How Do I Know If My Child Has A Behavioral Disorder?

Children noise

People often end up unintentionally neglecting their children’s mental health. This happens when their behaviors are mistaken for being ‘insolent,’ ‘spoiled,’ or ‘ill-mannered.’ In these cases, parents end up scolding and berating their children instead of taking these behaviors as signs of a possible underlying condition or mental health issue. 

As a result, their behavior only worsens as these children require help that they don’t end up receiving. Children’s signs of mental health issues, especially behavior disorders, are different than they are in adults. Here is a guide on spotting these signs from early on and taking the right steps to help your child.

What Are Behavior Disorders?

Behavior disorders are a spectrum of troublesome behavior in children that are noticeable for six months or more. Behavior disorders cause problems in a child’s social and academic life.

Having mood changes, being a little irritable, too loud now and then, and temper outbursts are normal parts of growing up that go away and change as a child grows up and matures. However, if these behaviors worsen over time and the child seems to behave aggressively and gets irrationally explosive, it might be a cause for concern. 

On the flip side, if a child is too quiet and reserved, parents might praise the child for being easy-going and obedient. Every child is different, but if this asocial behavior persists and the child seems increasingly uncomfortable with social situations, it might signify that your child is suffering from an underlying behavior disorder. Visit for more information on autism spectrum disorders.

Types of Behavior Disorders

There are a number of behavioral disorders that can be classified into the following categories:

Disruptive and Impulse Control Disorders

Such disorders result in the child acting violent and harming themself and their peers through their reckless and impulsive actions. 

ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder)

Children suffering from ODD are easily irritated and argumentative, especially with their teachers, parents, peers, and schoolmates. These children don’t partake in physical violence, they don’t hurt or harm other people or their property, but they show a pattern of anger, vindictiveness, and defiant behavior.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder

These children have a pattern of being easily irritable, throwing temper tantrums, and explosive rage fits. The triggers are minor or non-existent, and the child behaves irrationally. They come close to causing physical violence but mostly refrain from it.

Child therapy

Conduct Disorder

The most dangerous behavior disorder in children is Conduct Disorder. Children suffering from it don’t hesitate to cause harm to other people and destroy property. They cause physical injuries to their peers and animals and often use weapons. 

Mood Disorders

A child suffering from mood disorders tends to act disruptive, irritable, extremely angry, and has meltdowns with no apparent trigger or reasoning. This causes issues with their academics, with their schoolmates, and often time in public settings causes a spectacle. This, of course, is not the fault of the child as they are in a state of emotional turmoil and confusion. Common mood disorders include:

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • DMDD (Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder)
  • Depression

Neurodevelopmental/Learning Disorders

These disorders don’t inherently relate to a child’s behavior. However, in disorders like ADHD, hyperactivity is a prominent symptom, especially in male children. This hyperactivity is uncontrollable and presents to others as insolent and disruptive. Autism Spectrum Disorders are a spectrum, and some children might show disruptive behaviors due to triggers. 

Warning Signs That Your Child Might Be Suffering 

Here are some signs that your child might have a behavioral disorder:

  • Frequent complaints of disorderly conduct from their school or peers
  • Temper tantrums at any minor inconvenience
  • Low self-esteem
  • Cries a lot when they get irritated
  • Argues over small things and then behaves angrily
  • Has difficulty making friends because of the above reasons
  • Weight loss and insomnia
  • A decline in academic performance
  • Self Harm
  • Harm to others or animals
  • Frequent unexplained mood swings

What To Do If You Suspect Your Child Has A Behavior Disorder

Consult your child’s healthcare provider and be honest about your concerns. Also, share these details with the school your child goes through to ensure their cooperation as you look for an appropriate child psychologist to assess and help your child. Seeking help is stigmatized, but with more conversation about mental health in recent years, you are sure to find support in many places. Being vocal about it can help your child lead an easier and happier life with drastic improvements in mood and behaviors. 


Identifying behavior disorders in children can be tricky, and parents often fall victim to hesitation and self-blame. This results in not seeking professional help that may be necessary to diagnose and treat a child’s behavior disorder. However, it is vital to a child’s healthy emotional and personal growth.