As young parents, it can be challenging to know what is normal childhood misbehaving and behavior or what is something that might need a longer conversation with your Pediatrician. Mental Health disorders in children are more common than you might think, and the earlier you and your child can get the help you need, the better it will be in the long run. Here are a few tips on how to spot the signs that signal that you need to make a call to our office. 

Look for significant mood and behavior changes.

  • Persistent negative moods that seem to stretch out for long periods, frequently changing moods, or huge behavior changes (like a straight-A student suddenly failing classes).

Excessive fear or worries.

  • Anxieties to the point of being paralyzed or not being able to do something they used to really like.

Noticeable loss of interest in things they used to enjoy.  

  • No longer enjoying the people/friends they love, objects/toys, and or activities they really looked forward to are telling signs. Children will change their favorite things often, but a complete apathy for all the things they once loved should prompt a call to our Pediatricians. 

Difficulty doing tasks they did previously.

  • Things like difficulting concentrating, a decline in self-care (hygiene, grooming), and difficulty initiating or maintaining friendships or relationships are a few markers to watch.

Persistent physical symptoms.  

  • Constant headaches, stomachaches, large changes in appetite (to not being hungry, to eating all the time), and sudden weight loss or gain. 

Self-harming behavior.

  • For older children, these things can be things like self-harm with cutting or substance abuse. 

But what if this is just the terrible twos stretching into their young childhood years? That is a valid worry. That what your child is doing is just typical childhood behavior. The key to looking for these symptoms are severity and duration. If the behavior is “severe enough to significantly impact” their daily life at home or school, it is time to broach the subject as a family and with your doctor. al 

Contact your Pediatrician at Warrenton or Linton Hall Pediatrics if you are at all concerned. Our doctors will work with you, your child, and your child’s school to make sure that they are being provided the best resources, recommendations, and support at home, school, and within your community. Call us at 540-349-3225 to get an appointment or to speak with a provider.