Behavioral Problem Children

Are you worried about behavioral problem children? What child behavioral problems worry you?  How serious - on a scale of 1 to 10 - would you rate the child behavior that worries you?

The checklist below - Warning Signs of Psychological Problems in Children  - can help you evaluate how serious a child behavior problem might be.

Children with behavior problems exhibit a range of concerns, from the relatively benign to the more serious. You may be unsure of whether  the behavioral problem children that worry you show behaviors that are symptomatic of more serious concerns,  or whether these behaviors  represent a developmental stage that the child is likely to outgrow.

Use the checklist - Warning Signs of Psychological Problems in Children - to help you assess whether the child behaviors that concern you require further attention and support. This checklist includes behaviors that often signal emotional and behavioral concerns in children. This checklist can help you explore your concerns about behavioral problem children.

Print out this checklist and check those behaviors that apply to a child whose behavior concerns you

Beside the behavioral descriptions you check, indicate how often this behavior occurs. For example: Sometimes, Often, Almost Always (e.g. S, O, AA).


Behavioral Problem Children - Warning Signs of More Serious Psychological Concerns

Warning Signs in Young Children

  • Extreme changes in mood and behavior (becomes withdrawn or aggressive and angry.
  • Changes in school performance
  • Difficulty in learning despite good effort and desire to learn.
  • Regressive behavior such as toileting and soiling problems, clinging dependent behaviors, whining and thumbsucking.
  • Developmental delays or behind peers in acquiring age appropiate skills (talking, walking, reading, comprehension)
  • Changes in sleep and eating patterns.
  • Persistent nightmares and/or sleep disturbances.
  • Anxious behaviors such as excessive worry, nailing biting and nervous habits, refusal to go to school or go to bed alone.
  • Aggressive, hurtful and bullying behaviors toward siblings and peers.
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities.
  • Negative complaints and perceptions about treatment by others.
  • Frequent self-deprecatory remarks (e.g. "I'm stupid." or "Nobody likes me."
  • Excessive fear of new situations or people.
  • Frequent temper tantrums.
  • Hyperactivity and difficulties sitting still, concentrating and paying attention.
  • Persistent disobedience and refusal to comply with reasonable adult requests.

Warning Signs in Preteen and Adolescent Children

  • Heavy drinking and/or alcohol or substance abuse.
  • Impulsive and easily frustrated.
  • Has difficulty coping with problems and daily activities.
  • Defiant and refuses to comply with reasonable adult requests.
  • Truancy, theft and/or vandalism
  • Bullies and abuses (verbally or physically) others.
  • Changes in sleep and/or eating habits.
  • Extreme mood swings and/or outbursts of anger.
  • Deceitful, lies and can't be trusted.
  • Isolated and/or picked on by peers.
  • Lack of motivation and poor academic performance.

The number of items you check and their level of frequency may also help you decide whether  a Child Psychologist  or Psychological Assessment can help. Depending on how many items you check and how frequently they occur, these behaviors may signal behavioral or emotional concerns that require further attention and support.

Find our more about behavioral problem children and what might contribute to the behavior problems they exhibit.

You can also learn more about children who externalize their behaviors or who act out in an angry, aggressive manner.

Or find about the child who internalizes distress and appears anxious, sad and withdrawn. Click here to learn more.

Find more articles to help with child behavior problems.

Remember, Understanding the Problem is the Key to Solving It.

A Psychological Assessment or School Neuropsychological Evaluation can increase understanding of child problems, and lead to evvidence based interventions to address them. 


Dr. O'Connor runs her practice, in Toronto (Yonge & St.Clair.)

She can be reached at 416-592-0838.

You can also contact Dr. O'Connor by email.

Dr. O'Connor is the author of I Can Be Me-A Helping Book for Children of Alcoholic Parents.