child with a behavior mental disorder

12 Signs Your Child May Have a Behavior Disorder

May 8, 2024
by Dr. Francisco Navarro

Understanding your child’s behavior is key to supporting their growth and happiness. Sometimes, behaviors may signal they need extra help. This guide outlines signs to watch for, aiming to help you better understand your child’s needs.


Emotional Signs


Frequent Tantrums or Emotional Outbursts

It’s normal for children to have occasional tantrums, but when these emotional outbursts become more frequent or intense than what’s typical for their age, it might be time to take a closer look. This could indicate they’re struggling to process their emotions in a healthy way.


Excessive Fear, Anxiety, or Sadness

All children experience fear, anxiety, or sadness at times. However, if your child seems to be overwhelmed by these emotions regularly, to the point where it interferes with their daily activities, it could be a sign they need additional support to manage these feelings.


Difficulty Managing Emotions

If calming down after getting upset is consistently difficult for your child, or usual comfort methods won’t console them, this might suggest they’re finding it particularly challenging to regulate their emotions.

mental health behavior disorder in children infographic

Social Signs


Challenges in Making or Keeping Friends

Friendship plays a crucial role in a child’s social development. Difficulties in forming or maintaining friendships, including a lack of interest in social interactions, might indicate struggles with social skills or anxiety in social settings.


Struggles with Understanding Social Cues

If your child often misreads or seems oblivious to social cues — like facial expressions, tone of voice, or body language — it could suggest they’re having trouble navigating social situations, which is an essential part of interacting with peers.


Behavioral Signs


Defiance or Opposition to Authority

While it’s common for children to test boundaries, consistently showing strong resistance to following rules or directions from adults can be a sign of underlying challenges with authority and may require further assistance from an expert.


Aggressive Behavior Towards Others or Self

Aggression can manifest in many ways, including hitting, biting, or self-harm. When these behaviors occur more frequently or intensely than is typical for the child’s developmental stage, it might signal they’re experiencing internal struggles.


Compulsive Actions or Rituals

Engaging in repetitive behaviors, such as handwashing, counting, or arranging objects in a very specific manner, might indicate your child is trying to cope with anxiety or other emotional challenges through these actions.

Academic Signs


Sudden Decline in School Performance

A noticeable change in how your child is doing in school, such as dropping grades or a loss of interest in learning, can be concerning. It may reflect difficulties with concentration, understanding the material, or other stressors affecting their academic abilities.


Difficulty Staying Focused or Completing Tasks

Struggles with attention and concentration can significantly impact a child’s learning and task completion. If staying focused on an activity or following through with assignments is consistently challenging, it might suggest they need strategies to help manage their focus.


Physical Signs


Changes in Eating or Sleeping Patterns

Significant shifts in appetite or sleep patterns, whether it’s eating much more or less than usual or experiencing frequent sleep disturbances, can be indicative of emotional or psychological stress.


Frequent Complaints of Physical Ailments

Regularly voicing concerns about physical discomforts like headaches or stomachaches, especially in the absence of a medical condition, might suggest your child is experiencing physical symptoms related to stress or anxiety.


Schedule an Evaluation With ResWell

Recognizing these signs in your child doesn’t automatically mean there’s a serious problem, but they can be indicators that your child might benefit from additional support. Observing your child’s behavior across different settings and over time is crucial. If you find that several of these signs are present and persisting, reaching out for a professional evaluation can be a constructive step forward. 

Scheduling an evaluation with one of our providers at ResWell could provide the guidance and support your child needs to thrive. Remember, seeking help is a proactive and positive step towards ensuring your child’s well-being and future happiness.