Finding one's place in life puts stress on children. Some children handle stress better than others. Other children experience more stress than their developing brains can handle. How do you know as a parent when a child needs child psychiatry care or if they are experiencing normal growing pains?
Look for these five signs your adolescent may benefit from a child psychiatrist.
1. Social Isolation
Children learn through social interactions. However, some children withdraw from the other children in their class and make friends slowly. After giving the child time to blossom on their own without progress, a therapist may be able to get to the bottom of their shyness and improve their confidence in social situations.
2. Regressive Behavior
Some children begin to revert to "baby talk" well past the appropriate age. These children may also have accidents and throw temper tantrums. Regression usually occurs after a new baby or after a divorce as a way to gain attention. The psychiatrist will encourage the child to express themselves in a more appropriate way.
3. Change in Family Dynamics/Trauma
Some children go through stress at a young age. The stress may come in the form of a broken home, a family member's death, abuse, or a devastating accident. The stress will inevitably affect the child. Even children who appear unphased may benefit from having someone to talk to. While the psychiatrist won't force the child to talk if it's not necessary, they can teach the child coping mechanisms and effective ways of communicating.
4. Signs of an Emotional Disorder
Depression, anxiety, and other emotional disorders generally affect people in their teens or early adulthood. However, some children experience an emotional disorder younger than most. Look for signs of depression and anxiety, such as:
- weight change
- change in sleeping patterns
A psychiatrist can assess the child to determine whether they recommend talk therapy or medication.
5. Destructive or Disruptive Behavior
Some children seem to always cause trouble. These children will fight, play with fire, run away, break dishes, and take dangerous risks. These children need a productive way to feel heard, such as through art, music, or exercise. To increase impulse control, a child psychiatrist may recommend a light medication that will lower energy levels for the time being.
Every child needs child psychiatry care if possible. Some children need it more urgently than others. If you notice these signs in your child, set up an appointment soon.