There’s a reason people use the phrase “Terrible Twos” when describing young children. Toddlers can be extremely difficult at times and can make even the best parents feel like they are at a loss. While it is normal for every toddler to experience difficult moments from time to time, some toddlers (and their parents!) may benefit from additional support.
Visiting a toddler psychologist allows you to gain a professional insight on your child’s mental well-being. In some cases, there may be a physical or mental reason for their behavior and a child psychologist specializing in toddlers can identify these reasons. Addressing the reason behind their behavior will improve your child’s mental well-being, as well as their behavior. To determine if you should take your child to a toddler psychologist, look for these five signs:
Their Routine is Disrupted by Behavior
Just as other age groups are recommended to seek help from a mental health professional when their symptoms begin to interrupt their daily lives, the same goes for toddlers. If your toddler’s behavior is causing you to make specific changes that interrupt the family routine, then this is a sign that there may be something deeper going on. While every toddler is bound to interrupt routines every now and then, if this is a repeated issue it should be addressed by a toddler psychologist.
Their Behavior is Aggressive
If your toddler is regularly biting, hitting, pinching, kicking, or inflicting pain to others, this can be a cause for concern. While every toddler will participate in these behaviors occasionally, it is not normal for them to make aggression a part of how they express emotions. Toddlers that express their emotions with aggressive behaviors should be evaluated by a toddler psychologist to determine why they feel they need to express themselves this way. It is important to address aggressive behaviors sooner rather than later to prevent the aggression from continuing to evolve.
They Witnessed or Experienced a Traumatic Event
Trauma is a tricky subject in general, and can be even trickier with children. Since children perceive things differently than adults, it is possible for them to become traumatized by events that adults would consider trivial. In most cases, toddlers suffering from trauma will either avoid certain places, people, or events. They will also likely have repeated nightmares about the source of their trauma because they don’t know how to process it. If you notice these behaviors in your toddler, seeing a child psychologist can be beneficial.
You Have Noticed Developmental Delays
Every toddler is different and sometimes they follow their own timeline when it comes to developmental milestones. However, some development delays can indicate a deeper issue, especially if your toddler is significantly behind the abilities of other children their age. If you notice your toddler struggling with language, speech, and potty training, this is a sign that you should have them visit a toddler psychologist.
Family Relationship Issues Have Begun to Develop
As mentioned before, a toddler’s behavior can alter the entire family routine. Not only can their behavior change family routines, but it can change the family dynamics as well. One main example of this is disagreements between couples on how to deal with the child’s behavior. However, it can also cause relationships between siblings to be strained. If you start to notice that your familial relationships are changing as a result of your child’s behavior, this is a sign you should visit a toddler psychologist.
Overall, if your child is displaying any of these five indicators, it is a sign that they will likely benefit from a consultation with a toddler psychologist. Depending on what the psychologist finds during their consultation, it may be recommended to have you and your child visit regularly to discuss concerns and behaviors. A child psychologist will also teach you skills for managing and shaping your toddler’s behavior. There are also certain cases where your child psychologist recommends seeing a child psychiatrist for further treatment.
Dr. Miller is trained in Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She is also trained in Anesthesia and Pain Management. Because of her broad experience, Dr. Miller is uniquely qualified to treat psychological trauma, depression and anxiety that can occur as a result of injury or disability. For more information, schedule a consultation at NJ Family Psychiatry & Therapy.