All children experience anxiety. Anxiety in children is expected and normal at specific times in development. For example, from approximately age 7 months through the preschool years, healthy youngsters may show intense distress (anxiety) at times of separation from their parents or other persons with whom they are close.
Self-injury is the act of deliberately destroying body tissue, at times to change a way of feeling. Self-injury is seen differently by groups and cultures within society. This appears to have become more popular lately, especially in adolescents.
Several recent tragedies have involved children shooting and killing individuals after making threats. When this occurs, everyone asks themselves, “How could this happen?” and “Why didn’t we take the threat seriously?”
Helping a child to behave in an acceptable manner is a necessary part of raising the child well. Discipline varies at different ages. There is no one right way to raise children, but child and adolescent psychiatrists offer the following general guidelines.
Panic disorder is a common and treatable disorder. Children and adolescents with panic disorder have unexpected and repeated periods of intense fear or discomfort, along with other symptoms such as a racing heartbeat or feeling short of breath. These periods are called “panic attacks” and last minutes to hours. Panic attacks frequently develop without warning.
“Conduct disorder” is a complicated group of behavioral and emotional problems in youngsters. Children and adolescents with this disorder have great difficulty following rules and behaving in a socially acceptable way. They are often viewed by other children, adults and social agencies as “bad” or delinquent, rather than mentally ill.
Young children (ages 4-5) often make up stories and tell tall tales. This is normal activity because they enjoy hearing stories and making up stories for fun. These young children may blur the distinction between reality and fantasy.
Children as young as preschoolers can show violent behavior. Parents and other adults who witness the behavior may be concerned, however, they often hope that the young child will “grow out of it.” Violent behavior in a child at any age always needs to be taken seriously. It should not be dismissed as “just a phase they’re going through!”