ZocdocAnswersHow does one obtain mental help for young children?

Question

How does one obtain mental help for young children?

My son is 6 years old and (I hate to say it) a complete terror. My wife and I are at the end of our ropes. He just cannot seem to be disciplined at all, and I'm starting to believe we're looking at some kind of mental disorder. How should we go about getting him treated? Are the doctors who specialize in this type of mental help?

Answer

Dealing with behavior problems in children can be quite difficult. The best place to start with this problem is to discuss the issue with your pediatrician who is qualified to perform an initial evaluation and to refer you to a specialist, such as a child psychiatrist, if necessary. There are many behavioral issues in children that can be difficult for parents to manage. Sometimes these are not reflective of a serious problem and simply require referral to agencies that can provide you with effective parenting strategies. Your pediatrician can help you with these referrals. At times the behavior problems are signs of a more difficult disorder, such as attention deficit disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, or learning disabilities. In order to help your pediatrician with the initial evaluation of these possibilities, it is helpful to collect examples of the misbehavior which is difficult to manage in the home and to collect input from his teachers at school to determine if the behaviors are observed in multiple settings or only in the home. As always, the diagnosis and management of your son's condition will require a physical examination by a personal physician. Scheduling an appointment with his pediatrician as soon as possible is highly recommended.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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