All children misbehave occasionally, and some kids develop temporary behavioral problems as a result
All children misbehave occasionally, and some kids develop temporary behavioral problems as a result of stress. However, according to MedlinePlus, a child's misbehaving can indicate a serious problem if they're behavior is excessively hostile, aggressive, or disruptive and if the change in behavior lasts for more than 6 months. Another indicator that your child has behavioral problems is when the behavior is not appropriate for their age. Understanding more about child psychology will help you determine if your child's behavior is normal or not. Other than that, keeping an eye on these 6 behavioral problems will help you decide if you should seek professional help.
1. Poor impulse control
Toddlers are usually impulsive and often have problems regulating their emotions which is perfectly normal. But impulsiveness and inability to control anger in older children could indicate opposite defiant disorder. Around one in ten children are believed to have oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) which is characterized by anger, irritability, temper tantrums, and disobedience. If you see this behavior in your child, make sure to seek help from a child therapist or doctor. The causes of ODD are either psychological in nature or even neurobiological according to some studies.
2. Inattention and hyperactivity
If your child shows obvious problems with attention, this could indicate attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD is thought to occur in around 5% of children in the world and the causes of this disorder are poorly understood but researchers agree that the disorder is neurological in nature. ADHD is characterized by an inability to hold attention, problems with controlling one's behavior, and social difficulties. With early treatment that involves medication and therapy, children with ADHD can find it easier to focus, control their impulses, and this will help them develop a healthy self-esteem.
Some kids show disrespect towards their parents, other adults, and peers. Disrespect could either mean that your child is asserting their independence or that they're testing your limits. While being rude is normal for a child, parents need to discourage such behavior and react appropriately in order to prevent this behavior from becoming a habit. Depending on the child's age and what they're trying to achieve by showing disrespect, a parent can do several things. They can either ignore the child to discourage them from behaving disrespectfully, nip it in the bud, or model what respectful behavior is. After all, children learn best by example.
4. Whining excessively
A behavioral problem that may go unnoticed by most parents, especially in pre-school children is excessive whining. While it is normal for small children to whine and cry out of frustration, some kids use these kinds of emotional displays to get what they want. This behavior is simply a result of conditioning as children notice early on that they get the most attention when they're upset. If you want to stop your child from whining, pediatrician Laurel Schultz advises parents to pay attention to their kids when they're not distressed. Whining could indicate that your child feels neglected. But don't be hard on yourself here. Many parents today struggle to get enough time to meet all their kids' needs.
5. Frequent temper tantrums
Every healthy child will throw a temper tantrum when they feel like some of their needs aren't being met or out of anxiety. But frequent temper tantrums for seemingly no reason could be a sign your child is struggling with deeper issues. For instance, autism is characterized by rigidity and repetitive behavior, and when something disrupts the child's rigid set of rules, a temper tantrum ensues. Temper tantrums in school-aged children could indicate learning difficulties, anxiety, and even be one of the signs of depression. If you feel like your child's temper tantrums are excessive, consulting a professional could help get to the root causes.
6. Not doing well in school
Every parent would love their kids to excel in school, but sometimes children may struggle with learning and this can affect their self-esteem and cause excessive stress. Knowing what is stress and the consequences of uncontrolled stress will help you understand the importance of managing it in your children. Addressing the issue will also help determine if your child has a learning disability. However, if your child shows a sudden drop in school performance, this could be a tell-tale sign that they're stressed out, depressed, or possibly even being abused. Suspect abuse if your child is withdrawn, insecure, and showing other behavioral changes.
Most children misbehave and show behavioral problems as they go through the phase of childhood. However, determining what is normal and what not when speaking of behavior in children can be difficult. As a rule of thumb, anything excessive, disruptive, or inappropriate for a child's age could indicate a problem. If you feel that your child is experiencing what is stress or showing signs of depression, then consulting a professional could help determine if you have any reason to worry.