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Common Mental Health Myths About Children

There is a lot of stigma associated with mental illness, especially when it comes to children. People often believe and repeat common myths they’ve heard about mental illness. Here are five common myths about children’s mental health.

Bad Behavior is Always Related to Mental Health

While difficult behavior, such as severe temper tantrums, defiance, or violence can be due to mental illness, that isn’t normally the cause. Most bad behavior in children is due to more common issues, such as stress at home or parents reacting to the behavior in a way that reinforces it. Sometimes the behavior is normal, like toddlers having tantrums. Your child’s pediatrician can help you figure out the cause of the bad behavior and give you tips and tricks to correct it.

They’ll Outgrow It

Parents and grandparents tend to be hopeful about their child’s diagnosis and want to believe that their child will outgrow their diagnosis without treatment. Some mental illnesses do get better as children get older without treatment, but others do not and can be a continuing problem without treatment. Your pediatrician can discuss your child’s symptoms with you and help you decide the best course of action for your child’s symptoms.

Lax Parenting Causes Mental Illness

Parenting styles can indeed contribute to behavior problems. For instance, if a child learns that crying or having a temper tantrum works to  get them a cookie or the ability to stay up late, they’ll continue to do it in the future. However, true mental illnesses such as ADHD, depression or schizophrenia  are not caused by different parenting styles.

Kids are Overdiagnosed and Overmedicated

Many people are concerned that children are being overdiagnosed with problems such as ADHD or depression and overmedicated more than ever before. While that is a reasonable concern, there is also evidence that doctors are underdiagnosing and undertreating some of these disorders. Doctors, educators, and parents have become more aware of the signs of mental illness in children. That leads to more children being diagnosed who otherwise may not have been diagnosed with a condition that they have. (Autism is just one example of this). In addition, some conditions, such as ADHD or autism, have received a lot of public attention over recent years. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there is an increase in the number of people who are now taking medication for these conditions


Our pediatricians’ goals are to come to the right diagnosis that best explains your child’s symptoms and to recommend the most appropriate treatment  for your child. That treatment might be continued monitoring, undergoing further testing, modifying the home or school environment, seeing a child psychologist or other specialist, or perhaps, starting medication.


Whenever your child is prescribed medication for any condition, you should always discuss your concerns with our team. You should ask for clarification on why your child needs the medication and whether there are other treatment options available. If you feel your questions weren’t fully answered, please call us to discuss all of your concerns.

Children With Mental Disorders Cannot Lead Fulfilling Lives

Some people believe that children diagnosed with mental disorders cannot go on to lead fulfilling lives. This is simply not true. With proper management, all children should be expected to have happy, fulfilling lives.


Fortunately, many children’s mental health concerns can be addressed with the right treatment. If you have questions about your child’s health, contact the Advocare Haddon Pediatric Group’s Haddon Heights location by calling (856) 547-7300 or the Mullica HIll location by calling (856) 294-5600.

Posted: 1/16/2019 8:10:45 AM by Paul Matz | with 0 comments

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