make themselves "disappear" from the hurt.


  • A child talks less than usual and does not share her daily events.
  • The child may answer questions with short responses.
  • The child may spend as much time out of the house as possible, or spend more time alone in his room.
  • The child may find new reasons to be away from the house, such as studying at the library or new extra-curricular interests.


After any big change in a person's life, a certain amount of space is commonly needed to sort through one's thoughts. Parents should be able to recognize a healthy distance from withdrawal.


It is important that parents encourage and support a child who is withdrawn. Do not nag, yell or ridicule a withdrawn child-- this may cause an adverse effect and the child may withdraw more.

Spending time together on a regular basis along with encouragement and support will help your child to open up.

If your child seems severely withdrawn he could be suffering from depression, alcohol abuse, or drug abuse. In these instances, seek professional help.

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