Childhood emotional and behavioral problems – causes and effects

Short term childhood emotional problems

Since children often have more trouble than adults in knowing what is bothering them and in talking about some of their troubles.

They are more apt to express their emotional upsets through the way they behave than through what they say.

Most children have some symptoms of emotional problems some of the time. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have severe, long-lasting difficulties. They may be reacting only a short term strain. Such as new baby in the family or move to a different neighborhood, or to something that has happened that you may not know about.


It is hard for most parents to face the possibility that their child may have an emotional problem. There are many reasons for this, for instance, there are more the old superstitions that still are quoted to the effect that there is something shameful about emotional problems.

Modern science shows that upset feelings are to be understood and treated in much the same way that physical illness are to be understood and treated.

Although parents may blame themselves more for a child’s emotional upsets than for his physical ones. It is important to realize that there are many possible cause for emotional problems. These causes many have little to do with the way the parents have raised the child.

Types of emotional disturbances 

  • Severely shy children.
  • Serious trouble making children

Severely shy children.

Shy children group includes those youngsters who are deeply unhappy, frightened, worried, who have guilty feelings and who tend to handle these feelings by drawing away from the outer world and from other people. Seriously disturbed youngsters of this kind may behave in one or more of the following ways.

shy child

Common behavior patterns in very young children

  • Extremely shy.
  • Fearful behavior, such as being afraid to make any friends outside the family or being afraid to try even simple new experiences.
  • Extreme dislike of being away from parents for even a short time.
  • Frequent bed wetting.
  • Demands for help from from parents in simple tasks, such as dressing etc.
  • Frequent temper tantrums, whining, crying over slight matters.

Serious trouble making children

Another group of signs of possible problems are often observed in children who have exceptional difficulty in controlling their angry and destructive feelings. However these feelings are usually expressed in a roundabout way, so that it is frequently not easy to tell what the child is angry about or who is making him angry, often he doesn’t know, himself.


Children of this kind may have one or more of the following symptoms.

  • Excessive and frequent fighting.
  • Explosive temper.
  • Tantrums.
  • Running away or taunting from school more than a few times.
  • Frequent stealing (especially in when the stolen objects seem to be of no, or little, worth to the child).
  • Frequent lying in a more serious way than simply playing games of make-believe.
  • Taking serious risks with own physical safety extreme.
  • Continuing interest in stores focused on crime and terror.
  • Frequent and noisy use of clearly forbidden swear words and sex talk; a strong and active resistance to persons in authority.
  • Serious and frequent destruction of property fascination with setting fires, cruel treatment of other children or animals, repeated acts of destructive mischief.

Child misbehavior

Children who frequently show one or more of the above symptoms are often seen by others as being “undisciplined and spoiled”. Youngsters who tend to do just about whether they wish are, indeed, often lacking in discipline.

On the other hand, some children out of their deep, inner unhappiness, act in violent, destructive, and destructive and disobedient way. It sometimes may seem as if they wish to destroy themselves and others.

It is important to consider how often a child misbehaves. How serious his misbehavior is, and whether misbehavior seems to be related only to passing event which has upset him.

Although more firm discipline can often help the child who carelessly disregards rules, it is not likely to help the touchy, irritable youngster who acts bad because he feel bad.

If you have a youngster who frequently gets into serious trouble because he is destructive, rebellious, and so on, it would be a good idea to ask the advice or professionally trained experts who specialize in children’s problems.

Frequent childhood nightmares

Extreme continued confusion over what is imagined and what is real. If a 6 to 12 year old seems to see and hear things that not exist, if he imagines a number or events that did not happen, he may be in real trouble.


If he shows that he can see the difference between what is real and what is make believe when this is pointed out to him, then he may simply have an active imagination.

Symptoms of Frequent childhood nightmares

  • Appearing to be bored
  • Showing little strong feeling, absentmindedness
  • Repeating simple acts over and over

Since emotional upset and physical upsets often to together, it is an ideal arrangement for a team of specialists to work together, such as a doctor, a psychologist and social worker.

Some hospitals, clinics, and school have such a team. In some communications, those teams are able to give free or low-cost services because they are supported by tax funds or other kinds of community contributions.

It is comforting to know that these specialists are guided by a code of professional ethics which pledges them to keep everything confidential which children or parents tell them.