Childhood Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

For almost every married couple having a child is the most precious feeling of them all. Being proud parents is all that a husband and his wife can dream of. But the pride in the parents originates by having healthy children and to have that is no mere task.

Nurturing a child can be a very demanding task and at most times a very difficult one. That difficult task becomes life disrupting once the child becomes a difficult one and by difficult we do not mean any physical disability rather a few behavioral disorders that can be very challenging to cope up with.

The initial challenge lies in determining whether something is actually wrong with your child or is it just a phase he or she is passing through. And mind it, this task is not at all a simple one.

For example, if your child throws an exaggerated tantrum on his 3rd birthday doesn’t naturally implement that he has any sort of authority problem. Nor does it disregard the same possibility. A child having problems sitting still may not indicate an acute case of attention disorder but the chances cannot be neglected.

What I am trying to emphasize is that children’s behavior is pretty hard to understand and therefore attaching labels to it or following a certain diagnosis pattern is not at all recommended.

Disorders and what exactly does it mean?

The term “disorder” is more difficult to understand than it seems to be and this fact is even more established by observing the number of times it has been misinterpreted. Therefore, imminent psychology experts find it best not to use the term naively rather one must use it further more cautiously when it comes to children below the age of 5.

It is very hard to distinguish behavioral issues from a true psychological disorder and often one might lead to the other. The primary cause is that during this age a child experiences rapid change in development and thus it could be pretty easy to incorrectly interpret these changes as an abnormal behavior.

These so called behavioral disorders might simply be a phase of your child’s growing up and thus it can be temporary. So in order to correctly handle these issues a parent must always use his three parenting tools effective: Cooperative attitude, calm and peaceful temperament and most importantly patience.

Having said that, it also must be mentioned that efficient handling of behavioral and psychological issues concerns a lot of conservative approach and might suit it best.

Few symptoms of behavioral disorders in children

When we are concerned with behavioral disorders in children we must first discuss a few traits which are common in children showing such disorders.

When we talk about disorders concerning the behavior of children we generally tend to think of attention disorders and anxiety disorder but there is more to that than meets the eye. A few common symptoms are hereby discussed below.

Fears and anxieties: how do they affect children?

Believe it or not situations of anxieties and fears may not be comfortable or easy but in case of children they are quite normal and even necessary. Dealing with such anxiety issues will help the children becoming prepared to face such challenges, once they grow up.

A well-known definition of anxiety refers to the term as an apprehension devoid of any apparent cause. Anxiety generally causes the victim to want to escape from the impending situation as fast as possible.

The rate of heartbeat increases as well as the rate of perspiration; the stomach begins to groan as if infected with a host of butterflies.

The anxieties faced by children are quite different from the ones faced by adults for obvious reasons.

  • Separation anxiety is very common in babies aged between 10 to 18 months. It causes them to become emotionally disturbed when either one or both his parents leave.
  • When faced with unknown strangers the baby might be subject to a stranger version of anxiety which compels them to cling on to their parents tightly.
  • Kids who have grown up a bit face fears and anxieties about non-realistic stuff such as ghost and monsters and demons.
  • When they grow up to be 7 or 8 years old realistic circumstances start to infest their minds with sudden anxieties and fears such as a natural disaster or injuries caused to the body.

With the growth of the children their fears may replace each other or may completely disappear. Some may even get attached to certain type of stimulus. For instance, a child terribly afraid of his neighbor’s dog might have desires of petting the tiger from the zoo.

Phobias: developing symptoms

Fears and anxieties are reparable damage and often barely cause any noticeable damage. But in rare occasions these anxieties do not fade away rather they start to loom larger and grow more prevalent and gradually turns into a phobia which a multiplied fear that is more severe, extreme and vastly persistent.

Phobias generally are hard to tolerate and harder to control both from the victim’s perspective as well as from the perspective of the people around him. If the stimulus causing the phobia is hard to avoid then controlling that phobia would become harder than we can imagine.

As long as the phobia does not hinder the ability of the child to perform everyday functions the child may not require professional treatment at all.

Sexual Disorders: A major Concern

Comparing to the other disorders, this one specific problem probably has a much stronger effect from a social perspective and therefore demands much more attention. It is important to understand that children with sexual behavioral disorders should not be misjudged as “sex offenders” as they are different in a whole lot of ways.

