It’s inevitable that your child will misbehave from time to time as they begin to develop their identity and look to find their place in the world. It’s also common for children to act out in times of stress, such as a major life change like a divorce, death in the family, or a new sibling. With time and through processing the emotions surrounding this change, the behavior should go away. However, sometimes, the misbehavior is indicative of something more serious: a behavioral disorder. At Dr. Angela Reiter & Associates, our therapists understand how concerning it is when your child is acting in unexpected ways. While you may be very concerned about their well-being, know that there is hope.

Behavioral Disorder Diagnosis

In order to be diagnosed with a behavioral disorder, the pattern of hostile behavior has to have lasted for over six months, and be inappropriate given the age of your child. It is rare for a child under age 5 to be diagnosed with a behavioral disorder, though they may begin to display certain symptoms earlier.

Some behaviors that are warning signs for a disorder include:

  • Self-harm
  • Threatening others
  • Physical fights
  • Damaging property
  • Lying
  • Stealing
  • Truancy
  • Drinking, doing drugs, or smoking at an early age
  • Sexual activity at an early age
  • Hostility towards authority
  • Frequent arguing/temper tantrums
  • Inattention
  • Hyperactivity

Common Behavioral Disorders

The most common behavioral disorders in children are:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Learning disorders
  • Conduct disorders

How We Can Help

When a child’s behavior poses a harm to themselves or others, it’s important to promptly address the issue with a counselor. At Dr. Angela Reiter & Associates, we have extensive experience as child psychologists, and can help identify and treat behavioral disorders. If you are concerned about your child, contact us for a free 15-minute phone consultation.