Child behavior problems can present themselves for multiple reasons. They can disrupt the family and literally halt the learning process. Until the reasons behind the problems are found, the child is sometimes trapped within a set of circumstances that lead to increased confusion and even more callous behaviors.
Disruptive Behavior Problems
Behavioral problems vary according to the situation. The various reactions can often be indicative of how the child is feeling but is unable or does not know how to adequately express. They can include but are not limited to:
- Aggressive outbursts that result in harming themselves or others.
- Temper tantrums that last longer than a few minutes.
- The child is out of control and does not seem to be in control of himself or his actions.
- Withdrawal and depression.
- Hyperactivity that leads to excessive fatigue.
A parent’s response to the child’s behavior plays a large role in the continuation of the child’s behavior. If they ignore the behavior, it may worsen dramatically. This is especially the case if the child is trying to gain the parents’ attention. If parents react poorly to the child’s behavior by trying to punish or reprimand them, the behaviors may escalate to the point of violence.
Once a parent begins to notice abnormal types of behavior, closely monitoring the continued outbursts and contacting their pediatrician are good places to start. Odds are that if the child is acting out at home, they are also acting out at school. Parents should contact the school to find out if their child’s behavior has changed in any way.
Causes of Child Behavior Problems
There a several causes that can affect how a child behaves. Some are easy to explain. Some reasons might be: parents going through a divorce, the death of a grandparent, or moving away from friends and family and attending a different school. Other causes can include:
- Various types of abuse (mental, verbal, physical or sexual) that are occurring either at home or at school.
- Being bullied by peers, teachers or others they come in contact with.
No matter what the cause is, aggressive and uncontrolled outbursts can lead to devastating consequences if they are not brought under control. If the issues are not addressed, the child’s behavior can progressively worsen until they find themselves in trouble with school officials, or worse yet, in trouble with the law.
Child Behavior Problems at School
Behavior problems at school can be extremely disruptive, not only for the child acting out, but for the entire classroom. Positive behavioral interventions and supports are excellent tools that can be used to limit the number of outbursts as well as guide the child to better behavior.
When a child first begins to act out in a school setting, it is extremely important to involve the parents. Odds are, they are having similar difficulties at home. Keeping the lines of communication open may help to address issues before they progress to the point where the child is out of control. It is reported that nearly 5% of all school aged children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been on a prescribed medication at one time or another to control their behavior.
In many instances, however, the child’s aggression or poor behavior is not directed to an illness. Being subject to bullying or trauma can cause a child to act out due to fear. The inability to control their world can cause confusion and anger. It is wise to remember, not all cases need to be controlled by medication. In some instances, a short period of counseling may be a better option.
Positive Behavior Support at School
In cases where the child’s behavior is not medically related, Positive behavior intervention support plans can be created and designed specifically to help each individual student address his or her own personal issues. For example, a middle school behavior contract is between the school and the student as an individual. It gives them the opportunity to guarantee their behavior with a specific set of consequences if they fail to comply with the rules of the contract. With this approach, many child behavior problems begin to become less apparent since they know of the repercussions first hand.
Behavior charts for school use work well with children in lower grades. School behavior charts are visible signs of your child’s behavior. Child behavior problems at such a young age may result from boredom. The use of behavioral charts will often help students get through difficult periods because they can actually see what they have done and what they are going to be doing for a given period of time. This can relieve a portion of the boredom and allow them to focus on other things.
Where to Get Advice on Child Behavior Problems
Parents and teachers often wonder who to turn to first when a child starts to act out. Parents can turn to their child’s pediatrician and counselors, while teachers can turn to their peers and online resources to find ways of handling disruptive students. When it comes to working with a child who has a multitude of behavioral problems, the best place to turn to for parents and teachers to turn for advice is each other. While they each work with the child in a different setting, both have constant interaction with them for several hours at a time.
A child’s behavior can be controlled before it ever becomes a major issue. Parents and teachers that work together and create a unified front to present a positive image to the child. If the problems are caught early enough, the child can begin to realize not only that their behavior is wrong, but there are more positive ways to address the issue at hand.
Behavior Modification Schools
Behavior schools that are designed to modify a student’s general behavior while working with them in an educational setting offer many rewards, but can also present risks. Students are continually exposed to others who have acted out to the point where they, too, were sent to the school. This can be detrimental unto itself, but with the right teachers and methods of learning, the negatives can be turned into positives.
In the past, “alternative” or behavior modification schools were open to students who showed various types of behaviors. Now almost 80% of these schools are considered to be punitive in nature. The individualized learning environment helps those students to focus more on their own educational goals than on finding ways to act out.
Behavior or alternative schools are also being considered for students who have disabilities. Educational programs are available for students whose disabilities often cause behavioral problems. Teachers and educators who choose to work in these schools have experience in dealing with such behaviors. Their experience can help students overcome obstacles, either self-made or medically induced, and regain control of their education.
Many students who excel at alternative schools can be re-integrated back into public schools once they have proven they are capable of controlling their outbursts and disruptive activities. Some children may choose to remain there if the additional structure is comfortable for them. There are students who thrive in a highly structured atmosphere. Public schools may not have the strict regimen they need to remain focused on their studies.
Every child is different, and their behaviors accentuate their uniqueness. What works to control one child’s behaviors may fail terribly for another student. Parents, teachers and medical professionals who work well together can provide each student the tools they need to overcome their child behavior problems and get back on track when it comes to learning and being productive members of society.