Khursheed Nabi

Let’s know our children better!

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Behavioral disorders among children are an important health issue for their prevalence, early onset and impact on the child, family as well as community as a whole. For some children, behavioral disorders might result in serious difficulties at home, with peer relationships and in school and affect their academic performance. These disorders can also cause substance use, criminal behavior, and other risk-taking behaviors. Behavioral disorders among children, if not checked and treated, can continue in the adulthood as well.

During childhood, an individual may reflect numerous behavioral problems and psychological disorders with some temporary in nature while others may afflict them throughout their lives. Some of the commonly found behavioral problems in children are introversion, aggression, depression, anxiety disorder, learning disorder etc. They seem irritable when they are not feeling well or are tired. In order to show that they are growing up, they may argue with their parents on minor issues or may disobey as well. Sometimes they may lie to get rid of a situation that feel threatening or not of their choosing.

Because they are able to understand difference truth and lie, they certainly make use of such a capability. Therefore it is the responsibility of the parents to give due attention to their children and take care of them; so, that their behaviors may not take a wrong turn. Children sometimes feel being ignored or insecure. To gain attention of parents they exhibit abnormal behaviors.

There are mainly two types of behavior problems:

Oppositional Defiant Disorder:

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a type of behavioral disorder in which children show a frequent and persistent pattern of anger, arguing, defiance etc towards their parents and authority figures. They will always do things to annoy other people and may lose their temper frequently. They will not show such behaviors only to their parents and authority figures but also to classmates, siblings and their friends. Their thinking and behaviors have an adverse effect on their families as well as their social groupings. This disorder can vary in severity as it may be mild, moderate or severe.

Conduct Disorder:

Conduct disorder is a type of disorder when children engage in antisocial behaviors. They have trouble in following rules and struggle to show empathy for others. They cause problems to themselves and their family and may threaten their own safety as well as of others. They might even try to, or, damage property irrespective of the fact whether it belongs to them or not. Such children, if not treated early have a high risk of growing criminal behaviors. These children stay out late without permission and initiate physical fights. It is a more serious phase of oppositional defiant disorder and needs professional help.

Behavioral disorders can have a variety of causes. Some of the fundamental causes of these problems or disorders are:

Family Problems: Family discord, sometimes become an important cause of the behavioral disorder of a child. Lack of mutual understanding between parents will result in the disturbance of whole environment of the home. Instead of making proper arrangements for the upbringing of their children, certain parents are busy in exchanging abuses, insulting and accusations. The discord may result in divorce as well. Having been exposed to all these happening within the family children become victims of psychological and behavioral disorders.

These children feel inferior and lose sense of security before their peers who live happily with their parents.

Imitation: A child learns more from what we are than what we teach. A child is the best imitator and is always busy in observing and noticing their parents, other members of the family, their friends, teachers and other associated people. How can a smoking father advice his ward not to smoke? The child has observed smoking in front of him. Therefore imitating such activities will result in the behavioral problems of a child.

Humiliation and Degradation: Parents often humiliate their children to prevent unfavorable behaviors. They assume that the child will not repeat the behavior. In reality they opt for a short-term solution that will probably be ineffective in the long run. Rather it becomes a cause for such a behavioral problem which affects the child throughout the life. Humiliation leaves lasting effect irrespective of being physical or emotional.

Slapping and abusing a child publicly will result in the behavior troubles of a child. The child will thus develop in him the habit of lying to get rid of these punishments. He will always try to conceal the truth. Punishment approach will lead to serious behavioral problems and will affect the personality of a child in the long way.

Parental Dominance: Parental control directly influences the behavioral patterns of a child. The direct exaggerated observation assumed by the parents deprives the child of a sense of security and independence. The more controlling parents are, the harder it is for the child to depict normal behaviors; and will feel inferior before others. Therefore a child should be observed indirectly in a moderate way; his point of view regarding different family issues should be considered and above all his questions should be answered by the parents without being authoritative. Excessive dominance by parents may yield unfavorable results. Unnecessary questioning regarding what they eat or wear; and noticing their every moments indicate the clear dominance of the parents. Such excessive dominance adversely affect a child’s personality and start showing abnormal behaviors.

Financial Strains: Children living in the families with financial strains often exhibit behavior problems. These children are hyperactive and aggressive. Their behavior problems often affect their school performance. The longer the poverty persists, the more the behavior problems will occur. Poverty gives birth to other family problems which directly influence the psyche of a child.

Therefore, it is the responsibility of the parents to be careful about nearly everything a child does and without being authoritative try to respond to their questions, quarries, confusions etc with greatest intelligence.

The writer is a student Of M.Ed  IASE Srinagar. [email protected]

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