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Behavioral And Psychosocial Issues

Adoption, Foster Care, and Nonparental Care—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
It is impossible to determine family relationships by looking at a family. Primary caregivers may or may not be biologically related to their children. It is important that child care and early education professionals learn about the family structure from the child’s caregivers rather than make assumptions about relationships within families. Families are likely to share more information if they feel the education setting is open to their family structure.
Aggression—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
All children display some aggressive behaviors throughout their development. For example, some biting and hitting is normal for toddlers before they develop language skills.
Alcohol and Your Child: What Parents Need to Know
One of the most abused drugs in our society is alcohol. It's also a drug that many people start using at very young ages. Though it's illegal for people younger than 21 years to drink, many children are introduced to alcohol well before they reach that age. The earlier they begin using alcohol, the higher the risk they will have problems with it later in life. This publication was written by the American Academy of Pediatrics to help parents understand the dangers of alcohol and how to prevent alcohol use.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have higher levels of impulsivity and hyperactivity and/or inattention than other children their age. Not every child who has disorganized or impulsive behaviors has ADHD. The most important step is to look for other causes, especially exposure to traumatic events or stressors, developmental delays, and mood and anxiety problems.
Autism Spectrum Disorder—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have challenges with social interactions, language development, and sensory experiences, and they can engage in repetitive patterns of behavior or have highly focused interests. Research estimates indicate that at least 1 in 59 children (1.7%) have ASD, with boys having higher rates of ASD than girls. Children with genetic disorders, preterm birth, or family members with ASD are more likely to receive a diagnosis. Autism spectrum disorder is not caused by parenting or vaccines.
Bedwetting: What Parents Need to Know
Did you know that there are about 5 million children in the United States who wet the bed? If your child wets the bed, he or she is not alone.
Behavioral Intervention Resources for Parents—ADHD Toolkit
As a parent, you can learn to be more confident and consistent in your interactions with your child. This can help your child with a personal understanding of—and strategies for managing—his or her behaviors, at home and beyond. Here are some evidence-based parent training programs that have been shown to be effective.
Beyond Screen Time: A Parent’s Guide to Media Use
While family is the most important influence in a child’s life, media in all its forms, including TV, computers, and other screens, are not far behind. Because media can influence how children think, feel, and behave, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages parents to help their children form healthy media use habits early on. Read on for information about steps you can take to encourage healthy media use habits and to learn more about media messages and TV ratings.
Biting—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Children who engage in biting are usually identified after a bite has happened. Biting is common among young toddlers, can begin in late infancy, and, at times, can continue until preschool age. Biting can continue throughout childhood (and adulthood) in some individuals with certain diagnoses (eg, sensory processing disorder, autism spectrum disorder).
Bullying: It's Not OK
CONNECTED KIDS: Bullying is when one child picks on another child again and again. Usually children who are being bullied are either weaker or smaller, are shy, and generally feel helpless. Bullying most commonly takes place at school, when adults are not watching, or through email or instant messages. Whether your child is the one being bullied, doing the bullying, or simply a bystander, there are a number of measures you can take as a parent to improve their social skills and decrease their involvement in this detrimental practice.
Child Abuse—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
About 9 in every 1,000 children have at least one legally confirmed child maltreatment experience, with most being neglect.
Child Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse of children is more common than most people think. About 1 out of 5 girls and 1 out of 10 boys will be sexually abused during their childhood. Parents can take steps to help prevent and recognize sexual abuse in children.
Cocaine: What You Need to Know
Young people are surrounded by pro-drug messages in the media and on the Internet. They may try cocaine for the excitement or the experience without realizing the very real risks and consequences that come with cocaine use.
Consistent Crying—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
When a child continues to cry excessively after caregivers have attempted to meet his or her needs and/or crying continues for a longer period than is usual for that particular child, it is a concern.
Deciding to Wait
No matter what you've heard, read, or seen, not everyone your age is having sex, including oral sex and intercourse. In fact, more than half of all teens choose to wait until they're older to have sex. If you have already had sex but are unsure if you should again, then wait before having sex again.
Depression—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Depression in preschool-aged and young children can manifest in a number of ways. It is important to recognize that the mood symptoms young children with depression have do not mean that they can never be happy—just that they show these symptoms more easily and/or more intensely than other children the same age.
Developmental Delays—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Children with developmental delays can be identified by families, pediatricians and other primary care clinicians, and child care and early education professionals by noting when children do not meet developmental milestones at expected ages with respect to speech and communication, gross-motor skills, fine-motor development, behavior, playing, and social interactions.
