The fact of the matter is that kids and adults have quirks, strange habits, odd ways of thinking and odds ways of behaving. Kids may go through phases of going through something that is considered strange to parents but in the end, they may end up outgrowing the phase and turn out just fine.
The other thing is that just because kids and adults have some traits that may be considered odd or not even "acceptable" to society does not mean that there is anything wrong with them at all. It all depends on if they are kind to others and treat others with respect and they can function just fine in this crazy world despite their quirks. In that case, there is absolutely nothing to worry about- especially if your child displays some odd behaviors but are functioning just fine and are respectful otherwise.
The way to determine whether there is something serious that could be behind questionable behavior in kids is whether or not it is getting into the way of them functioning in life, and if their socialization and school work are being affected as well. Then if so, the issue must be looked at and examined thoroughly by professionals because the fact of the matter is that many kids have mental illnesses that are easily mistaken for something else. S
o let's take this opportunity to 15 symptoms of mental illnesses in kids that can easily be missed or mistaken for something that may be quite benign when in fact it is not.
15 Can't Stop Eating (Or Won't Eat At All)
If your child is gaining weight because of having a serious love for food, then it is the parents' responsibility for monitoring their kids' food intake. Sometimes kids love certain foods so much to the point that they will overeat and if they don't end up getting sick, they will gain weight.
However, if your child is constantly trying to sneak food from the pantry even while you are trying to monitor your child's food intake- and your child is very upset about the fact that you no longer buy sweets or carby foods, then that is not a simple case of your child just loving food to the point of being unable to control themselves.
According to Medical Daily, kids that are overeating may have depression even if the other symptoms associated with depression aren't there - such as prolonged sadness.
Also, according to National Institutes of Health, 80% of people with mental illnesses like depression are overweight or obese.
At the same token, kids who don't eat much and as a result lose weight may be suffering from depression as well. Either way, a major change in appetite and appearance is a sign that it is time to make an appointment to talk to the pediatrician.
14 Irrational Fear Of Vomiting
You know that kids become anxious and cry whenever they feel like they are going to throw up, and same with many adults! In fact, it wouldn't be normal for kids not to react if they weren't feeling well. However, when a child is avoiding to eat because of always having the fear that they will vomit- or runs away to another room if a family member even says that they are feeling sick is a sign that there is a big problem.
Parents may think that their kids who display this kind of behavior are being overly dramatic. The fact of the matter is that kids who have this extreme fear of vomiting are dealing with a serious and very common problem- which is emetophobia. I also have emetophobia and I have had it since I was four years old which was caused by a frightening incident. It is a phobia that plagues many people according to ChildMind.org.
Emetophobia on its own without getting into the way of the individual's ability to function is not a huge concern. However, if the child or anyone refuses to eat due to the possibility of becoming ill, or refuses to leave home due to the chance that someone could be sick that they encounter- then the issue needs to be tackled!
13 Confusing TV, Dreams, Or Make Believe With Reality
Kids can have such incredible imaginations and they will make up stories when they are very young and it is a common thing for kids to have imaginary friends. Parents may even think this is cute when kids talk about their imaginary friends or tell a made-up story. And in most cases, it is cute and a sign that kids are developing their creative side- and in that case, it is quite harmless and even a good thing.
However, if the child is at a point where they really believe what happened in their dreams and what happened on a television show they watched as reality- then that it might be a cause for concern.
It is actually very concerning. According to LiveScience, kids who not only tell made-up stories but truly believe what they are saying- that is a sign that they could be suffering from childhood schizophrenia. If you are unsure and you hear your child telling a made-up story- ask your child if it really happened. If the child acknowledges that to be silly- then it is normal childhood stuff. Otherwise, it is time to make an appointment with the doctor.
12 Poor Personal Hygiene
It is a known fact that kids don't always take the best care of themselves whenever it comes to their appearance and even hygiene, as we have to basically at times beg them to shower or brush their teeth- because they are too lazy to do it themselves and are not mature enough to realize why it is necessary to do.
