Children’s Behavioral Health and Behavior Disorders
It can be difficult to measure your child’s behavioral health because children can act out in many ways that may worry their parents.
As children develop, they are constantly learning how to interact with the world around them, and how to respond to these interactions. If your child experiences distress or consistent problems throughout their everyday life, they may have a behavioral disorder.
Common Mental and Behavioral Disorders
A mental or behavioral issue can present itself in many forms. A few of the most frequent disorders that appear in children are:
If your child is so fearful or worried that they are unable to perform daily functions at school or at home then they may have an anxiety disorder.
All kids experience sadness. However, if this sadness progresses into feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, it may be a sign of a more concerning condition such as depression.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental condition that can affect children in a variety of ways. Generally, kids with ADHD experience trouble when trying to focus on a task.
Conduct Disorder (CD)
If children are consistently breaking rules set forth by their parents or teachers, and are aggressive toward others, they may be diagnosed with conduct disorder.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
This disorder typically presents itself in children ages 8-12 and is characterized by a short temper, refusal to follow the direction of others, and arguing with people in a disrespectful manner.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Kids with OCD may have obsessions, compulsions, or both. These cause the child to have an urge that may not be particularly rational but makes them feel as though they must act on it anyway.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Generally, children are incredibly resilient, which allows them to recover quickly from a stressful event. Cases where such stressful events leave a lasting, negative impression on their child and their life are known as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Both children and adults with Tourette’s will make involuntary verbal or physical outbursts that are referred to as “tics”.
When to See a Professional
Some behavioral disorders are easier to manage than others, but each one can warrant the advice and care of a professional if it is affecting the child’s daily functions. A specialist will make sure to provide the child with extra support to help them manage and control their disorder.
Meeting with a behavioral health specialist never means that your kid is crazy, it simply means that you are willing to seek assistance in providing your son or daughter with the tools they need to enjoy their life to the fullest.
While You Wait
We know it can be challenging while you are waiting to be seen by a behavioral health provider or if you are not yet ready to try therapy. Below are some online programs or community groups that teach parents, caregivers, kids, and teens skills to work through behavioral and emotional challenges. While not every program is right for every family, we encourage you to check out these FREE resources to see if any of them are right for you.
Mayo Clinic Anxiety Coach
Online series of videos and guided questions to help parents/caregivers, together with their children & teens, work through anxiety or obsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD) by facing fears. Takes 60-90 minutes.
Mayo Clinic Cooperation Coach
Self-guided online program to help parents/caregivers of children 2-10 learn behavior management strategies to help kids with ADHD, ODD, anger, and difficulty listening. Takes 60-90 minutes.
Positive Parenting Program (Triple P)
Group classes to help parents/caregivers of children 0-8 learn behavior management strategies to help kids with ADHD, ODD, anger and difficulty listening.
Positive Parenting Program
Online program to help parents/caregivers of kids 3-12 learn to encourage bravery and reduce anxiety. Takes 30 minutes.
Online program to help kids & teens 11- 17 learn skills to deal with stress. Power to change, kindness to yourself, & taking action. Takes 30 minutes each.
The California Healthy Minds, Thriving Kids Project
Online coping skills videos and corresponding practice sheets for parents, caregivers, kids, and teens.