As children grow up, they go through difficult periods. One hand, they try to fit in with their peers, and on the other, they also fall out of fit with the people at home. They might go through temper tantrums, or withdrawal phases, periods of poor behavior or frustration. The onus falls back on us to be more receptive to their needs, identify behavioral changes in the child and help him cope with their growing period. For most children these phases last for a short duration and might not be a cause for concern. But if the child is having these bouts frequently and for a longer duration of time, it might be a sign of emotional disturbance.
Here are 5 signs of emotional disturbance in a child that you must not ignore-
If a child is too aggressive towards others, towards objects, pets, or even towards himself, yells, bites, kicks, hits, injures or pushes others or hurts himself, it could be a sign of emotional disturbance. Too much of hyperactivity in a child could also point to emotional disturbance. The child may be restless, prone to talking too much or interrupting conversation, disorganized, have an inability to sit still, have a short attention span, be forgetful and shows an inability to concentrate on tasks.
A sharp contrast to the above is total withdrawal. The child might seem fearful of others or situations, become anxious when meeting other people or going to new places or become reserved and withdrawn. It may go beyond the awkwardness or shyness that is so common to many kids in the growing years. Such changes in an otherwise normal child should be a cause of concern.
Children who throw temper tantrum beyond the toddler years, crying or laughing at inappropriate times, lying, stealing, difficulty in coping with situations that other children their age may not have difficulty coping are all signs of immaturity. It might also indicate emotional disturbance in a child.
4. Learning difficulties
This is not the same as a learning disability which happens due to disability of the brain to function normally. Here, the child may perform below his grade for no apparent reason and that cannot be explained by intellectual, health and sensory factors.
5. Eating disorder
If the child is suddenly eating too much or too little for no apparent reason, it could be a sign of emotional disturbance. There could be two extremes in eating behavior- either feeling of concern about body weight or shape and thus self starvation and dramatic loss of weight, or binge eating where the child eats excessively and does not know when to stop eating.
It is important that these signs are not neglected as the normal signs of growing up and an effort is made to take help of a medical practitioner to help the child work through his/her emotional and behavioral problems.
My name is Shubhangi Srikanth and I write under the pen name Titli. I started my blog “The Little Princess” and it helped me channel my thoughts in the proper direction. After having worked for more than 12 years in the Pharmaceutical and Banking sector, I now freelance as a content writer for medical and health websites. I have two adorable boys, who have taught me more about life than I could teach them. Being a mother is one of the most fulfilling roles of my life, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world!