Behavioral problems are one of the most common issues that parents deal with when it comes to their children. Behavioral problems can also develop into a habit, due to psychological disorders, and can affect social relationships. Parents need to understand the reason for their children’s behavioral problems to help and encourage them to overcome them.
Here are some common behavior issues that you as a parent may have to deal with:
• Psychological disorders
Psychological disorders can lead to anxiety, depression, aggression, and may affect the child’s mental performance. This can be a result of a traumatic experience like an abuse or injury. It could also be due to sudden family changes or problems like divorce, illness or death.
Children may not show their response right away to traumatic events especially if it involves separation or divorce, death or an addition to the family. When changes like these happen, it is important to encourage them to share their feelings. Changes should be explained to them prior to the event, if at all possible
Children from different age levels may respond to traumatic events differently. In younger children, it could manifest in their sleeping and eating habits. Teens and young adults would often show changes in their social relationships with their families, friends, and school performance.
Habits like thumb sucking, nail biting, hair pulling, hitting or biting could be a response to situations where children may be feeling a lot of tension and pressure. To address these, parents should try to reinforce the child’s positive development, using “Positive Reinforcement“. Meanwhile, habits like thumb-sucking are better off ignored.
• Sleeping issues
Every child seems to have undergone sleeping/night-time problems, like nightmares, enuresis or bed wetting. For instance, about 20% of five years old wet their bed. By the time they reached 10 years old, the percentage is just 5%. About 2-3% of children bed-wetters, wet their bed due to medical conditions and problems.
Bed wetting could be a result of diseases, small bladder, food allergies, hormonal imbalances, sleep apnea, constipation, social changes and stress. having reoccurring nightmares is another night-time issue. It is important to talk to a professional if you are concerned about any of your child’s sleeping issues.
For bed-wetters, make sure that they feel assured that bed wetting is normal. Never humiliate or physically punish them for wetting the bed. There are different treatment methods that parents could use to help resolve bed wetting like alarms, use of medication from a qualified Doctor, schedules and of course, encouragement.
Night terrors, nightmares, sleep walking and sleep talking are other sleep problems. You could start by having a calming bedtime routine to help calm your children and assuage their fears. If sleeping problems continue and are disrupting your child’s daily life, there are sleep specialists and doctors who can help.
• Eating problems
Children can be picky when it comes to eating and they may end up not getting the right amount of nutrients their growing bodies need. Eating problems could be refusing to eat, playing and not eating during meal time, and eating non-food items.
Children may refuse food or dawdle when eating if they want attention, the food is not appealing or they may just be full. It is important to plan their meals. For example, if they want to a eat snack close to a mealtime, you could provide them with a smaller portion of a healthy snack, which would still leave them hungry enough to have a smaller serving at mealtime. Make sure that there are no toys, television, and other distractions during meal time.
In extreme cases children may develop eating disorders if they are dealing with complicated situations and emotions. Talk to them and reassure them. After all, they are still just children and the emotions they are feeling may be confusing to them.
Another eating problem is when children eat non-food items. This disorder is called Pica. This disorder could be a result of nutritional deficiencies that cause strange cravings or it could be a mental issue and a professional should be consulted as soon as possible.
It is perfectly normal for children to exhibit behavioral problems, since they are continuously learning and adjusting to their world. Changes, simple or profound, could have a large impact on them that parents sometimes miss. Talking to them about how they are feeling and giving them lots of love, encouragement, reassurance and professional help (if necessary) is the best way to help parents deal with these issues.