Difficulties with Sharing Objects—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Children who have difficulty sharing either do not understand the concept of taking turns with toys and materials or they understand the concept of sharing but do not engage in sharing. While toddlers can frequently demonstrate spontaneous prosocial behaviors like sharing, they should not be expected to fully understand the concept of sharing or to share consistently on their own.
Difficulty Participating in Group Activities—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Difficulty participating in group activities is a common experience for young children, and it affects boys and girls alike. Children who have difficulty in group activities often have challenges during large-group settings, such as circle time, morning meetings, or story time. Children who have difficulty participating in group activities may display challenging behaviors, such as blurting out, frequent movement, inattention, aggression, distraction, or refusal to participate.
Discipline and Your Child
As a parent, one of your jobs is to teach your child how to behave. While this can take time, try not to get frustrated when your child does not behave. Instead, learn effective ways to discipline your child. The following is guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics on how to discipline your child.
Disruptive Behavioral Disorders—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
The term disruptive behavioral disorders includes a number of problems, usually oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder. In preschoolers, disorder of disruptive anger and aggression is a more developmentally specific way of categorizing problems with extreme emotional and behavioral reactions.
Divorce and Children
Every year, more than 1 million children in the United States experience the divorce of their parents. Because the average divorce takes place within the first 7 years of marriage, many of these children are very young. For many children, divorce can be as difficult as the death of a parent. Children need the guidance, patience, and love of both parents to help them through.
Drug Abuse Prevention Starts with Parents
Eating Disorders: Anorexia and Bulimia
The 2 most well-known eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia is self-starvation. Bulimia is a disorder in which a person eats large amounts of food (binges) and then tries to undo the effects of the binge in some way, usually by ridding the body of the food that was eaten.
Everybody Gets Mad: Helping Your Child Cope with Conflict
Expect Respect: Healthy Relationships
Fear and Anxiety—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
All children experience fear and anxiety at times. Fear of real and perceived danger will continue to protect children throughout the life span. Many fears and anxieties emerge from growing cognitive abilities and are part of typical development. Children’s fear is real and requires responsive caregiving. Developmentally rooted fears (eg, stranger anxiety) will typically dissipate as children grow.
Gambling: Not a Safe Thrill
Many Americans gamble for fun. However, for young people, gambling may become a serious addiction. The chances of a young gambler getting "hooked" are far greater than those of an adult.
Gender Development and Diversity—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
It is estimated that about 0.6% of adults identify as gender diverse or transgender. Rates in preschoolers and early childhood are not well established. Some young children who identify as gender diverse may grow up to be transgender youth or adults, and some may not.
Help Stop Teenage Suicide
Helping Your Child Cope With Death
By school age, children understand that death is an irreversible event. Yet even though youngsters recognize that death is something more than going to sleep for a long time, they still may have many unanswered questions that they may not verbalize: Where did grandmother go when she died? What is she feeling? Is she in pain? Why did she die? Can we ever see her again? Are you going to die too? Who will take care of me if you die?
Helping Your Child Cope With Life
Every parent's dream is to raise perfect children who have no worries and lead charmed, happy lives free of pain and hurt. We dream that we can keep our children safe from loss, heartache, and danger. But even if we could, would it really help them?
Hyperactivity—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Hyperactivity is typically thought of as one part of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which can be diagnosed in children as early as age 4 years. However, because most preschoolers can be active and inattentive and have difficulty staying engaged at times, only medical and/or mental health professionals should establish the diagnosis after carefully receiving input from parents or guardians and teachers.
Inhalants: What You Need to Know
Young people today can face strong peer pressure to try drugs, including a group of substances called inhalants. Inhalant abuse is particularly a problem with younger teens, but even children as young as 5 or 6 years may try inhalants.
Know the Facts About HIV and AIDS
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). While there is no cure for HIV, early diagnosis and treatment are very effective at keeping people healthy. In addition, there are things you can do to prevent getting HIV. Read on to learn more about HIV and AIDS and how to keep you and your children healthy.
Learning Disabilities: What Parents Need to Know
Your child will learn many things in life—how to listen, speak, read, write, and do math. Some skills may be harder to learn than others. If your child is trying his best to learn certain skills but is not able to keep up with his peers, it’s important to find out why. Your child may have a learning disability (also known as LD). If your child has an LD, the sooner you know, the sooner you can get your child help. Your child can succeed in school, work, and relationships. Read on for more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about LDs.
