On Their Worst Behavior : Behavioral Problems in Teens
Although it is natural for a child to misbehave occasionally, it is when behavioral problems become a constant that the parents need to be concerned. There is a wide range of potential causes for behavioral problems in children, from their personality to mental illness; the trick to dealing with the issue is to recognize whether or not an underlying disorder is causing your child to act the way they do.
The Causes Behind Behavioral Problems
At any given point, around 5% of parents report seeing serious behavioral problems in their children. These can range from defiance toward authority figures to lying, shoplifting, and many others. The first step to take is to watch for other symptoms, such as: changes in eating or sleeping patterns, mood swings, sudden decline in school performance, shifts in friend groups or preferred activities, anger issues, not taking responsibility, trouble concentrating, and dangerous behaviors. All of the above could point to other disorders including anxiety, bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, depression, ADHD, and many others.
Behavioral problems rarely appear on their own. Typically, there is an outside reason beyond simply “growing up”. It could be a bully or it could be stress – regardless, if another illness isn’t to blame for the behavioral problems, it is important to identify the cause. As a parent, remember to be open with your child. Although strict rules to curb behavioral problems seem like a good solution, in the end, they only build resentment. Instead, communicating with your child will encourage them to tell you what’s on their mind.
As children mature, they are more inclined to test boundaries in their search for who they are. Including children in decision-making – in other words, giving them more freedom – may help alleviate some behavioral problems. In the end, remember to stay positive and not engage in power struggles with your child. In most cases, by staying calm and eliminating the root of the problem, many behavioral problems can be contained. If, however, your child’s behavioral problems get out of control, it may be time to consider professional help.