Childhood Behavior Problems

Parents are usually the first to recognize that their child has a problem with emotions or behavior. Parents' growing concerns, and observations of outside resources such as teachers and family combine to form a process of coming to the realization that a child can benefit from treatment. Parents may also consult with the child and adolescent psychiatrist or other professionals about ways to help their youngster at home.

Following are a few signs which may indicate that a child and adolescent psychiatric evaluation will be useful.


Marked fall in school performance.

Poor grades in school despite trying very hard.

A lot of worry or anxiety, as shown by regular refusal to go to school, go to sleep or take part in activities that are normal for the child's age.

Hyperactivity; fidgeting; constant movement beyond regular playing.

Persistent nightmares.

Persistent disobedience or aggression (longer than 6 months) and provocative opposition to authority figures.

Frequent, unexplainable temper tantrums.


Marked change in school performance.

Abuse of alcohol and/or drugs.

Inability to cope with problems and daily activities.

Marked changes in sleeping and/or eating habits.

Many complaints of physical ailments.

Aggressive or non-aggressive consistent violation of rights of others; opposition to authority, truancy, thefts, vandalism.

Intense fear of becoming obese with no relationship to actual body weight.

Depression shown by sustained, prolonged negative mood and attitude, often accompanied by poor appetite, difficulty sleeping or thoughts of death.

Frequent outbursts of anger.

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