Don’t Miss the Boat on Your Child’s Behavior

Don’t Miss the Boat on Your Child’s Behavior

J.P. Morgan attended the launch of the Titanic in 1911; he even had his own suite and promenade on board. But when it came time for the doomed ship to set off for America, J.P. decided to skip the trip. Sometimes it’s not so bad to miss the boat! When it comes to a child exhibiting emotional or behavioral problems, however, parents who miss that boat can end up regretting it.

A national poll on children’s health from the University of Michigan has found that when kids ages 5 to 17 have temper tantrums, attention problems or trouble organizing homework, about 50% of parents don’t mention these behavioral problems to the child’s doctor. Mom and Dad either think their kid is just “going through a stage,” or such behaviors don’t signal a medical problem. But the researchers warn that those types of issues could be signs of bigger problems to come: depression, anxiety disorder, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and even substance abuse. So, talk to your doctor if:

  • Your child has temper tantrums that become destructive and/or happen after age 3.
  • Your child is often overly worried or anxious.
  • Your child can’t cope with organizing homework.

And, if your child starts developing headaches, stomachaches or a sleep or eating disorder, have him or her evaluated by a child psychiatrist. Getting appropriate intervention early could help your child thrive and avoid health problems (from being overweight to heart disease) associated with emotional distress. Don’t miss the boat on this one.

Medically reviewed in July 2018.

More On Children's Health

Keep Kids Away From Sports Drinks

article

Keep Kids Away From Sports Drinks
Gatorade was invented by the University of Florida Gators’ medical team in 1965—it’s dehydrating to play sports in the tropics. But it wasn’t until 19...
Keeping Kids in the Game by Playing Them

article

Keeping Kids in the Game by Playing Them
According to a participation survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations, over one million (1,085,272) high school students, i...
Smart Help for Your Child's Constipation

video

Smart Help for Your Child's Constipation
Preventing and treating constipation is important, even for kids. In this Health Smarts video, pediatrician Dr. Tanya Remer Altmann shares her favorit...
Why Are Children More Comforted By Their Mother's Voice?

video

Why Are Children More Comforted By Their Mother's Voice?
Familiarity is key for children more comforted by their mother's voice according to Dr. Robin Miller. Watch this video to find out why that is.