Anyone who has ever parented a toddler or watched a tantrum in action knows that there are often no logical explanations for seemingly impossible, irrational behavior. But how is a parent (or an educator) to know the difference between a terrible twos moment and a real problem that needs more serious attention?
That’s why EarlyStories found a Boston Globe article on the topic so intriguing. The story noted that researchers, educators and lawmakers are increasingly addressing issues of childhood aggression, paralyzing anxiety and other severe problems, spurred in part by a Yale study in 2005 by Professor Walter S. Gilliam.
Gilliam’s findings that 3-and 4-year-olds were being kicked out of publicly funded preschool programs at high rates drew some attention.
The story describes ways that nonprofits and the state are funding mental health services and other programs that exist for children whose tantrums may signify that they need some extra help.
“A decade ago, children exhibiting extreme behavior in preschool often floundered,” the story noted. “They bounced from one program to the next and often fell behind their peers.”
Ultimately, many youngsters who don’t get the help they need early on are steered to special education classes in school, even though early intervention might have made a huge difference. It’s important to examine what types of interventions and programs do exist for young children and what kind of a difference they can make. The story noted that mental health services for young children are not a priority for many recession ravaged states.