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Pediatricians are doctors, and so most people think of them as dealing primarily with physical health problems, such as colds, broken bones, infections, and wounds. Indeed, these are all part of a pediatrician's responsibility. However, pediatricians can also address behavioral health concerns in children. They may ultimately refer your child to a psychologist or behavioral therapist, but the pediatrician is still the first doctor parents should take their child to when there is a behavioral concern. So, which child behaviors warrant a trip to the pediatrician?
Kids often have short attention spans, and some naturally have longer attention spans than others. Just because your child can't sit and focus for two hours does not necessarily mean anything is wrong. However, if your child seems unable to focus on the same thing for more than a few minutes, or if their inability to focus is interfering with their ability to learn or be safe, then you should bring this to the attention of their pediatrician. They could be struggling with ADD, ADHD, or a similar disorder.
Frequent Crying and Sadness
Kids cry for all sorts of different reasons. If your child seems to be crying multiple times per day, and you can't figure out why, then this could be because they are suffering from depression, anxiety, or an underlying mental health condition. Kids don't always know how to express their emotions very well. They don't know how to explain that they feel depressed or if school makes them very anxious. If this is the case, they may often just react by breaking down and crying.
Most kids are mischievous every once in a while. You tell them not to touch a certain item, but they do so anyway. If your child's defiance is so extreme that you're worried about their safety, or you feel unable to control them at all, then this is a sign that something more extreme is going on. Your child may have an antisocial personality disorder or opposition defiance disorder. A pediatrician can make sure they are sent to the right professional for an early diagnosis, which is often the key to ensure they don't get into serious trouble as they grow older.
Pediatricians don't just deal with physical health problems in kids. They can also be a great resource of serious behavioral problems your child may be having. Don't hesitate to call a pediatrician if your child is displaying any of the behaviors above.