Behavioral Health and Your Child

By Amherst Pediatrics
September 19, 2022
Category: Child Health Care
Tags: Behavioral Health  

Children exhibit all kinds of interesting behaviors. Many of these behaviors are normal boundary testing, showing independence, and other healthy milestones you want to see.

Children can also exhibit behaviors you don’t want to see, like aggressiveness, sadness, and fear. Your pediatrician is an expert on child development and can help you with your child’s behavioral health.

First let’s look at normal behaviors you want to see. These include:

  • Defiance, because your child may be testing boundaries and exerting independence
  • Withdrawing, because your child needs to show autonomy, and wants to accomplish things without your help
  • Acting out, because your child may be reacting to major changes in life, like moving to a new school, divorce, or death of a close family member

Now, let’s look at behaviors that could be warning signs of a behavioral disorder. These include:

  • Threatening or harming others, pets, or themselves
  • Damaging possessions belonging to others
  • Having difficulty forming or keeping relationships with others
  • Showing frequent signs of unhappiness or depression
  • Demonstrating anxiety about going to school
  • Exhibiting defiance and hostility toward authority figures
  • Frequently lying, arguing, stealing, or skipping school
  • Using drugs, drinking, or smoking at an early age

If you notice any of the signs or symptoms listed above, it’s time for a behavioral health evaluation from your child’s pediatrician.

When you bring your child in for a visit with the pediatrician, a complete medical examination is necessary to make sure there are no underlying medical conditions which may be causing your child’s behavior or making it worse. Your pediatrician may also request additional testing including lab work and other studies.

Your pediatrician will develop a treatment plan designed to help with your child’s behavior. Treatment may include:

  • Individual, group, and family counseling
  • Lifestyle modification including diet and exercise
  • Medication if necessary to modify behavior
  • Additional specialty care with a child psychologist

Your child’s behavioral health is just as important as physical health. You want the best for your child, so call your pediatrician today.

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Office Hours
Monday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Tuesday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Wednesday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Thursday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Friday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Saturday:8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Sunday:8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Contact Us

Our Address
31 Hall Dr.
Amherst, MA 01002
Tel: (413) 253-3773
Fax: (413) 256-0215
Email: [email protected]
 

Please note temporary office hours
during the COVID-19 pandemic

Patient Care Hours:
Monday-Friday

8:00 AM - 4:45 PM: In-office and MyChart Telehealth visits
4:45 PM - 7:00 PM: MyChart Telehealth visits only

Sat-Sun
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
: MyChart Telehealth visits only

Due to the pandemic, we ask that you please remain at home if you or your child is ill. If you have concerns about how your child is feeling, please contact us by sending a message through this patient portal. The clinicians will be able to respond to you during our regular hours. Calling the office may present a further delay in response times.

The COVID-19 situation is ever unfolding. We are dedicated to the safety of our patients and staff. Please refer to our website for updates on this changing situation.

* Please note: It is our policy that we do not approve referral requests for visits to outside urgent care centers during times that our office is open.

Holidays
We are open for urgent visits only on most Holidays. Our office is closed on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.