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Child Behavior Disorders

While it is perfectly normal for children at all ages to act out at times, there are certain behavior that if continued for 6 months or more can be cause for alarm.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health some of these warning signs of behavior disorders are:

  • Harming or threatening themselves, others or pets.
  • Damaging or destroying property.
  • Lying or stealing.
  • Not doing well in school, skipping school.
  • Early smoking, drinking or drug use.
  • Early sexual activity.
  • Frequent tantrums and arguments.
  • Consistent hostility towards authority figures.

It is important for a parent or caregiver to recognize these signs as early as possible to avoid school failure, mental illness and/or possible suicide.

Below is a just an overview of only a few of the behavior disorders that we find in children.

  • Aggressive behavior: according to the American Academy of Pediatrics the best thing a parents can do for a child with aggressive behavior is to provide a loving and stable home. Anyone that you allow to care for your child should be loving and caring and a good role model. When a child does something wrong they should be reprimanded immediately. All children need to be taught limits and self control. This requires structure in their everyday life and predictability.
  • Lying: According to the American Academy Child & Adolescent Psychiatry claims that lying in younger children (ages 4 and 5) is not usually a cause for alarm. It can be used as a teaching moment at this age. When the lying continues to adolescence there can be cause for alarm. If the child seems to lie repetitively or confuses lies with reality than professional help should be sought.
  • Kids who steal: The Nemours Foundation states that small children takes things because they see it as a way to get what they want and don't fully understand the wrong in doing so. In elementary age children it can be a lack of self-control. As teens it can be for the thrill of doing something the child knows to be wrong. A parents reaction to the stealing can be key at any age and should be handled with care depending on your child's specific needs. If the problem persists a parent may need to get their child professional help.
  • ODD or Oppositional Defiant Disorder: The signs of this disorder according to the Mayo Clinic are: defiance, hostility, persistence, negativity, and disobedience. These signs can cause tantrums, arguments, refusal to comply with adults, vindictive behavior, and academic problems to name a few. This is a very hard disorder to diagnose and treatments vary.
  • Self Injury/Cutting: While is may be hard to understand the rational in self injury or cutting the Mayo Clinic points out that the people who have this behavior do it for a sense of calm and release. This is not really a disease or disorder but rather an abnormal behavior. Any signs of physical harm should be taken seriously and the patient should get mental health treatment right away.

One option to look into might be parent child contracts. These can offer an in-home solution to child behavior problems.

Related Article: What Causes ADHD? >>

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