As your child continues to grow up, it’s natural to have some concerns about certain behaviors and habits. Is it just a phase or is something more going on? Our pediatrician Dr. Vahid Khajoee and the team at A Plus Pediatrics are here to answer all of your questions regarding your child’s behavioral health.
What are common childhood behavioral disorders?
The three most common types of behavioral disorders in children include:
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
- Conduct disorder (CD)
When can a child first get diagnosed with a behavioral disorder?
Most children aren’t diagnosed with a behavioral disorder until after the age of five; however, it is possible for children to display these disruptive and problematic behaviors as early as one to three years old.
What are the warning signs of a behavioral disorder?
All kids act out at some point or throw a temper tantrum; however, it’s important to recognize when their behaviors could be more serious. Children with behavioral disorders display behaviors that are severely disruptive and impact their day-to-day routine, whether at school, playing with other kids, or at home. These behaviors are recurring and include:
- Blames others for their behaviors
- Argues and refuses to listen to authority figures
- Loses their temper and is easily angered
- Violent tendencies or being purposely vindictive
- Fighting or harming others
- Frequent temper tantrums
- Defies rules
- Chronic forgetfulness
- Unable to sit still or play quietly
- Often daydreaming or “spacing out”
When should I turn to a pediatrician for a behavioral assessment?
If your child is displaying any of the behaviors or habits above and this has been going on for more than six months then it’s a good idea to turn to us for an evaluation. We can also refer families to behavioral specialists and child psychologists who can work with your child to provide them with the tools and treatments they need to better manage their behavioral disorders.
How are childhood behavior disorders treated?
How our pediatricians, as well as your child’s psychologist and medical team, decide to treat your child’s behavioral disorder will depend on the type of disorder they are dealing with. Most treatment plans focus on therapy designed to improve communication, resolve conflict, provide more effective coping strategies and reduce impulses and temper tantrums. Common options include cognitive-behavioral therapy and family therapy. Sometimes medications are prescribed to better manage symptoms, as is the case with ADHD.