Distinguishing Behavioral Disorder, Emotional Disorder or Mental Health

Among all the dilemmas facing a parent of a child with emotional or behavioral problems, the first question whether the child’s behavior is sufficiently different to require a comprehensive evaluation by professionals may be the most troublesome of all. Even when a child exhibits negative behaviors, members of a family may not all agree on whether the behaviors are serious.

For instance, children who have frequent temper outbursts or who destroy toys may appear to have a serious problem to some parents, while others see the same behavior as asserting independence or showing leadership skills.

Every child faces emotional difficulties from time to time, as do adults. Feelings of sadness, loss, or emotional extremes are part of growing up. Conflicts between parents and children are also inevitable as children struggle from the terrible twos through adolescence to develop their own identities. These are normal changes in behavior due to growth and development. Such problems can be more common in times of change for the family, such as the death of a grandparent or family member, a new child, or a move. Generally, these kinds of problems tend to fade on their own or with limited visits to a counselor or other mental health professional as children adjust to the changes in their lives.

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Problems in School

If school problems aren’t picked up and addressed early, they can be bad for children in the long term.

To start with, school problems might contribute to poor self-esteem. In the longer term, they can affect your child’s mental health.

School problems can also lead to an increased risk of dropping out. Children who have academic problems might be more likely to avoid school in the short term and to leave school early in the long term. These children might also be less likely to do further education or training in the future.

Another consequence of school problems is that children can get tagged with unhelpful labels like ‘uninterested’, ‘easily distracted’, ‘lazy’ or ‘doesn’t try hard enough’. Young people often start to believe these labels and think that they’re ‘troublemakers’ or ‘misfits’. All these labels suggest that children are to blame for school problems. But school problems are often a sign that children aren’t getting enough support.

Finally, when children fit in at school and feel like they belong, it’s good for their well-being. But children who have problems at school can experience a reduced sense of belonging and well-being.

Causes of school problems

Some of the more common causes of school problems are underlying learning difficulties or learning disabilities – like dyslexia – or behavioral or emotional issues. But there are many other reasons why a young person might not be achieving academically.

Personal factors might include:

  • chronic illness
  • mental health issues like depression or anxiety
  • experiences of trauma
  • difficulties with self-esteem, communication skills or social skills
  • difficulties with listening, concentrating or sitting still.

Trust Issues Where Do They Come From?

Often, issues with trust arise based on experiences and interactions in the early phases of life, primarily childhood. A person who did not receive adequate nurturing, affection, and acceptance or who was abused, violated, or mistreated as a child will often find difficulty in establishing trust as an adult.

Likewise, adolescent experiences of either social rejection or acceptance may shape a person’s ability to trust those around him or her. For instance, if someone is mocked, teased, or treated as an outcast by his or her peers during the teenage years, this will influence later relationships. Being betrayed or belittled by others impacts self esteem, which also plays a significant role in a person’s capacity to trust. Basically, those who experience low self-esteem will be less likely to put their trust in those around them than those who are more self-assured.

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