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A child showing signs of a behavioral disorder
Signs that Your Child Has Behavioral Disorders

Parents’ last wish is to discover their child has developmental delays. While some developmental delays reveal physical or genetic disorders, other developmental delays indicate behavioral disorders. Behavioral disorders reflect environmental factors, whereas mental or neurological disorders reflect genetic or medical factors. How do you determine your child has behavioral disorders? You will need to visit your pediatrician to determine if your child’s symptoms are from a biological or behavioral disorder. Most doctors will recommend psychological evaluations, but those can take months to start. Even after your child receives a diagnosis, you may disagree with the diagnosis. You can let your child see a BCBA (Behavioral Analyst with a Doctorate) before they receive the evaluation. Here are signs that your child has behavioral disorders. 

Emotional Signs 

One of the signs that your child has behavioral disorders is the lack of self-control. Impulsivity, temper tantrums, and argumentive obstinance indicate behavioral disorders. When children willingly indulge in behavior and are unaware of the consequences, they may not have appropriate discipline. Impulsivity paired with a willingness to submit may indicate a more neurological disorder. Constant frustration, irritability, rage, and confrontation are indicators that your child is emotionally distressed. Emotional distress hints their actions are behavioral disorders. 

A Regular Change In Behavior

When a child behaves one way in one environment and completely changes in another, the behavior comes into play. If a child consistently struggles despite the people caring for them, it shows their symptoms are harder to pinpoint. Children who are angels one minute and turbulent windstorms the next usually change based on the environment. Who wouldn’t be sweet when Grandma takes them out for ice cream and then turn ravenous when they have to go to school the next days? In this case, the behavior appears deliberate. Deliberate actions indicate the child has decided that this scenario calls for volatile action-an indication of a behavioral disorder. 

Behavioral Disorder: Mental Health Disorder or Lack of Discipline?

Behavioral disorders can vary severely from a lack of following through with age-appropriate expectations to dangerous behaviors like running away or harming animals. Severe behaviors may require psychiatric care. Usually, behavioral disorders where children display disturbing behaviors indicate problems at home, traumatic life events, or severe bullying or abuse from outside sources. Less severe behavioral disorders like shouting or acting abruptly or inappropriately usually show a lack of discipline or some disturbance in the child’s social development. (i.e., a preschool-aged child kept at home with no peer socialization during the Pandemic for a year struggles to adjust to life in the classroom). 

Steps to Take

Entry-level therapists or BCBA Doctorates can aid the child with discipline and behavioral problems. When the child’s behavior becomes life-altering or dangerous, you may need to opt for a psychiatric evaluation. Self-harm or inflicting intentional injury on others may require mental hospitalization. If your child is on any medications, this may result in outbursts. Unmedicated children behaving this way is highly unusual unless there is a mental health disorder. Other odd but non-malevolent behaviors most likely indicate a developmental delay. Seek behavioral therapy first, and if there is little to no change, consider a neuropsych evaluation to rule out other delays. To hear our recommendations for quality pediatricians in the Triangle of North Carolina, ask for Miss Christine at Triangle Learning Center.*

*Disclaimer- Triangle Learning Center and its associates make recommendations based on their experience taking children to local pediatricians. Our suggestions come from word-of-mouth recommendations from our parents and our children. Any advice on this blog relies on parental experience seeking assistance for their child’s behavior. We are not qualified to diagnose, prescribe, or direct you towards any course of treatment. Triangle Learning Center and its associates take no responsibility for your choice to follow through with the recommended course of action. Take our advice at your own risk. Seek out a pediatrician for appropriate diagnosis, treatments, and referrals.

Sources-Behavioral Disorder Symptoms, Causes, and Effects – PsychGuides.com

Symptom Checker – Child Mind Institute

Behavior or Conduct Problems in Children | CDC

Does My Child Have an Emotional or Behavioral Disorder? – Children’s Mental Health and Emotional or Behavioral Disorders Project (pacer.org)