When to Seek Help for Your Child
are usually the first to recognize that their child has a
problem with emotions or behavior. Still, the decision to
seek professional help can be difficult and painful for a
parent. The first step is to gently try to talk to the child.
An honest open talk about feelings can often help. Parents
may choose to consult with the child's physicians, teachers,
members of the clergy, or other adults who know the child
well. These steps may resolve the problems for the child and
are a few signs which may indicate that a child and adolescent
psychiatric evaluation will be useful.
fall in school performance.
grades in school despite trying very hard.
- A lot
of worry or anxiety, as shown by regular refusal to go to
school, go to sleep or take part in activities that are
normal for the child's age.
fidgeting; constant movement beyond regular playing.
disobedience or aggression (longer than 6 months) and provocative
opposition to authority figures.
unexplainable temper tantrums.
change in school performance.
to cope with problems and daily activities.
changes in sleeping and/or eating habits.
shown by sustained, prolonged negative mood and attitude,
often accompanied by poor appetite, difficulty sleeping
or thoughts of death.
of alcohol and/or drugs.
fear of becoming obese with no relationship to actual body
weight, purging food or restricting eating.
of self-harm or harm to others.
or self destructive behavior.
outbursts of anger, aggression.
to run away.
or non-aggressive consistent violation of rights of others;
opposition to authority, truancy, thefts, or vandalism.
thoughts and feelings; and unusual behaviors.
persist over an extended period of time and especially if
others involved in the child's life are concerned, consultation
with a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other clinician
specifically trained to work with children may be helpful.
Facts for Families, #25 "Know Where to Seek Help for
#29 "Children's Major Psychiatric Disorders,"
#52 "Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation,"
#57 and #58 Normal Adolescents the Early and Later Years.
Your Child (1998 Harper Collins)/Your Adolescent
(1999 Harper Collins)
#24 Updated 9/99
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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