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All kiddies have tantrums.
However, the normal development of the brain and subsequently the emotional and social development of our children can sometimes mask other, sometimes more serious problems. Mental health conditions and corresponding symptoms in children are often very similar to normal behaviours expected in childhood. I am sure we have all witnessed tantrums, clinginess, emotional outbursts, fear of new people or places. And it’s certainly true that most children will exhibit these behaviours at some point…Which makes identifying more serious mental health conditions all the more challenging.
Well, firstly it’s important to identify some of the behaviours to watch out for. But please be aware that all by themselves these can also be considered very normal actions and reactions in our children. Mental health conditions also present differently in adults than they do in children.
Often the behaviours we would describe as challenging or even “naughty” (not my word, but one that is often bandied about) are the ones that can signify there is something else occurring for our kids.
If you think your child displays some of these behaviours, every single one of these behaviours can be considered normal. I mean, depending on the kind of day we are all having, we might display some or many of these behaviours. So please don’t worry, ups and downs in resilience and mood are very normal aspects of being a human. These normal behaviours don’t need to be addressed with a professional. However, the point I’m wanting to get across is to watch for when these normal behaviours start to impacting your child’s life. Or represent a marked change from their “usual” behaviours. These prolonged or intense behaviours are flags that your child needs support. This list of behaviours does not form a diagnosis. However, they are ways that your child might externally express their distress to you.
Rachel is a Registered Psychologist and parenting expert who has worked extensively with children (birth-18) and families in general counselling, play therapy, women’s refuge, education settings, children’s care homes, domestic violence and trauma counselling. She has a book “Teaching Kids to be Kind” due out in November 2019