Making Healthy Decisions About Sex: Important Information For Teens
Before you decide to have sex or if you are already having sex, you need to know how to stay healthy. Even if you think you know everything you need to know about sex, take a few minutes and read on. Your doctor wants to make sure you know the facts.
Marijuana: What Parents Need to Know
As a parent, you are your child’s first and best protection against drug use. The following is information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about marijuana and how to help your child say “No” to drug use. (Child refers to child or teen in this publication.)
Media History
Please check one answer for each question. If the question does not apply to your family (ie, you do not own a computer or mobile device), leave that section blank.
Medicine and the Media: How to Make Sense of the Messages
Your child is sick or hurt and the first thought on your mind is, “How can I make my child better?” That's natural. No parent wants his or her child to suffer. So how do you decide what medicines to give or treatments to try?
Napping Difficulties—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Many children have sleep or nap problems at some time. Depending on the situations in which they live, their child care, and/or situations they experience, sleeping or napping problems may last a while or be resolved quickly. The most common cause of nap inconsistencies is being overtired and overstimulated.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) perform repetitive patterns of compulsive behaviors in response to a strict internal rule or because they believe it will serve a purpose, such as protecting them. Compulsions decrease children’s distress level, or children believe that compulsions will prevent an event that isn’t realistically connected to the compulsion.
Physical Altercations—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
A physical altercation is generally a confrontation, tussle, or display of physical aggression that may or may not result in injury. Physical altercations are distinguished from verbal altercations by the use of physical force or contact. Physical altercations may also be referred to as bullying or fighting. When children engage in physical altercations with others, it is the responsibility of parents, teachers, and caregivers to immediately respond and provide safety for those involved.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Children with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are most easily identified if caregivers and child care and early education professionals are aware that they have experienced a significant trauma in their past, including a motor vehicle crash, significant medical procedure, house fire, natural disaster, sexual or physical abuse, or exposure to family interpersonal violence or neighborhood violence.
Ratings: Making Healthy Media Choices
Research has shown that children are influenced by what they see and hear, especially at very young ages. To help parents make informed choices about what their children see and hear, many entertainment companies use ratings systems. Ratings give parents more information about the content of television (TV) programs, movies, music, or computer and video games. Read on for more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about ratings and how you can help your children make healthy media choices.
Responding to Children's Emotional Needs During Times of Crisis: Information for Parents
Pediatricians are often the first responders for children and families suffering emotional and psychological reactions to terrorism and other disasters. As such, pediatricians have a unique opportunity to help parents and other caregivers communicate with children in ways that allow them to better understand and recover from traumatic events such as terrorist attacks or other disasters. Pediatricians also can help to facilitate timely referral to mental health services, as appropriate, for these children and their families.
Responding to Tantrums—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Tantrums are common in young children, with as many as 70% of children between the ages of 18 and 24 months having tantrums and 75% of children aged 3 to 5 years displaying tantrum behaviors. It is not unusual for a child between 18 and 60 months of age to have a tantrum per day, lasting between 90 seconds and 5 minutes.
Selective Mutism—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Selective mutism is identified when a child who is able to speak at home does not speak in public settings, especially child care or school. While some children are shy in new settings, the shyness generally decreases as they become accustomed to the new setting. Children with selective mutism will remain unable to speak for longer than 1 month.
Self-stimulation—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Self-stimulating behaviors may appear as banging the head, rocking, thumb-sucking, teeth grinding (bruxism), nail-biting, masturbating, or pulling and twisting the hair.
Separation Anxiety—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Separation anxiety is the distress that children show when being separated from their primary caregivers. It appears around 7 to 9 months of age in most children and can persist over time for children who tend to be shyer or less adaptable to new routines. In typical development, children can easily (within days or weeks) become comfortable with a safe separation, such as going into a quality child care setting. Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) is an excessive and developmentally inappropriate fear about separation from important caregivers.
Sibling Relationships
Almost 80% of children grow up with at least one brother or sister. Brothers and sisters teach each other how to get along with others. Even if they do not always get along with each other, siblings play very positive roles in each other's lives.
Single Parenting
Single-parent families are more and more common in today's society. While raising children alone isn't easy, children in single-parent homes can grow up just as happy as children in 2-parent homes. Read on to find out how single parents can better cope with the special challenges of raising children on their own.
Sleep Disorders—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Approximately 25% of children younger than 5 years experience some type of sleep problem.
Sleep Problems in Children
Sleep problems are very common during the first few years of life. Problems may include waking up during the night, not wanting to go to sleep, nightmares, sleepwalking, and bedwetting. If frantic upset persists with no apparent cause, call your child's doctor.
