Many parents do not realize that temper tantrums, mood swings and homework trouble seen in their school-aged children are medical issues, says a new study.
University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health found that many parents of children age 5-17 wouldn't discuss behavioral or emotional issues that could be signs of potential health problems with their doctors.
While more than 60% of parents definitely would talk to the doctor if their child was extremely sad for more than a month, only half would discuss temper tantrums that seemed worse than peers or if their child seemed more worried or anxious than normal. Just 37% would tell the doctor if their child had trouble organizing homework.
Nearly half of parents believed that these simply were not medical problems and another 40 percent of parents say they would rather handle it themselves and about 30 percent would rather speak to someone other than a doctor.
Researcher Sarah J. Clark said that behavioral health and emotional health are closely tied to a child's physical health, well-being and development, but the findings suggest that they are often missing the boat in catching issues early.
Clark added that many kids experience challenges with behavior, emotions or learning and the key is for parents to recognize their child's behavior patterns and share that information with the doctor, but the findings suggest that parents don't understand their role in supporting their child's behavioral health.