Dealing with a child with behavior problems can be challenging. Moreover, if you’re a new parent, you just don’t have a clue how to cope with the situation. It gets worse as many parents can’t identify the deviant behavior of children since they think naughtiness and impulsiveness are totally normal.
Managing behavior problems in younger and older children help them gain developmental skills to regulate their behavior.
Some children may be extremely difficult to handle but behavior therapy, medication, treatment, and patience can really work.
- 1 Children’s Nature
- 2 Characteristic of Child with Behavior Problems
- 3 Diagnostics
- 4 Treatments
- 5 How to Handle Child with Behavior Problems
Younger children can be impulsive, naughty and defiant. This is the part of children’s emotional development and it’squite normal.
But in some cases, children have extremely challenging and disruptive behavior, which is difficult to handle.
How to identify a child with behavior problems? Of course, the very first thing to do is to understand children’s nature.
Once you have a clear insight into the nature of children, you can easily identify whether a child’s actions are normal or defiant and indicate a severer issue.
Here are essential characteristics and nature of children you might need to know:
Don’t be so surprised to see your junior touches, grabs, or even tastes everything he sees. Young children are curious by nature and you can’t prevent them from exploring their environment.
They are born eager to learn, allowing them to put new knowledge into their brains. When your children begin adventures at a very young age, all you need to do is to supervise their activities.
A child with behavior problems may have hyperactivity disorder. Hyperactivity is often associated with ADHD, one of the most disruptive behavior disorders, but you can’t say that all energetic children have this mental disorder.
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In fact, being energetic and active is one of the children’s essential characteristics, although the energy and activity level may vary from one child to another.
Young children are often imaginative. Using imagination helps develop their emotional and psychological capacities to understand their world. Some children develop imaginary friends and it is quite normal.
This means children are only interested in activities and anything that focus on their liking. Egocentric as one of children’s nature often causes emotional outbursts, especially when reality doesn’t meet their expectations.
For instance, your child may cry when you ask him to share favorite food or you refuse to buy a new toy. But in some cases, it can be a sign of a child with behavior problems.
Toddlers and young children are excellent copycats. It’s their nature to learn new things from adults and their surroundings.
It helps them develop skills such as communication, problem-solving, emotion management, and many more. You might be surprised by how fast they learn from you as parents.
Did you ever talk to your child but he interpreted the wrong way? Believe it or not, this is perfectly normal in children since they’re meaning-oriented.
That means they understand what you said without understanding each word. In simpler words, they try to guess what is being said and respond to it based on the resources they have.
Short Span of Attention
If your child gets bored easily and tends to move from one activity to another, that’s completely normal.
A limited span of attention is one of the essential characteristics of toddlers and young children, so it will be a little difficult to make them focus. But in case the child has inattention and difficulty in concentrating, it may be a sign of disorder behavior.
Characteristic of Child with Behavior Problems
Understanding the nature of children helps you distinguish children with behavior problems from a normal child. However, it doesn’t mean you can randomly label a child with behavior disorders only because they are energetic or having occasional temper tantrums.
If you need a little help to identify children with disruptive behavior disorders, learn more about common characteristics below.
Difficulty in concentrating and inattention can be a sign of behavior problems, particularly ADHD. These children can’t focus and often forget instructions, which bring them into so much trouble in school.
They’re also energetic and hyperactive, so you might see them move from one activity to another without focusing on one task.
A child with behavior problems is easily angered. Even a simple thing like hunger or lack of attention can trigger uncontrolled emotional outbursts or meltdowns. They can shout, whimper, throw things, or even thrashing on the floor.
Children with frequent temper tantrums are commonly diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder and boys are more likely to suffer this behavior problem.
Another common characteristic of children with behavior disorders is low self-esteem. Children with low self-esteem are less likely to gain developmental skills as their lack of motivation and confidence.
It can be caused by many factors like verbal and physical violence at home or underlying conditions like a mental disorder. Parents will face difficulty to boost children’s self-esteem.
Refuse to Obey Rules
Defiant behaviour is commonly shown by refusing to obey rules. If your child tends to violate each and every rule you’ve made, it can be early sign of oppositional defiant disorder.
In a more significant issue, a child with behavior problems may commit crimes like stealing, vandalism, or breaking into houses.
Aggressiveness is a common characteristic of children with conduct disorder. Their defiant behavior makes them labeled as ‘bad kids’ and this label just worsen their feeling.
These children are aggressive not only to other people but also to animals, so they often commit bullying, physical abuse, and even sexual abuse.
Well, it’s true that children have their own opinions. Sometimes, they argue with parents over clothes or hobbies and it’s normal. But when a child argues frequently—let’s say over anything being told to him, it can be a sign of behavior problems.