Sleep Problems: Your Child’s Sleep Diary
Children differ in how much sleep they need, how long it takes them to fall asleep, and how easily they wake up. If you are concerned about your child’s sleep habits, talk with your child’s doctor. Your child’s doctor may ask you to keep a sleep diary to help track your child’s sleep habits.
Smokeless Tobacco: What You Need to Know
Chewing tobacco, snuff, snus, and dissolvable tobacco in the shape of sticks, pellets, and strips are all types of tobacco products that are not smoked but used in other ways. All types of smokeless tobacco contain nicotine and chemicals known to cause cancer (carcinogens).
Smoking and E-cigarettes: What Parents Need to Know About the Risks of Tobacco Use
Many people think that the only people harmed by tobacco use are smokers who have smoked for a long time. The fact is that tobacco use can be harmful to everyone. This includes unborn babies and people who don’t smoke.
Smoking and E-cigarettes: What Parents Need to Know About the Risks of Tobacco Use
Did you know that about 80% of teens in the United States don't smoke? They've made a healthy choice.
Staying Cool When Things Heat Up
Stressed? Read This.
Even though stress makes us feel uncomfortable, it's not always a bad thing. Sometimes stress can really help us deal with tough situations. A lot of stress changes our bodies quickly and helps us react to an emergency. A little stress keeps us alert and helps us work harder.
Substance Abuse Prevention
The use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs is one of the biggest temptations facing young people today. As a parent, you are your child's best protection against drug use. You can start by telling your children that you expect them not to use drugs and become informed yourself about drug use. This publication was written by the American Academy of Pediatrics to help you identify the warning signs of drug use and provides tips on how to help your child (especially during the preteen and teen years) say no to drugs.
Talking With Your Teen About Sex
Children are exposed to sexual messages every day—on TV, on the Internet, in movies, in magazines, and in music. Sex in the media is so common that you might think that teens today already know all they need to about sex. They may even claim to know it all, so sex is something you just don't talk about. Unfortunately, only a small amount of what is seen in the media shows responsible sexual behavior or gives correct information.
Teaching Good Behavior: Tips on How to Discipline
Teen Dating Violence: Tips for Parents
Teen Suicide and Guns
Teen Suicide, Mood Disorder, and Depression
Thousands of teens commit suicide each year in the United States. In fact, suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds.
Temper Tantrums
It's hard for a young child to hold strong feelings inside. Young children often cry, scream, or stomp up and down when they are upset. As a parent, you may feel angry, helpless, or ashamed.
Temper Tantrums
It's hard for young children to hold strong feelings inside. When they feel frustrated or angry, they often cry, scream, or stomp up and down. This is a temper tantrum. Temper tantrums are a normal part of your child's development. They usually begin around age 12 to 18 months, get worse between 2 and 3 years, then taper off after that, once children are able to use words to communicate their wants and needs. This publication was written by the American Academy of Pediatrics to help parents understand temper tantrums and how best to deal with them.
Thumbs, Fingers, and Pacifiers
The good news is that most children stop their sucking habits before they get very far in school. This is because of peer pressure. While your child might still use sucking as a way of going to sleep or calming down when upset, this is usually done in private and is not harmful. Putting too much pressure on your child to stop may cause more harm than good. Be assured your child will eventually stop the habit on her own.
Toilet Training
Teaching your child how to use the toilet takes time and patience. Each child learns to use the toilet in his or her own time. Here is information from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help guide you and your child through the process.
Violence—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
While it is typical for preschool-aged children to display some aggressive behaviors, especially in group care settings, violent behavior is rare. If it happens, however, caregivers should immediately act to keep everyone involved safe.
What is a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician?
If your child has a developmental, learning, or behavioral problem, a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician has the training and expertise to evaluate and care for your child. Developmental-behavioral pediatricians possess training and experience to consider, in their assessments and treatments, the medical and psychosocial aspects of children's and adolescents' developmental and behavioral problems.
Your Child's Mental Health: When to Seek Help and Where to Get Help
Have you noticed a recent change in your child's behavior? Is she having trouble getting along with friends? Is he failing school? Is this new behavior affecting your family?
Your Family's Mental Health: 10 Ways to Improve Mood Naturally
Great physical health is characterized by strength, flexibility, comfort, energy, endurance, and coordination. Similarly, great mental health includes feeling cheerful, hopeful, confident, resilient, adaptable, and connected to the people and world around us. Developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the foundation for physical and mental health.

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