Many parents don’t connect their child’s behavior to their health

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May 28, 2015
Mother hugging child in doctor's office

Many children struggle with their behavior at some point in their life. But some problems like frequent temper tantrums, trouble organizing school work, or being more anxious than usual can be signs of serious health problems. That’s why doctors rely on parents to describe how their children behave at home.

In our latest NPCH Report, we asked parents of children age 5-17 about discussing their children’s behavior and emotions with the doctor. Parents’ willingness to talk to a doctor about their children’s behavioral health depended on the type of concern. Over 60% would definitely talk to a doctor if their child has been extremely sad for over a month, but just half would discuss temper tantrums or anxiety. Only 37% would bring up their child’s trouble organizing schoolwork.

Figure 1: Proportions of parents who would definitely talk to the doctor about child's behavior and emotions

View full size image | See other health infographics

We also asked parents why they wouldn’t talk to a doctor about their child’s behavior and emotions. The most common reason parents gave is the belief that behavioral and emotional problems are not medical problems. Read the full report: Many parents missing the link between child behavior and health.

Learn more about these results in this short video with NPCH Associate Director Sarah Clark, MPH:

What do you think?:
When do you decide to talk to your child’s doctor about their behavior? Share your thoughts and experience in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter!

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