However, if kids got to a point where they began caring for their hygiene and appearance and then all of a sudden stopped grooming themselves well- they didn't become lazy about their appearance and cleanliness overnight. That never happens. If these kids are going out with their hair that has not been brushed, wearing dirty and old clothing with holes in it and are not brushing their teeth- then there is an underlying issue such as possibly depression or even schizophrenia being the cause for that according to LiveScience. That is the time to make an appointment with the pediatrician if this is happening more and more.
11 Won't Sleep Through The Night
It is a common issue for kids to have problems with sleeping, and sometimes kids go through phases when they don't sleep that well because they may be overly stimulated during the day. Parents who have kids that are not sleeping well due to being overly stimulated tend to not allow their kids to watch late night television and take their devices away after a certain time. This way, they will be less stimulated and will be more willing to sleep.
However, according to Children's MD, the sleeping difficulties that children may have may not necessarily have much to do with being overly stimulated. They could have anxiety, and the same source gives parents tips on how to help kids sleep better like keeping kids on a sleep routine and maybe even giving them melatonin.
Though, if these kids are still having a hard time sleeping due to anxiety, an appointment must be made with the pediatrician.
10 Trouble Speaking And Socializing
There are many kids nowadays that may be late speakers and may not be overly social meaning that they could be shy, but then again maybe the fact that these kids may have an impairment in speech as well as in their social skills could mean other issues are coming into play. You may even think that kids who have problems with their speech and social skills may be on the autism spectrum as well which must be tackled regardless.
However, according to LiveScience, that even may not necessarily be the case as even though plenty of kids who do display these signs are on the autism spectrum- however in some cases childhood schizophrenia can be a cause for speech delays and impairments as well as social impairments. Either way, kids who are displaying these traits need to be properly assessed and parents cannot always assume that they have autism either so they end up receiving the right kind of treatment.
9 Can't Sit Still
Kids can be busy and some are most definitely busier than others! Sometimes kids will have boundless energy which confuses parents on how it is possible to keep going without burning out. Toddlers that have plenty of energy are just being busy and that is normal for them.
However, if a child that is approaching first grade and is just as energetic as they were when they were younger and the fact that they are on the go is preventing them from paying attention- then they are not just fireballs.
According to LiveScience, kids that are extremely hyperactive likely have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and must be treated in the best way.
Many parents hate the idea of putting their newly diagnosed kids on medications and there are times when it is necessary, however, there are other approaches on how to treat ADHD. In some cases, kids with the condition may not be physically overactive but may have a difficult time concentrating which was already explained. Either way the best course of action for treatment needs to be in place to help kids with ADHD succeed.
8 Severe Separation Anxiety
It is normal for babies and toddlers to have separation anxiety which is actually a good sign that they are able to form bonds. And the separation anxiety is expected to pass as the toddler matures and grows and reaches the school-aged phase. However, if kids who are already in elementary school are displaying separation anxiety then that can be indicative of a serious issue.
According to RileyChildrens.org, kids that are older and display separation anxiety are likely suffering from an anxiety disorder which needs to be addressed right away.
There are ways to help older kids with this issue handle being separated from a loved one. However, if your child is older and is displaying these signs, then you must make an appointment with the child's pediatrician and a child psychologist will likely be working with you and your child to come up with strategies to help make the situation easier or disappear altogether.
7 Can't Seem To Concentrate
Sometimes, kids, have a hard time concentrating, and the same goes for adults. If they are bored then they will simply not pay attention. However, if a child is unable to focus for long periods and is forgetful as a result, the child is not being lazy, purposely forgetful or even disinterested.
According to Medical Daily, kids who are having a difficult time concentrating in school or even becomes easily distracted while watching a television show may have ADHD or even depression. If your kids' teachers are reporting back to you about the fact that your child is not paying attention in class, and you even notice instances at home- then it is time to book an appointment with your child's pediatrician because if the child is lacking concentration daily- then your child is not purposely being forgetful or disinterested.
There is a good chance that your child has an unlying issue that is the cause of their inability to concentrate and remember things.
