When raising a child, specifically in their younger ages, you often worry whether they’re eating okay, whether their resting okay, and whether they’re a mental state is okay.
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As a parent, its normal to frequently worry about your child’s health. Good health in children is vital to healthy development as they grow older over the years. However, what most people don’t expect or quite don’t know how to handle is when their child has behavioural issues.
Sometimes children can be more temperamental, or outright naughtier than others. You need to be able to understand why our child acts out in these ways and how to eliminate it, so they don’t continue this type of behaviour into their adult lives.
But before we can even fix their behavioural issues, we need to understand how bad the severity of their behaviour is, why they have developed this behaviour and the specific course of action you need to take to counter it.
Signs of Behavioural Issue
The below points of behavioural issues are common in most children. Even if your child does not have a behavioural problem or disorder, it is likely they will demonstrate a few of these points when provoked.
However, if your child shows multiple signs and frequently, they may have a behavioural issue, and action needs to be taken against them as it may harm their health and others around them.
- Frequently angered by small matters
- Questioning rules and defying them
- Extremely sensitive and easily annoyed by others
- Constant arguing with adults and others
- Intentional attempts to annoy, upset and stir emotions of peers and adults
- Defiance and refusal to follow instructions and requests from parents or authority figures
- Not being accountable and blaming others for their misbehaviour or mistakes
- Revenge-seeking and developing hateful feelings towards others after the conflict is over
Why Your Child May Have Behavioural Issues
Many children who have severe behavioural issues may have developed a disorder. The best way to know is to find out what the main symptoms are and to speak with a child therapist or medical practitioner.
Not knowing if your child has a disorder or not and not asking about it is the first mistake parents make because without knowing, you will never be able to treat your child correctly.
By being able to identify the behaviours in the above points, and speaking with a professional, you can understand the specific disorder your child has, improve and fix their behavioural issues in a supporting manner. Here are the different disorders that may contribute to your child’s behaviour.
1. Oppositional Defiant Disorder
This is the most common disorder in children, especially in their young ages. Around one in ten children under the age of 12 may have ODD. Boys are more likely to have ODD as they make up 66% of children with the oppositional defiant disorder. No one way causes children to develop this disorder.
The reason why it is developed can be based on genetics or environmental conditions. If a child comes from a family where members have mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety or personality disorders, this may affect whether they have the oppositional defiant disorder. Cognitive functioning may also contribute to this disorder.
Children with abnormal amounts of brain chemicals can also develop this disorder. Environmental conditioning can also play a role in ODD. If the child is raised in a home where he is exposed to violence, destructive behaviour, uncontrollable anger and reckless behaviours from parents or friends, this can contribute to the development of this disorder. This is not just limited to home, but also at school, around parents, friends or even from the TV.
Some of the typical behaviours of a child with ODD include:
- Easily frustrated and upset
- Temper tantrums and mood swings
- Does not accept or follow given instructions
- Likes to argue with authority figures and peers
- Intentionally annoys and upsets authority figures and peers
- Low self-esteem
2. Conduct Disorder
CD is a behavioural disorder where children will also express actions and behaviours of the ODD disorder and ADHD. This disorder is seen as the second stage of ODD.
Conduct disorder is more of a severe issue as opposed to ODD as children with this disorder begin to distance themselves from relationships and lose the sense of empathy for those around them.
Intervention must be done as soon as possible in this stage of children’s lives as it can carry on to other mental illnesses and substance abuse issues in their adult lives. Around 5% of 10-year-olds may have conduct disorder, with boys outnumbering girls by four to one.
Some of the typical behaviours of a child with CD may include:
- Refusal to follow instruction from authority figures
- Constant use of lies
- Lack of empathy for others
- Drug abuse at young ages
- Aggressive nature towards others and animals
- Sadistic desires including bullying, physical altercation or sexual abuse
- Getting excited by violence and physical conflict
- Criminal behaviours such as theft or vandalism
- Suicidal thoughts
3. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
This is a mental health disorder that causes individuals to have above-normal levels of hyperactive and impulsive behaviours. People with ADHD also find it difficult to focus their attention on a single task and tend to fidget when in a steady physical position.
ADHD can be developed during adulthood, even if they never had behavioural issues as children. As for For children, ADHD is often associated with causing trouble at school and experiencing learning difficulties. Boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls.
Behavioural traits of ADHD include:
- Very talkative
- Difficulty concentrating
- Not good at listening or paying attention
- Being overemotional
How to Manage Children Behavioral Issues
There is no one way to fix or get rid of behavioural issues, and you need to be aware when taking action against bad behaviour in children. Patience is key. This is a long process, and there are many scenarios you will encounter that will be uncomfortable for you and your child.
Countering behavioural issues is very much a trial and error. But remember always to be persistent, because when you are successful, everyone benefits and it can be a rewarding experience for yourself.
- Do not be overly aggressive. When you raise your voice or behave erratically, you may feel like you are getting your child’s attention. But what’s happening is you are provoking your child to react to you accordingly. By raising your voice and even showing violent behaviour, your child will not only feel at extreme unease but can lead them to resent you.
- Approach everything calmly. The first step to getting your child’s attention is to get their focus. And the only way to do that is to calm them down first. By acting calmly and peacefully, your child will follow. Once you have their attention, it’s much easier to communicate with them effectively.
- Teach them to be verbal. Children who act out physically often have difficulty expressing themselves. By teaching them to talk more, communicating honestly and openly with a parent or a trusted member in their close circle will get them to express themselves without the need to act out physically.
- Give more attention to good behaviour. When your child does something good, compliment them. This will reinforce and encourage positive behaviour. It also means that they don’t need bad behaviour to get your attention or to draw an emotion from you.
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