Strange Behavior in Children

by Kathy Gleason

    Odd behavior in kids can take many forms and have many causes. In some cases, the behavior is just indicative of a stage the child is going through and will resolve itself in time. However, strange behavior can sometimes be a sign of a bigger problem, so it's important for parents to know what to look out for, as well as where to turn for help if you suspect an underlying problem.

    Obsessive or Compulsive Behavior

    Some children become preoccupied with obsessive thoughts, including fear of harm coming to someone they love or with certain ideas. Kids might also show compulsive behavior, such as constant hand washing or needing to turn light switches on and off constantly. These behaviors can occur independently or in conjunction with each other. According to KidsHealth, a combination of behavior modification and medications might be used to treat this behavior.

    Oppositional Behavior

    While all kids will act stubborn sometimes, particularly during the toddler years, sometimes the behavior becomes particularly extreme and hard to deal with. In some cases, this can be causes by oppositional defiant disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms of oppositional disorder include excessive temper tantrums, trying to annoy others, inability to make friends, and a refusal to comply with adult requests and rules. If you suspect that this might be the cause of your child's behavior, talk to her pediatrician or a counselor for further help. Individual and family therapy can be helpful treatments for this problem.

    Attention Problems

    If your child seems unable to sit still, concentrate, or finish tasks, it can be a sign of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. This disorder can affect 5 percent to 8 percent of kids that are school age, according to the National Resource Center on ADHD. If your child has excessive trouble concentrating, ignores rules or can't wind down easily, this can be caused by ADHD. Treatment for this can range from counseling, medication, or special support at school.

    Difficulties Attaching to Others

    Some children show strange behavior in the way they form bonds with parents or other caregivers. Kids with reactive attachment disorder might be withdrawn, may not like to be cuddled or touched, or might be hyper-vigilant and unable to relax even with loved ones, according to Pediatric Care Online. Speak to your child's pediatrician as soon as possible if you notice this behavior in your young child.

    About the Author

    Kathy Gleason is a freelance writer living in rural northern New Jersey who has been writing professionally since 2010. She is a graduate of The Institute for Therapeutic Massage in Pompton Lakes, N.J. Before leaving her massage therapy career to start a family, Gleason specialized in Swedish style, pregnancy and sports massage.

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