Identifying & Effectively helping Behavioral issues in Children
Every child tends to act out, be defiant, and disruptive from time to time, which is normal behavior. However, sometimes children display behavioral issues that are extreme and outside the set behavior norms. Behavioral issues in children are of different types, and each has its significant symptoms and treatment. Reports suggest that 7.4% of children between the age of 3-17 years face behavioral problems.
Some of the common behavioral disorders include defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As they have the most common symptoms, it may be difficult for you to gauge and recognize their problems. Early intervention that gives importance to both the children, and the family leads to the best outcome. With proper counseling, children who have behavioral disorders can cope and live fulfilled lives.
Therapy for behavioral issues is varied and depends on the particular disorder and the reasons behind the behavior. Several treatments are often used to support children with behavioral disorders, such as family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, etc.
It is hard to navigate the behavioral outbursts, but providing support is essential. As parents, you get to be the safe container for their big emotions. Let’s understand some of the common symptoms, causes, and treatment of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), anxiety disorder, conduct disorder (CD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Once you understand, you can certainly seek professional help from counselors and therapists.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder in children
Does your child display irritable, defiant, vindictive behavior and also have a habit of refusing to comply with rules and restrictions? In the case, your answer is yes, it is best to consult a mental health professional as your child might have Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?
Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a disruptive behavioral issue primarily diagnosed in children who are irritable, defiant, argumentative, hostile towards peers, teachers, parents, and authority figures.
Signs that your children might have ODD
- Arguing with and refusing to do tasks set by parents
- Throwing frequent temper tantrums
- Questioning and refusing to follow guidelines and rules
- Speaking out in a harsh, rude manner
- Behave in resentful and spiteful ways· Lay blame on others for their own mistakes and misbehavior
How to effectively help children with ODD?
In case your child is diagnosed with ODD, there is no need to worry as there are a variety of treatments. One crucial factor to consider is that early identification and treatment can help prevent future problems for your children. Treatment varies depending on the child’s symptoms, age, mental health, and ODD severity. Different mental health professionals and types of therapies need to be tried by children before finding the most suitable ones. The different types of treatment available are:
Psychotherapy and medications can be helpful. Provide consistent boundaries, clear communication, consequences, and rewards for your child.
Anxiety Disorders in children
Children feel nervous or anxious when attending their first day of school while staying somewhere without their parents. This is entirely normal. However, sometimes children let the anxiety disturb their thoughts and behavior, affecting their school life, social life, and family life.
In this specific case, it is best to consult a mental health professional as your children might have an anxiety disorder. This brings up the next question of what an anxiety disorder is. To answer that question, anxiety disorders are behavioral issues that cause extreme fear and worry, anxiety which affects children’s behavior and thoughts every day, interfering with their school, home, and social life.
Signs that your children might be struggling with anxiety.
If you suspect your children suffer from an anxiety disorder, these are the signs to look out for.
- Inability to concentrate
- Insomnia and nightmares
- No appetite
- Being short-tempered and irritable
- Constantly having negative thoughts.
- Always feeling tense or fidgety.
- Feeling unwell and having stomach aches.
How to effectively help children with Anxiety Disorders
If your child is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, there is a lot you can do to help. Firstly, it is essential to identify when your child feels anxious and stay calm while talking them through it. As a parent let your children know you are available for them to speak to, as children with anxiety disorders often feel misunderstood and try to hide their fears. Besides what can be done at home, you can approach a mental health professional for these treatments:
Psychotherapy and medication can be helpful.
Conduct Disorder in children
Children and teenagers face behavioral issues at some time during their growth and development. However, this behavior-related issue is considered a conduct disorder when it is persistent. When it starts to interfere with others, it disrupts the child’s and family’s everyday life. Conduct disorders are behavioral issues that occur in children who display a pattern of defiant, aggressive, disruptive behavior and have a hard time following rule. A behavior disorder is a conduct disorder only when it lasts long and disrupts the child’s or family’s everyday life.2%-16% of children in the U.S. are estimated to have conduct disorder. It is prevalent more in boys than in girls and mainly occurs in the early teen years.
Signs that your children might have Conduct Disorders
If you think your child is displaying conduct disorder symptoms, is it vital to seek help from a mental health professional if left untreated? The child may also develop other mental disorders such as antisocial and other personality disorders.
The symptoms to look out for are:
- Aggressive and destructive behavior
- Serious Rule Violation
- Bad behavior
- Disruptive Behavior
- Behavior problems
- low self-esteem
- throw frequent temper tantrums
- Some may abuse drugs and alcohol
How to effectively help children with Conduct Disorders
The treatment for conduct disorders depends on a variety of factors, such as the child’s age and the severity of the conduct disorder. Before starting treatment, it is best to consult a mental health professional as the child’s ability to participate and tolerate certain therapy types also plays a vital role. The treatments for conduct disorder are usually:
Children may sometimes forget to do their homework or get restless from time to time. In some instances of inattentiveness, hyperactivity may be a sign of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD commonly appears in early childhood years, usually before the age of seven.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is of three types: inattentive, hyperactive, impulsive, and combined (a mix of both types). ADHD is a behavioral issue common in young children. The inattentive type is recognized mainly by the child’s inability to pay attention, has trouble focusing, and is easily distracted. The hyperactive/impulsive type is recognized by the fidgety children, unable to stay seated and difficulty waiting their turn.
Signs that your children might have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Children may experience individual symptoms of ADHD; however, to diagnose, a mental health professional will need to evaluate children using several criteria. If your children experience any of the symptoms given below, it is best to consult a mental health professional to assess further steps.
- Is easily distracted
- Has trouble paying attention
- Has problems organizing daily tasks
- Has a hard time doing tasks that require sitting still
- Tends to daydream
- Often gets fidgety and restless.
- Excessive talking
- Has trouble being patient
How to effectively help children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
If your child suffers from symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, it can cause behavioral issues in the future if left untreated. Children with ADHD may struggle in school, get into unnecessary trouble, and find it hard to socialize. However, there are a variety of treatments for ADHD, such as
Psychotherapy and medication management.
Mindfulness techniques, attention management strategies can help children who are struggling in this area.
What you can do now?
If your child has encountered any of these issues or symptoms. There are a few things you can do now.
- Stay calm when speaking with your child. If you need to take a break before you discuss their behaviors, do so. Your tone and body language are important.
- Provide appropriate and reasonable consequences for negative behaviors. Do not ground them for a whole year. They will give up trying to change.
- Provide positive praise. Try every day to find something good they did.
- Never withdraw your love or presence.
- Reach out to a mental health professional if you or your child need some help.
We at Beacon Counseling have the best mental health professionals in Atlanta GA for time and cost-effective treatment.