Now Reading
Help! My Child’s Behavior is out of Control

Help! My Child’s Behavior is out of Control

by Jennifer Aslin 

Just one part of the rite of passage for parents is managing the occasional tantrum or fit. This is where we begin to hand our children the proper tools to manage strong emotions in a healthy way. But how do we know what the balance is between a kid ‘being a kid’ and when the behavior seems to be out of control? 

Do you have problems taking your child places because of his defiant behavior? Does he consistently demand his own way? Does she refuse to accept the authority of adults and or bully other children? These can be symptoms of a behavioral disorder.  

All children misbehave and test limits at times. However, if you see persistent problems with the way your child is reacting to his environment, or that he is often overly aggressive, fearful or emotionally reactive to situations, there may be a more deeply seated problem.

Why does he do that?

In order to develop an effective plan to help your child’s healthy development, it is important to determine why your child is exhibiting these behaviors. Problems with compliance could possibly come from developmental delays causing him to not understand what is required of him. If you suspect developmental delays, talk to your child’s pediatrician about testing to determine if he is operating on the expected level for his age.

Some children have problems sitting still and have impulsive behaviors that get them into trouble. This can be a result of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. If you suspect that your child has ADHD, talk to your pediatrician. You may need to coordinate with your pediatrician or mental health professional to create a behavioral plan to help him develop better coping skills.

 Behavioral outbursts could stem from anxiety and feeling that he needs to control his environment by any means necessary in order to feel safe. Behavioral problems could be the result of experiencing trauma. Children who experience trauma often develop coping skills, which help them in the dysfunctional situation, but cause problems in a healthy environment. For example, a child who is left alone for days at a time learns to do whatever is necessary to get his basic needs met. However, in the school setting, his need to control his situation in order to feel safe is seen as disregard for authority. If he is not allowed to make decisions for himself (which he is not developmentally able to do) he can become agitated and aggressive (out of fear) causing further disciplinary problems in the school environment which may cause him to be increasingly angry or withdrawn.

Some children have such a strong sense of what is fair that they will go to any lengths to make sure a situation plays out fairly, even to the point of getting into trouble themselves when they see that the adults present are not going to handle the situation as they feel it should be handled.

 Serious and frequent acting out behaviors may require the assistance of a mental health professional who can help the child work through his issues as well as support the family he lives with.  An indicator of serious acting out is when the child’s behaviors are harmful to himself or others or cause serious impairment in his social interactions.

See Also

Things you can do

Children tend to act out when they are tired, hungry or out of their routine. Kids need plenty of sleep, regular meals and a healthy diet. It is important to have a regular routine, but this does not have to be strictly regimented – after all, life happens and kids need to learn to adjust. Kids also need social interaction as well as alone time and time to be bored in order to avoid constant overstimulation. It is important to have a healthy balance of these areas in your child’s life.

You can also help your child by setting firm, clear boundaries. Clearly express what behavior you expect of him and what the consequences are for breaking the rules. Be consistent. Resist the urge to give in to your child’s demands as this will reinforce the negative behaviors.

When to seek help

No child is perfect and everyone has off days, however, if you see these behaviors on a regular basis, discuss them with your child’s pediatrician. Your pediatrician can help you develop a plan for dealing with these behaviors or refer you to a mental health professional if necessary.

Kids also need social interaction as well as alone time and time to be bored in order to avoid constant overstimulation. It is important to have a healthy balance of these areas in your child’s life.

With a heart for working with families, Jennifer Aslin of Two:10 Counseling Center helps parents better understand and manage their child’s emotions and behaviors. Jennifer is a Licensed Professional Counselor with 12 years experience in the Texarkana area counseling adults and children. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in psychology at East Texas Baptist University and a Masters of Science degree at A&M University at Texarkana. 
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2021 Texarkana Parent Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top