Raising a child can seem like a nearly impossible task at times. Children experience a wide range of moods and behaviors that can frustrate parents. Many unattractive behaviors are simply a normal part of a healthy childhood, while others may signify a problem. Knowing how to deal with unattractive behaviors, as well as knowing when to seek professional help, can help your child grow into a healthy adult.
Childhood behaviors vary, making it difficult for parents to differentiate from typical and abnormal conduct. Each child progresses in her own special manner, displaying different types of behavior at different stages in her life. Like adults, children have individual variations in levels of development, temperament and behavior. The University of Michigan Health System advises that it is normal for children to have temper tantrums and display anger. However, consistently disruptive behavior may be a sign of a behavioral problem.
Children may display difficult behavior, such as refusing to do chores, reverting to baby talk, or becoming excessively self-centered. These behaviors can be a typical reaction to periods of stress or illness. While you may dislike your child’s occasional bad moods and disrespectful comments, these difficulties seldom cause ongoing problems. However, patterns of hostility, aggression and disruptive behaviors need special attention.
Your parenting techniques may help shape your child’s behavior by encouraging positive behaviors and discouraging negative actions. The effectiveness of different parenting techniques depends on your child’s age and individual personality. When attempting to promote good behavior in your child, offer genuine praises and compliments for positive actions and help your child recognize the consequences of poor choices. Communicate with your child and encourage him to talk about his feelings, rather than acting out in inappropriate ways.
Certain warning signs can alert you to the presence of childhood problems that require help. These signs include frequent tantrums and arguments, consistent hostility toward authority figures, lying, stealing, damaging property and harming or threatening themselves, pets or other people. Problems in school and withdrawal from family and friends may also indicate the presence of emotional difficulties.
Children, whose behavior endangers their own safety, or the safety of others, may require professional help. Your child’s pediatrician may test your child for learning disorders or suggest you consult a mental health professional. Helping children with behavioral problems often requires the combined effort of teachers, counselors and parents.