are naturally concerned about the health and welfare of their
children. Many parents correctly and comfortably see their
youngster as normal. However, some other parents worry whether
their infant, child, or teenager has a problem. These worries
may be about various things, for example:
the child is developing
emotional well-being of the child
the child says, thinks, and feels
the child acts, for example, eating and sleeping patterns,
behavior at school, getting along with family and friends,
and coping with stress
and adolescent psychiatrists can help parents and families
sort out whether their child is normal. They usually interview
the child and ask the parents about the child's previous health
and behavior. They may also ask about how the family gets
along together. It is likely that infants, children, and teenagers
are normal when, at the appropriate age, they fully participate
in and enjoy their:
school, and/or work
within the family
with friends; and
first discuss their concerns about their child's normality
with a family member or friend, or with the child's personal
physician, school counselor or member of the clergy--who may
then refer the family to a child and adolescent psychiatrist.
He or she listens carefully to the parents and child and sorts
long-term factors that tend to lead to--or protect against-the
child's developing problems
short-term factors that set off the child's problem
factors causing these problems to persist
roles of other medical conditions; and
combinations of school learning with social and emotional
on the evaluation, the child and adolescent psychiatrist may:
the parents, explaining how they can enhance normal development
and be more effective in parenting
an activity or an educational program for the child, and/or
education for parents, which will support normal developmental
or arrange for brief counseling to help the child and parents
with minor developmental problems, stressful life situations
or difficulties due to the child's temperament
evaluation reveals a psychiatric disorder, the child and adolescent
psychiatrist will recommend a specific treatment program.
better than anyone else, know their child and know what is
usual behavior for their child. If you feel your child has
a problem, seek professional help. It is a very important
first step in knowing for sure whether there is a problem,
and if so, what measures will best help your child.
information see Facts for Families:
#25 Know Where to Seek Help for Your Child,
#52 Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation, and
#66 Helping Teenagers with Stress.
See also: Your Child (1998 Harper Collins)/Your
Adolescent (1999 Harper Collins).
#22 Updated 8/99
Family Resources wishes to thank the (AACAP) for giving
us permission to use this article.
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
represents over 6,900 child and adolescent psychiatrists
who are physicians with at least five years of additional
training beyond medical school in general (adult) and child
and adolescent psychiatry.
for Families© is developed and distributed by the American
Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP).
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