A child is said to be suffering from a behavior disorder when he displays a behavior that is markedly different from that exhibited by his peers. He refuses to abide by the expectation of his parents, school or society, in relation to the standard behavior. Behavior disorders are difficult to diagnose, since there are no visible physical symptoms associated with them. Rather, it is only by observing the behavior pattern of a child over a period of time that one can identify the problem. Behavior disorders are believed to be the result of brain injury, child abuse, trauma, or even a genetic disorder. However, the parents need to understand that the disruptive behavior of a child is an involuntary response to such experiences and only understanding, love, care and patience can help him deal with it.
Characteristics/ Warning Signs
- Your child is aggressive towards people and is often found to play wicked tricks on them.
- There is a general aggression towards animals, which manifests itself in the form of cruelty.
- You have hardly found your child being affected by the pain of others or showing regret for mean actions.
- There have complaints of your child destroying property, like defacing school desks, drawing graffiti or indulging in vandalism.
- Your child tends to show little or almost no empathy, compassion and concern for others.
- There have been instances of your child lying, cheating and even stealing, without taking any responsibility for his mistakes.
- Your child shows open defiance and refuses to adhere to any rules and regulations, be it in the home or school.
- There have been instances of your child being involved in smoking, drinking, drug usage or early sexual activities.
- Your child has been not doing well in school, be it in studies or sports, since quite sometime.
- There are frequent tantrums by your child and he often has severe arguments with you or your spouse.
- Your child does not have any friends in school. Rather, the other children prefer to stay away from him.
- There has always been hostility in your child, in relation to the authority figures in his life.
Helping Your Child
Condemning your child, punishing him or using harsh words is not going to lead you anywhere, as far as his behavior problems are concerned. Rather, you need to be patient, understanding and gentle with him. In this context, the following tips will come handy.
- Many of the behavioral problems arise from an inferiority complex buried deep within your child, be it in relation to his looks, intelligence, finances, or something else. You need to develop self-esteem and confidence in your child, by praising him for doing something good.
- Give your child lots of opportunities to become responsible, so that he knows that you consider him to be dependable. Even if he makes a few mistakes, don't take back the responsibilities. Rather, tell him how to do better the next time.
- Never ever let patience leave your side, even when you become extremely frustrated. Refrain from scolding or punishing your child on the slightest of mistakes made by him. Rather, gently make him understand where he went wrong.
- Indulge in role play. Switch over your roles, with your playing the child and your kid playing the part of his parents. Now, indulge in the same behavior as he does. When he finds himself in the position of the victim, he will understand the hurt he is causing to others.
- Teach your child the concept of 'what you sow, so shall you reap'. He needs to know that every good act is always rewarded, but even every bad act gets paid back in full. However, mistakes can be pardoned, if they were unintentional.