Know When to Seek Help for Your Child
Parents are usually the first to recognize that their child has a problem
with emotions or behavior. Still, the decision to seek professional
help can be difficult and painful for a parent. The first step is to
gently try to talk to the child. An honest open talk about feelings
can often help. Parents may choose to consult with the child's physicians,
teachers, members of the clergy, or other adults who know the child
well. These steps may resolve the problems for the child and family.
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.
- Inability to cope with problems and daily activities.
- Marked changes in sleeping and/or eating habits.
- Many physical complaints.
- Sexual acting out.
- Depression shown by sustained, prolonged negative mood and attitude,
often accompanied by poor appetite, difficulty sleeping or thoughts
- Abuse of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Intense fear of becoming obese with no relationship to actual body
weight, purging food or restricting eating.
- Persistent nightmares.
- Threats of self-harm or harm to others.
- Self-injury or self destructive behavior.
- Frequent outbursts of anger, aggression.
- Threats to run away.
- Aggressive or non-aggressive consistent violation of rights of others;
opposition to authority, truancy, thefts, or vandalism.
- Strange thoughts and feelings; and unusual behaviors.
If problems persist over an extended period of time and especially
if others involved in the child's life are concerned, consultation with
a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other clinician specifically
trained to work with children may be helpful.
Daycare.com would like to thank American Academy of Child and Adolescent
Psychiatry for this information in striving to make daycare and childcare
a more productive and efficient service. You can contact them at: 3615
Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016-3007 voice: 202-966-7300