Understanding the common characteristics of a child with behavior problems isn’t enough to diagnose the presence of these disorders in a child. This condition is complicated and needs in-depth analysis to determine if a child suffers from a specific disruptive behavior disorder or combined disorders.
The right diagnosis method helps pediatricians or parents figure out how to help the children. Here are some common methods conducted to diagnose delinquency in a child.
- Diagnosis by a specialist such as psychologist, pediatricians, and child psychiatrist.
- Detailed interviews with child, parents and teachers.
- Questionnaires and behaviour check lists.
Before receiving a diagnosis of specific behavior disorders, a child with behavior problems must engage some of the behaviors constantly.
For instance, a child can be diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) if he loses temper or argues with adults frequently.
Or, a child can be diagnosed with conduct disorder if he constantly commits bullying, criminal behavior, or physical abuse.
What’s next? Once a child is diagnosed with a specific behavior disorder, the child behaviour specialist will meet the parents and the child to discuss the treatment options.
A psychologist, psychiatrist, or pediatrician may suggest what to do to help the child. The treatment plan is commonly made to meet the needs of the family and the child.
How to treat a child with behavior problems? There are myriad treatments that are commonly accommodated with the child’s and family’s needs.
In simpler words, the treatment varies depending on the particular disorder and side-factors that trigger the condition.
But to make it easier to understand, here are compiled treatments commonly applied to help a child with behaviour disorder.
This treatment helps not only the child but also the entire family. In many cases, children’s delinquent behavior is caused by dysfunctional family, in which the child doesn’t receive good communication and problem-solving skills.
This treatment can improve communication between family members so the bond can be strengthened.
Helping child with behavior problems can be done by giving parental education. Parents are taught how to manage and to communicate with the children. This is important as many parents have no idea how to manage a child’s emotions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Behavior disorder occurs because the child can’t control their thoughts and behavior. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps the child manage and control their emotion, thoughts, and behavior.
The most common problem of a child with behavior problems is the inability to socialize with their peers. Social training helps address this problem, allowing them to mingle with family and friends.
The child will be taught social skills, how to play nicely, or how to have a conversation with others.
Support for Associated Problems
If your child has a learning difficulty, he might take advantage of professional support. In case your child has mobility or care needs, he can get a disability living allowance or DLA support.
It can be used for a child under 16 and has mobility or care needs. Disability living allowance is quite easy to claim as it only requires insurance number, driving license, birth certificate, or passport to prove your identity.
A child with behavior problems can be treated with encouragement. The disorder can cause failure and problems in social interactions, so these children needs to be encouraged to build their self-esteem.
The encouragement can be accommodated through their hobbies or personal interest like sports, music, art, and much more.
In a more significant issue, children with behaviour disorders may show impulsive behaviour and aggressiveness that potentially harm themselves or other people. In this case, medication can be a suggested treatment that helps control their behaviour.
How to Handle Child with Behavior Problems
It isn’t easy to handle a child with behavior problems. All the emotional outbursts, temper tantrums, whimpers, shouts, and arguments just make you frustrated, distressed, and upset.
But no matter how challenging your child is, you don’t have other choices than dealing with it.
Don’t let the child’s difficult behaviour give you another headache. Learn the following tips to handle a child with behaviour disorders and see how it works.
Believe In Yourself
Parents with a problematic child are often showered with advice and suggestions from all directions. You might be tempted to follow all the advice but you need to remember one thing.
Nobody knows your child as best as you do. Do what feels right for your child and yourself. Believe in yourself that you can overcome the problem in your own way.
Consistency is key to control your child. Many parents are failed to manage their child because they’re not consistent with what they’ve decided. Even if it doesn’t seem to work in the beginning, keep on moving and see how it works.
Being too flexible will make your child confuse and it can make them refuse to obey the rule in the future.
Make Time for a Talk
In many cases, delinquent behavior is caused by bad communication between parents and children. Some children don’t know how to say their feeling so you as a parent needs to know how to encourage them to talk.
Once they talk, be a good listener, figure out why they are so upset or angry, and give supporting advice. Remember not to be judgmental as it can discourage your child, to be honest.
When your child annoys other people, you may have an urge to blow up. With frustration and anger buildup, you can easily overreact in front of the child.
But trying to stay calm is the best thing you can do, although it can be very difficult. Showing your anger just worsens the situation, not to mention your child is going to learn from you.
Don’t Give Up
This is a key factor in your success in dealing with a child with behavior disorders. No matter how difficult it is, you must not give up.
You know that after every storm, there is a rainbow. You, your child, and your family may be having a bad time but you have to believe that a better future is waiting ahead. Don’t hesitate to get support from your partner, family, even a specialist.
All in all, a child with behaviour problems is challenging to handle but it doesn’t mean impossible. As a parent, it is important to know particular disorder your child is suffering from so you can find the right treatment to cope with it.