It is generally challenging to ascertain whether our children’s behaviour or emotions are a cause of concern or just one of many temperamental, i.e. moody transient moments. Parents will agree that children become unreasonable at times and make them worrisome. 

A person’s child’s mental and physical health is a grave concern. Mental health professionals and experts have devised guidelines to allay unfounded fear and early identification and treatment. This list is like a pre-screener which can assist parents in determining whether their children are suffering from or dealing with any mental disorders. 

A person, whether a child or an adult, is said to possess good mental health when they can handle and cope well with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well, work well, and contribute to their community. This aspect of mental health is, in general, the guiding light in determining whether a person has any mental disorder or not; it is applicable in the case of children too. 

A significant disruption in a child’s activity, mood and personality are common signs. Also, the frequent fluctuations in mood hinder the child’s daily functioning. Fear, worries, sadness or gloominess lasting for at least two weeks are signs of a possible mental health disorder. 

Mental Disorders in Children

Mental health issues can also trigger some out-of-turn behaviours. Parents need to watch out for impulsive behaviour, getting quickly into fights, or a tendency to harm themselves or others. Substance abuse in the case of adolescents and teens is one of the major areas of concern and an indication of associated mental health disorders. 

Attention deficit and hyperactive behaviour, which may lead to difficulty adjusting to school and peer groups, can be a sign of ADHD, which needs to be adequately addressed. Fear of weight gain and tendency to maintain weight below average with unfair means like repeated vomiting, purging, use of appetite suppressants, and laxatives may lead to troublesome physical complications with increased mortality, especially in girls, indicating eating disorders.

Finally, getting help is crucial if your child tries to harm or kill themselves or even talks about doing so. Suicide is a considerable risk among kids with mental health disorders, and parents can do a lot to keep kids safe.

The main aim of the list is to help separate warning signs of illness from typical moodiness and occasional disruptive behaviour, such as defiance, aggression, and impulsivity.

The warning signs for psychiatric illness are often differentiated from behaviour that’s not problematic by how long the behaviour lasts, whether it impacts a child’s functioning, or whether it affects others.

Warning signs to watch for:

  • Persistent feeling of sadness and withdrawal from routine activities for more than two weeks.
  • Thoughts of self-injurious behaviour, planning to hurt, harm or kill self and acting upon such plans. (Deliberate Self Harm)
  • Sudden extreme fear without any apparent reason, along with palpitations, tachycardia and shortness of breath
  • Quickly picking fights and holding intentions to hurt others 
  • Loss of control over self may lead to harm to self or other
  • Fear of weight gain, especially in girls, lead to reduce food intake, excessive exercise, purging or using a laxative or other drugs 
  • Excessive worries about trivial issues result in disrupted activities of daily living.
  • Difficulty in maintaining focus and attention leads to poor scholastic and academic performance.
  • Indulgence in substance-taking behaviour
  • Drastic and rapid fluctuations in mood result in problems in relationships
  • Significant changes in their behaviour or personality 

Children and young adults show occasional disruptive behaviours, which is normal. Sporadic instances of impulsive outbursts, defiance, aggression and impulsivity should not be construed as mental disorders. Nevertheless, these should be handled with prudence and utmost care. 

It’s a myth that children are resilient by nature. Children are not born resilient. Undoubtedly, some biological factors influence resilience, but their responsive interaction with parents, adults and important persons in their surroundings is the deciding factor in shaping their resilience and enhancing their strength. It is the supportive role of parents, teachers, coaches and other adults around them, making them more resilient and able to cope with hardships in life. 

If you have doubt or feel that your child is suffering due to some mental health issue or is having a tough time dealing with problems, fulfil your supportive role. Positive support from parents, teachers and a healthy environment are the best tools to build resilience in children to better cope with life’s challenges. 

Unlike physical pain or ailment, mental agony can’t be seen and can only be inferred through a detailed behavioural analysis and interaction with the concerned person. Consider getting help from a mental health professional for timely and appropriate assistance.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed