Social and Emotional Difficulties in Children

Children’s social and emotional health is crucial to their overall learning. In fact, research shows that children who have strong socio-emotional skills are more likely to be happier and more eager to learn. Children who have weaker social-emotional skills are more likely to suffer from mental health problems, struggle in school and are at a greater risk of delinquency and addictions.

The early childhood years (birth to age 3) are a time of rapid and normal development, but for some children there may be underlying social, emotional and behavioural difficulties which require professional intervention. These are known as SEBD.

Individuals with social and emotional difficulties have difficulty developing or maintaining relationships with peers and adults. They have trouble understanding the social cues of others and often show inappropriate responses or behaviour to situations. These difficulties can cause them to feel anxious and scared, affecting their day-to-day happiness and success.

Navigating the Landscape: Understanding Social and Emotional Difficulties

These symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe and can lead to anxiety, depression, aggression, self-harming, substance abuse, poor academic performance and low achievement, and a wide range of other behavioural and physical problems. Individuals may also struggle to understand their emotions, healthily express their emotions or have poor concentration and attention span.

Teachers and childcare providers can play a critical role in identifying these issues. They see children in a variety of different social situations every day and may notice when a child has difficulties playing with their peers, following rules or accepting change. While it’s common for children to display these symptoms occasionally, if they occur frequently and interfere with a child’s daily life, it’s a sign that they need to be evaluated by a specialist in social-emotional difficulties.

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