Some of the most common mental disorders that children may face are anxiety, ADHD, and behavior disorders. Sadly, the number of diagnoses for depression or anxiety in children has been increasing over time.
As a parent, sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between normal behavior and behavior that’s indicative of bigger issues. It’s completely normal for your child to have bad days every once in a while, but there might be more going on under the surface if it’s a regular occurrence.
Are you wondering if it’s time to get a psychological assessment for your child?
Let’s take a look at 5 signs that it might be time to seek the advice of a mental health professional.
A Quick Reminder: It’s Normal For All Children to Act Out to Some Extent
If you can remember what it was like to be a child yourself, surely you remember that it isn’t the easiest of times. It is developmentally expected that children will have bad days, meltdowns, and outbursts from time to time. This is particularly true for younger children.
We all have emotions, and children are no different. Childhood and adolescence is a phase in life when we are learning how to deal with these different emotions.
If you’re worried about your child, start paying close attention to how age-appropriate their behaviors are. You’ll also want to consider the severity, frequency, and duration of the concerning behaviors. A good rule of thumb is that if your child’s issues are interrupting their ability to get through the day on a daily or relatively frequent basis, it’s likely time to seek outside help.
1. Their Behavior Has Changed Suddenly
Have you noticed that the sleeping, eating, and grooming habits of your child seem to have changed drastically? Or have their grades in school dropped for seemingly no reason?
These are not warning signs you want to ignore. When children are growing up, it is normal for them to go through different phases.
These might be in relation to music choices, clothing style, and other aspects of life that we use to explore our identities. However, in general, daily life patterns and behavioral problems tend to remain more stable.
If your child is sleeping too much or not at all, it could be a sign that they are experiencing some emotional distress. Similarly, drastic changes in eating habits might point to psychological trouble.
That being said, it is important to be respectful of the fact that childhood and adolescence is a time of great change.
For example, if your teenage son decides to become a vegetarian, it isn’t necessarily a sign there is an issue. It’s possible that this is him experimenting with his sense of self and how he engages with the world. It’s important to have open lines of communication so that you can best understand where your child is coming from.
2. They Are Experiencing Issues in Multiple Areas of Life
Another reason you might consider bringing your child to a Halifax child psychologist is if you notice that they are struggling in several areas of life at once. This might mean they’re having issues with their:
- Academic performance
- Family relationships
- Leisure activities
Meeting with a psychologist for children could help them cope with the difficulty of struggling in several different areas of life. It’s also possible that having issues in multiple areas of life is indicative of a larger problem that they are dealing with.
3. They Seem to Be Withdrawing From Family, Friends, and Beloved Activities
Have you noticed that your child has been increasingly isolating themselves from their friends and family? Are they no longer interested in pursuing the activities that they always loved? Do they not seem to be replacing those activities with new interests?
If your child has always had a shy and more introverted personality, this might not be indicative of a big problem. However, if it is a pretty major shift away from how they’ve always been, you might consider bringing them to a psychologist for kids.
4.They’ve Started Displaying Regressive Behaviors
A major life change can cause regression in children, such as their parents divorcing, a new sibling being born, or a move. To some extent, this is a normal part of coping with a big life change. However, if your child is exhibiting regressive behavior like tantrums, bedwetting, clinginess, or excessive fearfulness and it’s not related to a major life change, this might be indicative of a larger issue.
5. They’ve Started Exhibiting Self-Destructive Behaviors or Violent Behavior
If your child is exhibiting self-destructive behaviors, you’ll definitely want to have them talk to a therapist or counselor. These types of behaviors include digging their nails into their skin, pulling out their hair, or cutting themselves. Drug and alcohol abuse is also considered a self-destructive behavior.
When a child participates in self-harm, it is likely masking much deeper feelings. Finding the right psychologist for children can help your child learn to feel, express, and manage their emotions in healthy ways.
Violent behavior is also a major sign that your child is in need of a psychological assessment. If they are obsessed with violent acts or weapons, physically fighting or attacking others without cause, or taking part in violent activities with others, this is a clear indication that something is wrong and it’s time to seek psychological help.
Is It Time For Your Child to Receive a Psychological Assessment?
We all want the best for our children. Sometimes, it’s necessary to involve a psychologist for children to ensure that your child can achieve their highest potential in mental wellbeing. If your child is exhibiting any of these behavioral issues or other red flags, it’s likely time to call a Halifax child psychologist.
At Bird & Associates, we offer a full range of psychological assessment services for teens, adolescents, and children. If it’s time for you to book an appointment for your child, feel free to contact us today.