Problem emotions in children
Most children display the full range of emotions (sadness, anger, worry, happiness, etc) and learn to effectively manage as they grow older. Some of these children may cry, get angry or worried more often than other kids and still navigate life with relative ease. Parenting an overly-emotional child can be concerning and frustrating at times but high emotionality does not mean your child is abnormal or suffering from a disorder.
Your child’s emotions warrant further evaluation once they begin to interfere significantly with daily life. For instance, if your child can’t seem to experience any positive feelings, or if their anxiety prevents school attendance, or perhaps their anger has become violent. If you are concerned about your child’s emotions, talk to a psychologist today.
Signs and symptoms of problematic emotions
- Often seems sad or fatigued
- Sudden or dramatic mood changes
- Excessive worry
- Panic attacks
- Intense rage and violent outbursts
- Overly sensitive
- Says “I am no good”, “I hate myself” or worse
What causes emotional problems in children?
A child’s ability to regulate emotions starts to develop early in life. As with most human factors, healthy emotional development is dependent on a complex balance of biological and environmental factors. For example, certain children are born with a genetic pre-disposition to anxiety or depression, which never eventuate within a well-supported and nurturing context. Meanwhile other children develop complex emotional disorders as a direct result of their environmental challenges.
Emotional disorders in children have been linked to a range of social, academic, cognitive, biological and environmental influences. Among the more common causes are brain factors (chemistry, cognition, damage), lifestyle factors (diet, sleep, exercise), social and academic problems, traumatic experiences and adverse parenting styles.
Assessment for emotional difficulties
Our evaluation of childhood emotional difficulties is usually included as part of a broader assessment of behavioural, cognitive, educational and/or social concerns. These assessments require a combination of parent and teacher interviews, questionnaires, child testing and observation.
A thorough child assessment takes time and skill but may be an important first step to achieving a better quality of life for your young one.
If your child is experiencing emotional difficulties in the absence of other significant behavioural, cognitive, academic and social issues, then Chology may not be the right service for you. We recommend that you seek therapy support, rather than a formal assessment.
If you're not quite sure how to support your child, give one of our experts a call today.
Which disorders affect emotions?
Learn more about childhood emotional disorders: