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Behavior Issues in Children You Shouldn't Ignore

Roy D'Silva
Child behavioral problems are serious and may have repercussions on the child's life in the future, if not taken care of at an early stage.
Seeing a child grow up before your eyes can be a very satisfying feeling. It is during his growing years that a child comes to terms with various concepts of life such as, family belonging, discipline, social norms, etc. However, the growing years of a child can be the most challenging period for his parents as well.
This is because they have to deal with, utmost patience, various issues and problems relating to the child's behavior. Furthermore, unlike any disease or physical injury, there is no specific predefined cure for behavioral problems.

Common Behavior Problems

Child behavior problems can crop up from issues that we may consider negligible, and ignore easily. It is thus, necessary to differentiate between mischievous children and those facing behavioral issues. Problems or issues about behavior can occur in toddlers as well as teenagers.
Needless to say, such problems, if ignored in the beginning, can lead to children developing bigger and more serious psychological disorders which may in the future, hamper not only their personality but also their all-round development.
Violence is an intense form of aggression that can lead even to a person's death, alongside having many other fatal impacts.
Violent behavior in children may not necessarily result from anger; it may just be a part of his personality as he grows up. Numerous factors may lead to the development of violent behavior in children, like the child being a victim of abuse in the past or genetic factors, such as family history of violence.
Being exposed to violence in movies, TV, or in video games, constant stress and tension in the family, presence of weapons in the house, etc., also contribute. Such children may exhibit different types of violent behavior - fighting with family and friends, threatening others, attempting to hurt self, others, as well as animals, setting things on fire or destroying things, using weapons against others or murderous attitude, developing suicidal tendencies, and so on.
Some children may react and behave very convulsively due to uncontrollable anger.
Explosive Rage
They might yell and scream on the top of their voices during fights, throw and break things around, smash windows and windshields, tear clothes, and mutilate their toys. Such behavior is absolutely disturbing for the family members. One can rarely make out when the kid might get angry and behave in such a manner.
Sometimes, a kid may exhibit a calm and serene behavior in a particular situation at a given point of time, but he may get violently angry in a similar situation at some other time. A child who exhibits such behavior may either suffer from low levels of tolerance, or he may have realized that he can get whatever he wants from his parents by behaving in this way. Both ways, it is a very serious cause of concern.
Children, in their growing years, frequently tend to show negative traits in their behavioral patterns.
Which are more often than not interpreted as disrespectful behavior for others, especially their parents & elders. Answering back to their parents is one of the most common behavioral problems witnessed amongst young kids. As kids begin to grow up, they somehow feel the need to assert their position in the house, or at places where they frequently visit.
Back answering is their way to apply logic to things, which they face regularly. Since their wisdom matches their age, their parents never seem to come to terms with it; so, there is always a tug-of-war between the cognition of children and their parents. This makes the child behave in a rude manner with people around him. However, this can be dealt with, if the parents are patient enough and let their children understand the difference between 'right' and 'wrong' for themselves.
Bullying may be instilled in the character of a child at numerous levels. Many a time, it starts from the home itself.
Whenever a child sees constantly quarreling parents, or acts of domestic violence, such as, screaming or beating, he may gradually turn into a bully. Similarly, if a child himself is being bullied by others, at school or anywhere outside the house, he may himself turn into a bully in a desperate attempt to defend himself.
For teenagers, bullying may seem to be a solution for all their social problems. A common misconception among teens is to become a bully themselves and dominate others, rather than fall victim to bullying or letting others know that they are in a problem. "Why should I accept that I cannot do certain things as good as others?" or "Why should I not have what my friend does?" They always seem to ask themselves questions like these, which in turn have an adverse impact on their behavior.
It has to be noted that how and why a child turns into a bully is not the point of concern at this juncture. It is very important to understand that bullying can become an inseparable part of a child's character in the long run, and he can turn into a hardcore bully as an adult.
Most kids resort to lying at one point or the other for a variety of reasons.
Lying is the most common behavior problem that is faced by all parents. It is the kid's way of getting out of problems and punishments. Lying does not only involve manipulating the truth. Telling a half-truth, omitting substantial portions of the truth from the narration, according to one's convenience. But sometimes, children may lie for no apparent reason.
It is very important for parents to detect when a child is lying. However, the reaction of a parent in such a situation determines the child's behavior in the future. For instance, if a parent does not pay much attention to the lies, a child may lie repeatedly in order to escape tight situations.
Children whose parents are overbearing tend to lie more than others. This is because they wish to do things, they think, their parents will otherwise never allow. The habit of lying, if not controlled at an early age, can turn out to be extremely bad and may affect the child's future in all spheres of his life.
Kids often tend to steal things, especially if they want them, but are unable to get them.
This happens because some kids are still not psychologically mature enough to control their impulses. Of course it is very annoying and embarrassing as a parent. Children may resort to stealing for numerous reasons such as, an urge to impress friends, wanting something that somebody else has, etc.
Kids steal if they want or need something but are unable to buy it due to lack of enough money, or they are curious to try out legally prohibited things, or just for the sake of fun and show off. Stealing, in any form, is highly unacceptable and needs to be handled as soon as a parent finds out about any such instance. It might turn out to be a tendency, and a habit in the long-run that might also imbibe criminal character into his personality.
While arguing may sometimes be a good way to get your point through.
It is not good at all if your kids argue with you all the time to get what they want and the way they want it. While healthy arguments and debates can give a boost to the kids' thought process, a habit of arguing on petty matters can be extremely troublesome.
Arguing is an attempt on the part of the kids to acquire whatever they wish. It is a way of trying to change the mind of the parents after they refuse to do something for their child, or decide to do something against the wish of the child. Constant habit of arguing, if not checked at the right time, may lead in the future, to the child portraying more aggressive and a violent behavior.
Each one of us, whether a kid or an adult, tends to make excuses time and again.
The reason basically is that all of us want to justify our deeds and "mistakes". Kids learn from their elders and if they see them making excuses (which seems a normal thing), they feel it is alright to do so. Trying to justify a certain kind of behavior might not be always wrong.
The trouble begins when a child figures out that he/she can get away with his/her mistakes by making excuses or putting the entire blame on somebody else. This behavior might not seem very troublesome at the beginning, but as the child grows up, making excuses develops into an irresistible habit, which may not be often accepted by people at his university/workplace, and it will hamper not only his position but also his reputation.
It is very important to make children understand the pros and cons of arguing at an early age so that they figure out for ways to put their point across. It will also cultivate a sense of responsibility in them.
Some children exhibit utter lethargy; they tend to cultivate within themselves a tendency of procrastination.
Whenever they are asked to do something or help out in something, they just display the "I'll do it later" attitude and try to do away with the work that they actually, do not want to do. Not because they cannot do it, but because they are just lazy. Sometimes, they procrastinate so much that people tend to stop approaching them for help.
Laziness can be dealt with effectively, if parents put some conditions before the child and make sure that the task is done within the prescribed time. However, if this habit is ignored, children may grow up into lazy adults, thus delaying all their tasks as well as those of others.
Insecurities become a part of children's life as soon as they reach adolescence.
They start worrying about small things, such as their physical appearance, their position amongst their peers and so on. Many times, a sort of inferiority complex creeps in the mind of a kid, and he starts losing his self-confidence. His low self-confidence is sometimes so deeply rooted; he begins to fear everything.
When self-esteem is affected, kids get scared of meeting and mingling with people, answering a question before the class, going to a shop or even to school. He is afraid of what people may think of him/her, of whether they will make fun of him/her, laugh or call names. In a nutshell, it is a fear of social indulgence. In such cases, building self-confidence is vital. After all, nobody will want them to grow into diffident individuals, suffering from low self-esteem.
Teenage children often indulge in drugs or alcohol under the excuse, "We are just trying it".
Substance Abuse
While some of them manage not to get addicted, quite a number of them fall into the vicious circle of substance abuse. The old saying, 'Man is known by the company he keeps', holds true even in this situation. Kids tend to learn good things and bad things from their friends as well, alongside their parents and teachers.
If a child hangs around with notorious kids, he is bound to learn their ways. Warning the child, right after the first instance, is a good way of making him/her realize that such kind of behavior is a big 'no-no' in the house and will be punished henceforth. However, if fun turns into addiction, appropriate medical aid and rehabilitation may be needed.
Repetitive pattern of addiction is definitely a cause of concern, and it is advisable for the parents and guardians to immediately bring such matters to the attention of a qualified and expert mental health professional. If the parents and guardians fail to understand the gravity of the problem within time, the repercussions can be extremely devastating in the future.
One has to note that problems in child behavior and are not medically-defined disorders. Disorders, which can be medically treated, may either be causes or effects of these problems.