  • Sexual behaviors in children can be categorized in a few groups. The first one includes subjects who are victims of certain trauma and they react to that trauma with sudden self-stimulating or compulsive behaviors.
  • The next group contains children engaging in sexual interaction extensively and mutually with other consenting children who are victims of the same behavioral problem.
  • The third category is a bit dangerous and constitute children who aggressive sexually and also a bit coercive. These children may use physical force in their sexual acts and maintain a level of secrecy between them.
  • Studies suggest that amongst children who have sexual behavioral disorder, 50 to 80 percent account up to subjects of sexual victimization.
  • Age can be of prominent significance in case of sexual behavioral disorders in children. Varying degrees of behavioral damage are observed in victims of differing ages.

Disciplinary Disorders: Oppositional defiant disorders

A child’s behavior is fundamental in their ability to lead a normal and well-constructed life. Often it has been observed that this behavior of the concerned child gets out of control and affects his daily life and hence it can be termed as a conduct Disorder.

It is also medically termed as “oppositional defiant disorder” or ODD and is generally associated with children behaving aggressively and disruptively at home.

As the term suggest ODD brings in children a tendency to oppose or defy their elders and involve in obtrusive and aggressive acts which are usually prohibited by the elders. Common examples of ODD show children getting involved in violent and nasty fights, telling lies, stealing and various other acts that defy the general convention.

Subjects start to enjoy breaking the law or in simpler sense disobeying the rules and the worst part is that they shoe no guilt or remorse in doing that.

ODD or other conduct disorders can be very impactful to the social life of the children. Children suffering from such disorders will find it pretty difficult to make friends in his class and also in perceiving different situations of the society.

The affected children as well as their family and friends will face a lot of distress due to the irregular and defiant activities performed by the victim. It tends to certain failures in delivering performances that is expected out of them which further leads to more anger and aggression in the child.

Although no single cause can be identified behind the occurrence of ODD, a few can be listed below.

  • Parenting issues such as disorganization within the family.
  • Abuse or bullying of the child.
  • Depression
  • Hyperactive children are much more prone to conduct disorders.
  • Genetic factors are also responsible.

Self-esteem issues: or maybe the lack of it

As children grow older they get more acquainted with the term “self-esteem” and may often feel the lack of it. It must be notified and understood that the importance of self-esteem is as vital if not more in children as it is in case of adults.

The reason behind it is that low self-esteem in children may cause severe behavioral disorder which might impair the child’s confidence level for his whole life and therefore make him incapable of performing certain acts that will help him lead a normal life.

Determining the presence of such disorders in children involves minutely following their routine responses to the worldly aspects around them. If they begin to follow a repeated pattern, then it is time for you to delve deep into the matter. Certain symptoms of low self-esteem disorder involve the following.

  • The child will have a tendency to avoid challenging tasks without even giving it a try which indicates a fear of failure within him arising out of low self-esteem.
  • The victim will get frustrated in complex situations and instead of working out a way will tend to give up the task.
  • Tendency to lie or cheat is common.
  • The child will have a hard time accepting criticism as well as appraisal.

Temper tantrums and Anger Management

It is very common in children even of a very small age to show an aggressive behavior and become all angry and violent but the effect it has on his parents and siblings and even the people around him can be very serious. Most importantly he is doing himself a great deal of harm in reacting in such a manner.

Children who have problems in handling their emotions often tend to vent their anger towards a neutral person such as a caretaker or a relative. This venting of anger often includes vicious screaming, unapologetic cursing and also throwing of fatal objects and biting.

Temper tantrums can often become very sorry and usually takes a toll on the child’s mental health. Distress, sense of deep guilt and tiredness usually follows such an outburst of anger.

In order to tackle such a situation, we need to understand that the child is in distress and has lost the skill to properly communicate his or her feelings. Parents need to find a way to let their wards freely communicate and express their feelings to them instead of directing them in an angry manner.

Talking with them most frequently about daily stuff and understanding their difficulties can be a very good healer in these cases.

Lie-telling behavior

The lie-telling behavior in children is generally more observed in children affected with autism spectrum disorder or ASD. Children are hereby more prone to telling lies when they have the feeling that the truth might get them into trouble.

This act of blurting out lies increases in occurrence and more often than not becomes a habit in children. This habit is generally termed as Compulsive Lying disorder. Although more prevalent in adults Compulsive Lying Disorder is also dominant in young children who have just learnt the art of hiding the truth by developing lies.

The tendency of telling lies generally increases as the children becomes more and more successful in getting away with the lie.

Summing up, these were a few traits or types of behavioral disorder prevalent in children although there are a lot more than the above mentioned ones. Proper treatment and care generally tends to cure these diseases and the children can then have a happy and prosperous life.

Leave a Comment