Mental health awareness has come to light in recent years for both adults and children. While strides have been made toward making this topic less taboo, we still don’t talk about it enough especially in children. Besides the stigma that still exists, it’s also hard to pinpoint when or if a child is struggling. Is a challenging behavior part of normal development or is it something more? It’s very easy to blame a child’s rapid development for any mood or behavior changes. But children can and do struggle with mental health and parents should be equipped with the confidence to identify whether their child needs help from a specialist — and to know that it’s okay to seek help.
Dr. Kyle Pruett, Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and Educational Advisory Board Member shares what parents should look for when determining whether their child may need a little extra help:
- Persistent changes in sleep patterns or appetites
- Behavioral changes that seem out of character for a particular child, especially discouragement that lingers or motivation that seems to disappear for longer and longer stretches
- Increases in aggression above and beyond the typical sibling squabbles
- Frequent tearfulness, especially the out-of-nowhere variety.
If you’re concerned about your child’s behavior, make sure you contact their pediatrician who can point you in the right direction.