Back to homepage

Spotting the Signs of Emotional Issues in Children

Child emotional issues, Child Depression, child counseling, carolina counseling services, north fayetteville office,Fayetteville NC

Spotting the Signs of Emotional Issues in Children


Children are as vulnerable to emotional issues and conditions as those who are older. Like adults, they can be faced with an array of symptoms and debilitating effects, resulting in their young lives being more difficult. These challenges can stand in the way of having a fulfilling and healthy life. If they can be provided with early interventions or treatment, the chance of improving the outlook of their condition can be much greater. This underscores the value of early diagnosis and prompt treatment.

What may run counter to early diagnosis and treatment, though, is the fact that the symptoms are not that easy to spot among children. Many parents unfamiliar with depression, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), eating disorders, learning disorders, etc. may easily miss the signs of the conditions, being mostly nonspecific.

When unable to recognize the symptoms, children won’t receive the treatment they need. Not only will their health and early life be compromised, the condition can worsen or extend beyond their childhood. Spotting the signs can be challenging, but it isn’t a hopeless endeavor because there are behavioral health professionals who can help.


Emotional Conditions are Not Uncommon

 Emotional conditions have high prevalence in children. Some references quote 10 percent. Other credible sources, such as the U.S. Surgeon General say that the stats could be as high as 20 percent or one in every five children. WebMD voices what many may just speculate – that the high number of children with emotional conditions is a big concern in the United States. It said that “Nearly 5 million children in America have some type of emotional illness.”

 The varying statistics may reflect the different insights concerning children’s emotional issues. Despite the inconsistent figures, not every child may have a full-blown, severe case. It is, nonetheless, productive not to ignore them. No one can tell how serious a condition is unless the child has been properly diagnosed by the right professional. If recognizing the signs is a concern, seeking help from a professional is important.

Despite the medical breakthroughs and technological advancements, many physical and emotional health conditions remain in the midst. You will be surprised to know that as many as 75 percent or three out of four of the affected children are not receiving the treatment they need. This is a clear sign that the public still needs further education concerning the matter. This every parent’s challenge.


The Parental Challenge

 Experts acknowledge the fact that children are not easy patients for a doctor or therapist. Unable to verbalize how they feel, they cannot accurately tell a professional what’s going on. It is, therefore, common that they will rely on their parents to make decisions for them. If a parent is not prepared for the task, there is a strong likelihood that the signs will be missed, and the proper treatment not provided.

Suspecting nonspecific behaviors, such as irritability/anger, not eating or sleeping properly, clumsiness, or being overly “clingy,” to be signs and symptoms is not easy.  These are, after all, behaviors that even emotionally healthy children exhibit. Because the range of accepted behaviors among children is broad, it is doubly difficult to say that a child is emotionally troubled or just having a routine challenge. A lot of children will have issues and challenges that need to be resolved. Many children will outgrow or be able to adjust in time, but not everyone. If your child is sinking deep into the pervasive, intense and seemingly unreasonable behaviors, there could be more to it than just a “usual,” juvenile challenge.

It is true that “being difficult” can be a typical growing pain that will likely be temporary. Do not, however, deny the possibility of a behavioral or emotional issue or justify that the behavior is okay. The proactive stance is to validate your suspicion. See a professional. If you are worried about what others may say, think of your child. This is not the time to delay. Deciding fast can spell the difference in how soon your child can recover from the condition.


What to Look Out For

 The path toward an improved life for your child starts with your ability to spot the signs and symptoms of emotional conditions. It will be advantageous to know the hallmark or defining signs and symptoms of each condition, particularly those that are highly prevalent among youth. For instance, the hallmark symptom of depression is sadness. Children with ADHD are typically inattentive, impulsive and/or hyperactive. Meanwhile, those who are gripped with ODD are usually unruly and disobedient.

Be aware that many symptoms are non-specific. Prompted by the recognized need, the U.S. Surgeon General requested experts to make a list of the early signs of common emotional conditions to spot among children. The Journal of Pediatrics, publishes this 11 warning signs of emotional troubles among children:


  1. Feeling very sad or withdrawn for two or more weeks
  2. Seriously trying to harm or kill oneself, or planning to do so
  3. Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart or fast breathing
  4. Involved in multiple fights, using a weapon, or wanting to hurt others
  5. Severe, unruly behavior that can hurt themselves or others
  6. Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight
  7. Intensive worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
  8. Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still that puts them in physical danger or causes school failure
  9. Repeated use of drugs or alcohol
  10. Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  11. Drastic changes in behavior or personality


Knowing the signs and symptoms, though, may not guarantee that you will be able to spot them right away. It is widely held that the symptoms or their pervasiveness and intensities may vary from child to child. Go with your intuition. If you notice that something is “off,” don’t wait too long to validate your suspicion. Seek help with haste.


The Red Flags to Spot

Not only are symptoms difficult to recognize because they are nonspecific. There are also symptoms that are unique or unusual. Thus, part of the parents’ difficulty is how to interpret manifestations that are unique. Some manifestations that you may want to be assessed are anger, confusion and clumsiness. Pay attention, particularly when these are oddly excessive; like clumsiness. Children starting out in life can be clumsy at times as they grow and adjust. Is it time for you to worry when your little one “knocks into” the things in their path? While this can be expected and may not necessarily indicate anxiety, it would be beneficial not to take it lightly, especially when it isn’t age-appropriate anymore. If clumsiness is excessive or has not waned in time, see a therapist. It is also worthy to do the same when your child is constantly having meltdowns/tantrums or other unusual behaviors.

Other areas you want to pay attention to is the delayed development of their language, cognitive and motor skills. Are they having intellectual and perceptual difficulties, incapability to focus and memory issues? Is self-harm being manifested or are they not developing loving relationships with the family? Are they losing or gaining weight too rapidly, oversleeping or not sleeping well, or being overresponsive or unresponsive to different changes in their environment? Watch out! While any of these may not necessarily mean anything serious, it is possible that these signs may indicate that they need help.


Attending to Your Child’s Unique Needs

 Children cannot always come right out and verbalize their feelings and thoughts. Often the ones having emotional challenges will reveal their turmoil by misbehavior. Rather than applying harsh discipline, which may not work if indeed they have an emotional, behavioral or learning condition, seek professional from a qualified counselor/therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC. A qualified therapist can help you provide your child’s unique needs.

 They can assess the symptoms and tell you with certainty if, indeed, they have an emotional condition. They can also provide therapy, which could be the key to your child’s early recovery  from an emotional issue. Stop playing guessing games and call CCS-North Fayetteville Office to help you with your uncertainties; rather than spend sleepless nights unnecessarily worrying if your little one needs individualized care.

Since the family is the first environment that a child experiences and since their emotional health is closely connected to the unit, seek family counseling. Family counseling can help ensure that they will grow in a nurturing environment. With your love and the expert help of a counselor independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC, there is a good chance that they can have and enjoy a happy childhood. Call today!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Cumberland, Bladen and Sampson Counties, NC
Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Sliver City NC, Linden NC, Bowmore NC, Autryville NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Pineview NC, Rex NC, Lemon Springs NC, Johnsonville NC, Eastover NC, Stedman NC and Wade, NC
Zip Codes: 28311, 28395, 28390, 28356

Recent Comments



    • No categories