6 Constantly In Fights
Kids can get into fights, and some kids are naturally hot-tempered but will not necessarily start fights with others. These hot-tempered kids will show that trait if they are triggered. However, if your child is constantly getting into fights with others for no apparent reason, then that is problematic.
According to LiveScience, kids that not only get into frequent fights but bully others may have an underlying mental illness. It is possible that these kids may have bipolar disorder, or even oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). It is even more of a concern if they are harming their peers and small animals because that could be an indication of a serious mental illness. Kids that hurt others whether they get into fights with them for no reason or do even worse must be evaluated by a professional and treated accordingly. The earlier the issue is tackled the better because the child will have a good chance at living a relatively stable life.
5 Persistent Nightmares
Having nightmares occasionally is normal. Kids have may have those at times and adults will as well. The occasional nightmare is nothing to be worried about. Sometimes after seeing a scary television show before going to sleep can be the culprit. However, if a child is having persistent nightmares then that is worrisome.
According to the USA News, kids who are constantly having nightmares may be dealing with post-traumatic stress (PTSD) and parents may not even be aware.
If a child sees something frightening without the parents knowing because the child was too afraid to say something- then that would certainly cause PTSD in kids. The other scary possibility is if kids are having nightmares that are happening too often, that could be a sign that they may be dealing with psychosis later on according to the same source. Either way, having persistent nightmares is not normal and the issue must be looked into by a professional.
4 Rather Be Alone
It is normal for kids to want to be left alone as it is important that they do have their privacy when they need it. As long as your child is not spending too much time alone and away from the family- there is nothing to worry about. However, if your child is spending hours away from the family and is always in their room- then your child is not simply being unfriendly.
Additionally, if you are receiving reports from your child's teacher about the fact that they don't show a desire to interact with the other kids- then there is an underlying problem. According to LiveScience, if a child is withdrawn for prolonged periods of time, that is a possible sign that the child may have depression. It is also possible that the child may be on the autism spectrum. Either way, a withdrawn child must be referred to a specialist by their pediatrician.
3 Extreme Mood Swings
Kids and adults are known to have the odd mood swing here and there. I mean, for instance, a child could be happy for a while until encountering something that the parent may not be aware of that could turn the happy-switch off- which means the child would be in a bad mood for several hours. You can agree that the same applies to you.
According to Medial Daily, if kids are experiencing severe mood swings for an unknown reason and it persists for more than two weeks at a time - parents need to contact a professional.
A child that has these extreme changes in mood are not simply moody. There is likely an underlying mental illness like bipolar disorder that must be looked into right away. Kids and adults that have bipolar disorder and are not treated properly can get into some serious trouble. The earlier this is tackled, the easier time the child will have in life.
2 Constant Disobedience
Kids can be disobedient at times and as frustrating as that is to parents, it is usually their way of exerting their independence. If the child is usually good-natured but has a few moments of not listening and obeying parental commands- then there is nothing to worry about. These kids are testing authority and exerting their independence here and there and that is actually normal and healthy.
However, according to LiveStrong, if the child is persistently disobedient then the child is not a "bad child" like parents may believe for understandable reasons since the child is always going against the rules. There could possibly be a conduct disorder or the child may have an oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) which needs to be tackled right away. If not, then the child will not be controlled and will even get into trouble with the law. Kids that are never obedient are not "bad", but intervention needs to happen right away so that their chances of being well-rounded people later in life increases.
1 Crippled By Fear
Having some childhood fears like being afraid of the dark or the 'boogie man' is normal. In fact, it would be worrisome if kids didn't show some fears that they would later on in life outgrow. However, when a fear becomes quite excessive, then it is time to become concerned.
According to Medical Daily, if normal-aged fears become so excessive to the point that they are not able to function - then that is a serious worry. Some parents may just think that their kids who display a high-degree of being fearful as being overly sensitive. However, according to that same source, excessive fears is a sign that the child probably has an anxiety disorder which must be addressed by a professional.
Parents who see this trait in their kids must make an appointment to discuss this issue with the pediatrician.
The pediatrician will refer them to a child psychologist who will talk about the best course of action. But excessive fears in kids is not normal and must be looked into right away.