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If I am concerned about mental, behavioral, or emotional symptoms in my young child, how do I know if my child's problems are serious?


Many everyday stresses cause changes in behavior. The birth of a sibling may cause a child to temporarily act much younger. It is important to recognize such behavior changes, but also to differentiate them from signs of more serious problems. Problems deserve attention when they are severe, persistent, and impact on daily activities.

Seek help for your child if you observe problems such as changes in appetite or sleep, social withdrawal, or fearfulness; behavior that seems to slip back to an earlier phase such as bed-wetting; signs of distress such as sadness or tearfulness; self-destructive behavior such as head banging; or a tendency to have frequent injuries. In addition, it is essential to review the development of your child, any important medical problem he/she might have had, family history of mental disorders, as well as physical and psychological traumas or situations that may cause stress.

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Last Updated: 5/8/2008