SOME children develop pattern of behaviour that are problem to themselves and to the people around them. Suicidal behaviour may be a symptom of a deep psychological and physical disorder or may represent a reaction to family stress.
A child’s behaviour is a problem, if it differs widely from normal behaviour, if it has undesirable consequences or side effects and distresses the child or the parents. All three conditions generally must be present before behaviour becomes viewed as a problem. For example, a child who shows exceptional ability in school differs greatly from most other school children. But the child’s behaviour is not considered abnormal because it does not usually have undesirable consequences or cause psychological distress.
Two of the most common behaviour problems of childhood are unrealistic fears and aggressive and antisocial behaviour.
Unrealistic Fears – All children are afraid on occasion, as fear is the stigma emotion. Fears are unrealistic if they occur regularly in the absence of real danger.
In some cases, such fears may be directly related to a frightening past experience. For example, a child who has a fear of all animals may have developed the fear after being attacked by an animal.
In other cases, unrealistic fears may be only indirectly related to a past event. For instance, a child who feels extreme quilt even an action may expect severe punishment. The child may then develop an abnormal fear of death, accidents or illness.
Aggressive and Antisocial behaviour – Psychologists define aggression as angry, hostile behaviour that is intended to hurt or upset others. Such behaviour in young children can result from frustration. Children may feel frustrated if their demands are not met or if their feeling of worthiness and self respect are threatened. If a child’s aggression becomes intense, it may erupt into a tantrum – a common form of aggression in young children. Children can learn to control aggression if they are taught at an early age how to overcome demands, will not be a child who develops such a frustration tolerance and is less likely to have frequent tantrums. Children have great difficult developing necessary tolerance if their parents are overtly strict or very permissive. If they are too strict, a child may feel increasingly frustrated in trying to meet their high goal. If they are too permissive, the child may react aggressively to frustration. In addition, parents envisage aggression if they are frequently and hostile themselves.
Children, some of them learn to control aggression by the percentage years. They may partly be channeling their energy into hobbies, sports, schoolwork, other activities. Some children, however, do not learn to deal with aggression effectively, instead, they relieve feelings of frustration and hostility by anti-social behaviour, such as bullying other children, stealing or destroying property.
Such behaviour, worsens, if the peer group encourages it. Other special problems may also be symptoms of psychological or physical disorders. These problems include hyperactivity or extreme restlessness, poor performance in school, extreme shyness and bed-wetting.
Hyperactivity. Most hyperactive children cannot concentrate on anything more than a few minutes at a time. Scientists do not know the exact cause of the disturbance. Although, some physicians claim that some cases may be caused by an allergy to certain chemical additives in food, especially, particular food colourings and dyes, there is little solid evidence to support this theory, it remains controversial.
Poor performance in school is freedom to read. In many cases, however reading problems can be avoided if parents prepare their children for learning to read. Parents should, thus, make a practice of reading stories and poems to their children during the toddler and preschool years. Parents should also, acquaint their children with books and other reading materials and help them build vocabulary.
Children who lack such preparation may fall behind their classmates in learning to read: children also, need motivation for learning to read, parents help provide such a motive. If they show that they value learning.
Failure in reading may be due to a physical or psychological problem, such as poor eyesight, poor hearing or extreme shyness. The reading ability of most hyperactive or mentally retarded children is severely limited.
School avoidance, may develop in the child who is performing poorly in school, who is threatened or teased by other children or when family problems have made the child insecure about being away from home.
The physician should be consulted promptly, if this becomes a recurrent problem, so that, the child can be helped to return to school.
Extreme Shyness – In some cases, children become overly shy if they are dominated by older brothers and sisters. Shyness may also, begin as an inherited tendency. However, the precise causes of extreme shyness are not well understood.
Bed Wetting – A habit of bed – wetting after about five years of age may reflect a physical problem, such as bladder infection or may be due to psychological distress. Parents should not punish or threaten a child who has the problem. In every case, a physician should be consulted to evaluate the problem and recommend the appropriate form of treatment.
The Role Of Parents. Mothers and fathers can best promote the development of their children in these major ways, understanding a child’s basic needs, reinforcing appropriate behaviour and serving as models of appropriate behaviour.
Understanding a Child’s Basic Needs –All children have certain basic physical and psychological needs. Both sets of needs must be met if a child is to develop normally. Poor physical health may harm a child’s psychological development. Development and psychological problems, may affect a child physically.
Physical Needs – Children need regular, nourishing meals, adequate sleep, proper clothing and a clean, comfortable home. They also, require a reasonable amount of play and exercise and enough space to play in. In addition, children who lead good health habits and safety practices reduce the risk of diseases and accidents.
If a child should become sick, the parent will often realize it before the child does. No longer cheerful and enthusiastic, the little boy or girl becomes fearful and quiet at the onset of illness. A child on the verge of illness, like one who is overtired, may rebel against the idea of giving up a game or going to bed.
Young children find it difficult to explain what is the matter with them. Vomiting and diarrhea are obvious signs of illness, but a child may not mention a headache or sore throat. Symptoms can be misleading, for example, aching limbs or stomachache may be caused by tonsillitis or influence. A child with a high fever may feel hot and seem sleepy, but yet complain of nothing. A parent usually knows all the variations of behaviour in the child and can asses most accurately whether something is seriously wrong. Improved health care has greatly increased the life expectancy of children.
Joy and peace.