According to the CDC, all children can and will “act out” at various times. However, when their behavior becomes so out of control they’re disrupting their life and the lives of those around them, or especially if they become violent, it’s time to have them evaluated for a behavioral disorder.
At Indus Healthcare in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties, Dr. Amit Paliwal provides pediatric care, including behavioral health services to children who are having a hard time dealing with home life or school.
Common children’s behavioral issues
If your child suffers from one or more of the following issues, it could be a sign they have a behavioral disorder or other social, emotional, or mental health disorder that makes it hard for them to regulate their behavior. Children under five years old are rarely diagnosed with a disorder, so don’t be too fast to leap to conclusions. Dr. Paliwal can help evaluate your child and see if they need extra help.
Young children can have attention spans of varying lengths, and their ability to focus may depend on how interested they are in the topic at hand. However, if your child is completely unable to sit still and focus on anything for more than a minute or two, they could have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This doesn’t necessarily mean they need medication. Dr. Paliwal can go over all of your options and help you find the right solution for your child.
If your child never ever owns up to doing anything wrong, constantly lies about what they’ve done, and tries to blame others for their bad behavior, you may have a problem on your hands. Lack of willingness to take responsibility, an unwillingness to admit a mistake, and a desire to see others suffer for their wrongdoing can be concerning. (It’s important your child feel safe in admitting their mistakes. If a child lies out of fear of reprisal, that’s normal.)
Just because little Johnny or Julia learned to say “No!” doesn’t mean they have a defiance disorder. However, if there’s a blanket refusal to listen to anything you or other authority figures say, you might want to ask for an evaluation. Your child could be struggling with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) or Conduct Disorder (CD), either of which can lead to chaotic, disruptive behavior.
Severe antisocial behavior (which usually manifests as an unwillingness to comply with social rules, an unconcern for others’ wellbeing, and petty acts against other children) is often connected to defiance, and children who display anti-social behavior are often later diagnosed with CD or ODD.
Possibly the most concerning of all behavioral issues is physical aggression. If your child is violent with yourself, siblings, teachers, or classmates, or destroys property or toys in a violent manner, an evaluation is in order. If a child harms smaller children or animals, it’s important to seek help for them as soon as possible.
Treating childhood behavioral disorders
In most cases, behavioral therapy can help your child. In others, medication may be needed to help them rebalance their brain chemistry and gain control over their reactions. Typically, if medication is needed, it’s combined with behavioral therapy for optimal results.
If you’re having concerns about your child’s behavioral patterns, get in touch with Dr. Paliwal and our team at Indus Healthcare. To schedule an appointment, visit our contact page for more information. We also offer telehealth visits.