Signs of Problems and Disorders 

All children may experience problems from time to time with their mood or behavior. In some cases, these problems may be a normal part of a child’s stage of development. In other cases, behavioral or emotional problems may be understandable reactions to a change in a child’s environment or routine, such as sadness after the divorce of parents or the death of someone close to them.

When a child’s problems persist over a long period of time or begin to interfere with his or her relationships with family and peers, performance at school, or everyday living, these may be signs of a mental health problem or disorder. Many people are surprised to learn that mental health problems are relatively common among young people – in fact, they are as common as a fractured limb. 

Support and treatment can improve the lives of children with mental health problems. The path to improved health often begins with a family’s awareness of concerning behaviors.

Throughout this section of the website, you will find:

Descriptions of common emotional and behavioral problems that children may experience

Information about specific mental health disorders

Videos with answers to commonly asked questions about mental health disorders

Information about treatment and services

Additional resources


Important notice: Although the information on this website can provide you with a basic understanding of the emotional and behavioral health issues affecting children, this website and any related materials are for educational purposes only and are not a substitute for meeting with a professional. Diagnosis and treatment of a mental health problem can only be done by a trained mental health professional.



Information provided on this website about common emotional and behavioral problems experienced by children is drawn from sources including:

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (Revised 4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Boston Bar Association. (2009). The Parents' How-to Guide to Children's Mental Health Services in Massachusetts (2nd edition). Boston: Author.  URL: Accessed: 2010-12-09. (Archived by WebCite® at

Klimkeit, E. I., Mattingley, J. B., Sheppard, D. M., Farrow, M., Bradshaw, J. L. (2004). Examining the Development of Attention and Executive Functions in Children with a Novel Paradigm. Child Neuropsychology, 10 (3), 201-211.

NYU Child Study Center. A-Z Disorder Guide. URL: Accessed: 2010-12-09. (Archived by WebCite® at


Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on

Date Reviewed: January 14, 2015