During the course of a child's development, parents often experience the normal ups and downs of behavior. However, when environmental, psychological and biological factors negatively impact behavior, it can be perplexing for a parent who doesn't comprehend the underlying causes. According to an article from the National Institute of Health, “Children's Delayed Development: Impact on Mother's Perceived Physical Health Across Early Childhood,” children with delayed developments are three to four times more likely to have behavioral issues. Understanding the factors which affect behavior can help a parent manage her child's issues more effectively.
Divorce can be a difficult experience for both parents and children alike -- even if a divorce is magnanimous, where both parents create a safe, loving environment for the child -- a child may still develop feelings of sadness and insecurity. Sometimes, this can lead a child to develop behavioral problems. A young child may become withdrawn and sullen with friends and family. If the divorce is bitter, a child may act out more by disobeying rules, throwing tantrums and displaying aggressive behavior. Additionally, a child's social skills may be be interrupted or delayed as a result of emotional distress from a difficult divorce. Although, according to article, “The Impact of Divorce on Children's Behavior Problems,” a study showed no direct relationship between divorce and a child's behavior or development. However, if the family unit is volatile before the divorce, this could impact a child's behavior, especially if there has been a physical trauma such as sexual abuse.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a common condition characterized by frequent hyperactivity and impulse control can affect a child's behavior. A child with ADHD has difficulty focusing on tasks and problems with sitting still. The behavioral issues associated with ADHD are more pronounced at school because the child is often caught talking out of turn and fidgeting during inappropriate times. As a result of these behavioral issues, a child with ADHD may have poor grades because he has trouble completing assignments and focusing on class discussions. Additionally, he may exhibit poor social skills. Teachers often meet with parents to discuss ways to improve behavior so the child can excel academically.
Children with learning disorders often present with behavioral problems in school. Common learning problems include disorders in reading, math and writing. Because the child doesn't have a firm grasp of basic skills, he may often disrupt class to gain attention. If the child is unable to keep up with class lessons because of an underlying learning disability, he may develop self-esteem issues and display disrespectful behavior to deflect from the real problem. Special education programs in schools can help a child improve academic skills over time. Children with learning disabilities need more individualized attention and most schools work with parents to accommodate a child, usually through an IEP or Individualized Education Program. Additionally, specially education programs also work on improving behavioral problems associated with certain disabilities.
Autism is a disorder in children which affects the ability to communicate with family, friends and the external environment. Autistic children may have difficulty maintaining eye contact, and are nonverbal and engage in repetitive, ritualistic behavior such as rocking, or stacking toys in a special way. Sometimes, if an autistic child experiences disruption in her routine or has trouble communicating, she may exhibit temper tantrums or angry outbursts. A lack of appropriate social skills is also prevalent. Medical professionals who specialize in autistic children can be a great resource for a parent struggling with behavioral issues in her child. Adaptive materials such as special software programs, computers and picture flashcards can help an autistic child improve social skills and learn appropriate behavior.
- National Institute of Health: Children's Delayed Development and Behavior Problems: Impact on Mother's Perceived Physical Health Across Early Childhood
- Council on Contemporary Families: The Impact of Divorce on Children's Behavior Problems
- Abnormal Psychology: An Integrative Approach; 2nd Edition; David H. Barlow and V. Mark Durand
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