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Behavior Problems

Behavior problems in children is part of a natural process of testing and establishing boundaries.
      All kids may misbehave at one time or another, sometimes they are involved in harmless mischief, and on rare occasions they actually act out or rebel against those who are in a position of authority.

      Some parents do not understand or fully grasp the reasons for what they consider as unacceptable behavior of their children. Applying the label of "Problem Child" to any child is hurtful, demeaning, and can cause lasting emotional damage. Far too many adults condemn children without making any attempt to discover the fundamental reason responsible for a behavioral problem.

      Parents should not automatically defend their child's actions at school or in the community. They should always wait, until after they have careful and without emotion,  they have talked and listen to those who are in authority about what occurred and what actions they feel is an appropriate and necessary response. The relationship between child and parent should be unconditional, even when a parent(s) disapprove of and condone their actions.

Physical causes of poor behavior
      Sometimes the unacceptable behavior is the result in the child's frustration stemming from vision or hearing problems. This type of problem can easily be corrected after an examination by someone specializing in the diagnosis and correction of eye and ear related problems.

     Diagnosing a learning problem usually requires a battery of special tests to determine if there is a problem that falls under the general classification of attention hyperactive disorders. A psychiatric disorder may also be the cause of a behavior problem that endangers children and adults with whom the child associates. Schools can recommend people who specialize in the identification and treatment of these disorders. They may offer programs, for children with behavioral problems, at district expense providing the child qualifies to receive the benefits.

Behavior Disorder - Identification and Treatment
      What would you do if your child bands his/her head hard against the floor in a temper tantrum because the parent refuses to give in to the child's demands?
      In the example above, the child is attempting to control the situation by causing fear in the parent that the child will cause a physical injury to them self.  When the parent ignores the child, the child will usually stop throwing the tantrum. If the behavior continues, the child must be physically restrained and professional help should be immediately called.  The situation is out of control and way past the time to put the child in a "Time Out"! Physical punishment is never an acceptable solution!
Note: Behavior disorders go beyond mischief and rebellion. Someone with such a disorder
has usually established a pattern of hostile, aggressive or disruptive behaviors which has continued for more than 6 months.
Warning signs can include:
  • Harming or threatening themselves, other people or pets
  • Damaging or destroying property
  • Lying or stealing
  • Not doing well in school, skipping school
  • Early smoking, drinking or drug use
  • Early sexual activity
  • Frequent tantrums and arguments
  • Consistent hostility towards authority figures
         Source Child Behavior Disorders

Understanding behavioral problems
       Psychologists generally attribute the occurrence of a child's behavior to filling a specific goal that child considers important.

       The need for attention is frequently suggested as being responsible for many children "Acting Out" as a way for the child to obtain attention from parents. The first step in dealing with behavior problems is to understand that such a child considers negative intention received for problem behavior is preferred to no attention at all.

Behavioral problems in the classroom or at home
      A child who displays a behavior, outside the expected norm, can cause teachers or parents to view the individual as a "Problem Child". A teacher, with a classroom of thirty plus students, neither has the time or resources to attempt to analyze and understand the causes behind disruptive behavior. The time they might spend is time taken away from other children, who are not causing problems and also need positive attention.

      It is wishful thinking on the part of parents to think their child will "Out Grow" unacceptable or disruptive behavior prior to entering school, especially when they have been previously "Acting Out" in their family unit.  The problem will continue to exist if the child feels they are achieving their goal of seeking attention. 

     Behavioral problems in children are indicators of the presence of unresolved issues. It is unfortunate that that the children have been allowed to bring such behavior into the classroom and in other activities. It is not cute and it is totally unacceptable for treatment not to have been sought when the behavior first emerged.

     After becoming aware of possible causes, its time to formulate a practical plan to help deal with any behavioral problems that has been identified by professional child psychologists:

  • Understand the intention behind the behavior:  What is the individual trying to achieve through his/her behavior? Is it a cry for: attention, love, or an attempt to control you? Only after you have discovered the actual cause, behind the behavioral problem, is it possible to propose a solution to treat the problem.
  • Is the behavior consistent?  Is the child a problem in school and not a problem at home? The place in which the problematic behavior is rooted may not always be the where the bad behavior actually occurs. Any meaningful solution must target the root cause, not just the symptoms!
  • Help the child achieve goals in an acceptable way: If a problem started at home, the entire family must be part of the solution.  Don't expect to be able to change the behavior at school if no parental support is forth coming to enforce the desired behavior when the child is at home.
Note: Some types of behavior may be compartmentalized and are thus more difficult
to identify the causal agent as the individual has become very skilled in hiding the
symptoms.  An individual suffering from "cutting", eating disorders, and drug abuse,
etc. may be successfully able to mask their symptoms until the disease has progressed
to its later stages.

  Recommended Reading:
  • Your Child's Behavior Problems  Understanding Behavior: a key to discipline. Some things to think about when your child's behavior becomes a problem.
  • School Age Children - Behavior Problems   Help for parents in dealing with children's behavior problems. Understanding emotional and behavioral disorders with practical ideas for child behavior.
  • Emotions & Behavior  Is it just a phase or a serious problem? Discover how to understand your child's behavior, whether it's toddler tantrums or teenage depression.
Behavior Problems: Your Child: University of Michigan Health Understanding Behavior: a Key to Discipline for some things to think about when your child's behavior becomes a problem.

Child Behavior Modification Program for Defiant Children I have a very personal understanding of kids with behavior problems because I displayed severe oppositional, defiant behaviors as a child and teenager.

Emotions & Behavior  Is it just a phase or a serious problem? Find out how to understand your child's behavior, whether it's toddler tantrums or teenage depression.

Behavior Problems - School-Age Children - About.com Help for parents in dealing with children's behavior problems. Understanding emotional and behavioral disorders with practical ideas for child behavior.

References:

Introduction - Modifying Skills and Habits
 

Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

   
Healthy Relationships

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The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.


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