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Common Behavioral Problems In Children

 Disrespect and backtalk

When your three-year-old daughter talks back to you, it may seem funny and adorable. But when your seven-year-old girl shouts out a ‘no’ every time you tell her to do something, it can get on your nerves. If not handled properly, backtalk can lead to arguments between parents and children.

So what do you do?

  • Do not respond impulsively. Let the child calm down and then address what he or she said. Tell them calmly about what behavior is acceptable and what is not.
  • Finally, take a quick check of how you behave with the kids or others when the kids are around. Are you rude or disrespectful? If yes, you need to start by changing your behavior.

Abusive language

Children scream and yell when they are angry. But if they start swearing even before they are all of ten years old, you should be worried. They may start yelling or using abusive language to bring you into an argument or simply to get their way. When your child uses offensive language and swears, here is what you should do.

  • Make sure you are not using such language in front of kids.
  • If your toddler is using such language, correct them immediately. Tell them it is a “bad word” and people do not like that word or kids who use that word.

Aggressive or violent behavior

It is okay for children to get angry. But if that anger becomes violent or turns into aggressive behavior in children it is a problem. Mood disorders, psychosis, conduct disorder, trauma, impulsiveness or frustration can cause aggression in young children. At times, your child may resort to violence for self-defense.

Aggression can also be a learned behavior. How is the environment at home? Or is the child learning to be violent, at school? If your child tends to react to a negative response by hitting, biting or kicking, this is what you should do.

  • The easiest way to respond to aggression in children is to yell back at them. But if you do so, you end up teaching them the wrong things. Your kids look up to you to learn how to control their impulses and emotions. So rather than raising your voice, lower your tone and tell them to calm down.
  • Reflect their feelings, empathize, but make it clear that hitting or kicking or biting is not allowed. You could say something like “I know you are angry. But we do not bite, hit or kick. No hitting!”


Bullying is a serious problem and could result in emotional and physical abuse of the victim. Children tend to bully others to feel powerful. Also, bullying resolves their social problems easily. When dealing with feelings becomes difficult, kids tend to take on bullying to fix things. If you find that your child has been bullying others, you should act immediately.

  • Start teaching your kids from an early age that bullying is wrong. More importantly, explain to them what or who a bully is and give them examples of what bullies do. For example, you can say, “A bully is someone who calls people names, or does mean things to them, or takes their property by force.”
  • Set rules and standards in the house early on. Make a statement like “we do not bully in this house” or “You do not get away with such behavior in this house”.

Behavior problems in school

“I hate school!” Is that something you hear your five-year-old say every morning? Kids often give parents a hard time by refusing to go to school or complete homework assignments in time. Children could refuse to go to school for many reasons: bullying, academic issues, resistance to authority and rules, or anxiety of being separated from parents.

  • Start by getting to the root of the issue. Find out why your child hates school or refuses to do his homework. You may want to help him with his homework if he has trouble with it.
  • Your child may take time to perform academically and be okay with school. Understand that the change will not happen overnight.
  • Offer incentives, not bribes, to encourage positive behavior. For example, you can say, “you have earned an ice cream tonight because you did your homework without any reminders”.
  • Ask the child if they want you to talk to the teacher about a problem that they are facing. Let them feel and understand that you are available for them when they face a problem in school. Encourage them by asking what they like doing in the school. Help them with their homework, and make it more interesting.

Behavioral problems are not always simple enough to deal. You would have to seek a professional’s help in complicated cases.

When To Get Help

In case abnormal behaviors turn into something unmanageable at home, or if your child is making a mistake repeatedly, it is time for you to see a doctor. There could be a deeper reason for him to behave in a certain way.

The professional will look into the physical and mental health of the child before recommending medications, special therapy or counseling.

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