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Does My Child Have A Mental Problem?

Question:

MY CHILD IS 8 YEARS OLD. HE STARTED THE 3RD GRADE THIS YEAR. THE FIRST DAY WAS GOOD. BUT NOW I AM HAVING PROBLEMS GETTING HIM ON THE BUS. HE CONSTANTLY CRYS. SHOULD I BE WORRIED

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Answer:

Does My Child Have A Mental Problem?

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p>First, it is important to state that the fact that a child cries and refuses to get on the school bus does not, in itself, mean that they have a mental problem. There are many types of problems that could be upsetting your child. These problems usually fall into two main categories: A. Problems at home or B. Problems at school.

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p>Types of Problems:

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p>1. The beginning of the school year can arouse separation anxiety in children who are insecure.

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p>2. Relocation to a new neighborhood, city and school district can arouse childhood anxiety.

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p>3. Problems at home such as: divorce, domestic violence, birth of a baby, family illness, increase in quarrelling, parental alcohol and drug abuse, all can make going to school difficult for young children.

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p>4. Moving a child into a more advanced class or a lower class can increase anxiety.

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p>5. Changes in the family’s economic situation due to parental job loss, foreclosure on a house, etc, can be anxiety producing.

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p>6. The presence at school of a bully who is threatening or hitting your child can cause a refusal to go to school.

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p>7. A new teacher who is very strict or who is not strict and cannot control the class can make school a problem.

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p>8. Returning to an empty home at the end of the school day because parents are working is often an unpleasant experience for most children, especially if there is no older and responsible sibling to look after eating a snack and being there for company.

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p>9. Your child is frightened by the homework or the reading level he is assigned to because he does not understand.

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p>These are just a few of the many issues that can cause the kind of behavior your eight year old is showing.

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p>The end of the long summer vacation brings about the need for the entire family to adjust to a new schedule. Getting up early in the morning, dressing, eating breakfast and leaving home in time to board the bus can become a time of high anxiety and drama for everyone.

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p>If your child never before exhibited this crying problem and refusal to board the bus then you have to find out what is happening at school and determine whether or not he is being bullied or is fearful of the teacher. You also need to assess what is happening at home that could be causing this change in behavior. The fact that there is a dramatic change in behavior in a young child is indicative that something is worrying him and this worry needs to be resolved. It is often not possible to get a satisfactory answer from a child of this age by asking what is wrong. Solid parental investigation with a lot of reassurance for the child that Mom and Dad will solve things can go a long ways to helping a youngster in distress.

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p>If, after investigating what is happening at school and providing lots of love and reassurance to the child, the anxious behavior continues then it might be time to have him seen by a child psychologist for evaluation and psychotherapy. Even this does not mean that he has a mental problem. Instead, he is dealing with something that may not be obvious and child therapy can help. Children are subject to many fears and fantasies, including as a result of what they see on television and in the movies.

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