Technology and Child Behavior

Nowadays, technological innovations also play a major role in affecting the behavior of children. Mobile phones, video games and computers have opened a whole new arena for kids and within no time, we can find them sitting quietly at one place and connecting to their friends, or playing or watching videos, or chatting on the Internet.
Being tech savvy is good if certain limits are set. Everything that a child sees or experiences has an impact on their behavior, and so, parents have to be cautious enough of what their children are watching, playing or doing.
While giving kids freedom at an early age makes them more confident, it can also sometimes trigger negative notions in them. To curb these, a plain and a firm 'no' is enough to make them understand what is, and what is not, allowed.

Combating Unpleasant Child Behavior

Contrary to popular belief, discipline, let alone corporal discipline, may not be the right way of combating behavior problems in children. Discipline can sometimes lead a child to firmly believe in the notion that the entire world is his/her foe, and subsequently force the child to take more drastic steps than earlier.
One of the most important things that parents should do in order to manage behavioral problems in their child is by behaving themselves. Make sure that there are little or no spousal or domestic arguments in the presence of children.
Kids usually imitate their elders and if they do not know what arguing is, there are chances that they may never find out till they have a social group.
Another way of combating the problem is by letting things go on for a while and giving the child enough time to understand the consequences for himself.
For example, if a child ignores the parent and has water after having plantains, it is evident that the child will have stomach problems the next day. Rest assured, the child will never drink water after consuming plantains ever.
A life full of choices is a life best lived. Therefore, parents should encourage children to make choices as early as possible. The choices can be as simple as the attire they wish to wear, or something as serious as what they would do with their pocket-money.
Not only will this make them realize the importance of taking responsibility, but will also give them confidence to make their own and right decisions.
Adolescence or teenage can be a crucial time for a child during his growing years.
Children go through physical and mental changes during this time and therefore, their behavior and temperament also undergoes a lot of fluctuations. It is crucial for parents to be more supportive during these times. If the rebel in your child has finally come out during these years, the best way is to play it down for a while.
Teenagers, especially, do some things sometimes just to get into arguments or gain attention. If parents don't argue with them, in the heat of the moment, chances are that the value of the action may go a few notches down.
Disclaimer: This story is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.