The reality is that every child acts out, but many parents are unsure which behaviors are considered normal and which are problematic. Although meltdowns, tantrums and general defiance are normal behaviors, there are some behaviors that parents should not overlook. If parents find their child displaying one of the problematic behaviors listed below, they may want to consider seeking assistance from an experienced child behavioral specialist or child behavioral psychologist.
Possible Behavioral and Emotional Concerns of a Child
Parents want their child to be happy, healthy and well-behaved. Sometimes, accomplishing this requires that children receive help from a professional.
Behavioral concerns of a child include:
- The child is unfazed by their disciplinary strategies – when the techniques parents use to discipline their child are ineffective, a child behavioral psychologist may be able to recommend some alternative discipline techniques.
- Their child’s behavior is interfering with his or her ability to benefit from school – if a child is having difficulty completing assignments or frequently acts up in the classroom, resulting in his or her removal, professional assistance may beneficial.
- The way their child acts is developmentally inappropriate – actions that may be considered inappropriate include a 9-year-old who frequently throws a tantrum or, when compared to other children of the same age, seems immature.
- Their child is aggressive – if a child frequently hurts others, parents should seek assistance from a child behavioral specialist. Experienced specialists can help determine what is causing their child to act out in this way.
- Their child’s actions are affecting his or her social life – these early years are when children learn about their emotions and the emotions of others. In addition, children learn how to emphasize, cooperate with others and show affection. Children who are unable to attain these skills will struggle during their emotional and social phases of development.
Tips for Parenting a Difficult Child
- Avoid Overreacting – trying not to overreact can be a challenge, especially if the child repeatedly does something annoying. While it is impossible for parents to keep from showing their frustration, staying calm allows the parents and their child to move on to activities that are more positive.
- When It Comes to Discipline, Parents Should Do What Feels Right – the disciplinary action parents take must be something they believe in; otherwise, it is unlikely that the method will work.
- Consistency Is Key – when parents discipline their child one way for a particular behavior and then another way for the same behavior, the child may become confused. To avoid this problem, both parents need to be consistent, meaning, they should be on the same page when it comes to disciplinary techniques for specific behaviors.
- Never Give Up – once parents decide on a disciplinary technique, they need to continue using it. Instead of becoming discouraged, parents should keep in mind that the effectiveness of a technique may take some time to become evident.
Tips for Addressing Specific Behaviors
Physical Aggression During Play
Parents must confront aggressive behavior immediately. They should take their child aside and ask how he or she would feel if roles were reversed. If their child continues to show aggressive behavior, parents need to separate their child from the individual to whom the aggression is being shown. If aggressive behavior continues during an outing or play date, it is time to end the play date or head home from the outing.
Parents are the first teachers a child has. Therefore, if parents allow their child to interrupt, he or she does not learn how to stay busy while parents are occupied, or how to show consideration while others are talking.
To solve this problem, parents can inform the child that they are about to make a phone call, so the child needs to remain quiet and avoid interrupting. If the child attempts to interrupt in any way (e.g., waving, pulling on the parent’s shirt), the parent should point the child towards a chair and quietly tell him or her to sit there until the conversation is over. Inform the child that he or she will not receive whatever they are asking for when they interrupt.
How a Child Behavioral Specialist Can Help
A child behavioral psychologist evaluates children to determine if there is an underlying condition causing the child’s misbehavior.
Behavioral problems may be due to:
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- A Conduct Disorder
Once the reason for a child’s behavior is identified, the specialist discusses treatment options and provides parents with information about the methods of discipline that are effective for children with his or her behavioral problem.
The child behavioral specialist may also want to work with the parents to provide support and make recommendations to help parents quickly modify their child’s behavior.
Behavioral Concerns With Parker Pediatrics
According to pediatricians, the number of young children presenting with attention issues, depression, anxiety and behavioral issues is on the rise.
To provide each patient with well-rounded care, Parker Pediatrics has integrated the behavioral and mental health aspects of care with our physical services. Therefore, if you are in the Parker, Colorado, area, and your child is displaying behavioral issues, Parker Pediatrics can help. To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced counselors, psychiatrists or medical providers, please call 303-841-2905. All the professionals at Parker Pediatrics work together to ensure each patient in our psychology program receives comprehensive care. For simplicity’s sake, parents can complete their child’s registration forms at home. To download these forms, please click here.