June 22, 2020 / By thadmin2
What do I need to know to help my child with behavioural problems?
- What are the typical behaviour problems that children have?
- What is Behaviour Management?
- Behavioural Therapy for Behavioural Management
- Parenting a child with behavioural problems
- Support and resources for parents.
What are the typical behavioural problems that children have?
Young children can be temperamental, naughty and defiant. They may fight with their siblings, refuse to do their homework or disobey instructions that you clearly set for them. However, some children have extremely difficult and challenging behaviours that are not considered normal for their age and developmental stages.
Among the many behavioural disorders, some of the more typical ones include:
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Conduct Disorder
- Intermittent Explosive Disorder
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is characterised by an extended and persistent pattern of angry or irritable mood, argumentative or defiant behaviour and/or vindictiveness. Children with ODD might lose their tempers very frequently or get irritated or angered easily. They tend to argue with adults, especially familiar adults such as their parents, and may deliberately annoy or pick fights with others. Around 1 in 10 children under 12 years old have ODD, with ODD being more common in boys than girls.
On the other hand, Conduct Disorder is regarded as a more extreme behavioural disorder, where the individual persistently flouts rules or violates typical societal norms at the expense of others. Those with conduct disorder might exhibit behaviours ranging from initiating physical fights and bullying to playing truant from school or running away from home, all the way to breaking into properties and stealing from others. Similar to ODD, conduct disorder is more frequent among boys than girls.
Finally, Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) is characterised by recurrent behavioural outbursts due to an inability of the child to control their aggressive impulses. Children with IED may be verbally aggressive by arguing with others or throwing tantrums. Alternatively, some of them might be physically aggressive and might engage in actions such as hurling objects against the wall or hitting another individual who angered them. Most importantly, the outburst experienced must be disproportionate to the triggering event. For example, a child might get extremely angry and break a chair after finding out that they lost a pencil.
Contact us for an appointment to receive a psychological assessment for your child.
What is Behaviour Management?
Similar to behaviour modification, behaviour management includes not only changing the behaviour of the defiant child but maintaining the changes for an extended period of time. In behaviour management, the aim is to modify the child’s actions and thought processes to teach them how to make better decisions that are more prosocial, fulfilling and in line with their well-being.
Although behaviour management is typically used to help children who struggle with behavioural disorders, they can be applied to inculcating better behaviours among normal children as well. For example, a child who often struggles with getting his homework done and repeatedly defies a parents’ instructions to complete their work can benefit from behaviour management. Through the use of behavioural management strategies such as creating routines and giving them positive attention, a child can gradually learn to focus on their work better and establish better habits.
Behavioural Therapy for Behavioural Management
At Thrive Psychology Clinic, we recognise the uniqueness of each individual. Hence, we are always broadening our therapeutic services to ensure that all our clients’ have their mental well-being cared for in an individualised manner.
Here are some of the therapies that may help a child with Behavioural Problems:
- Behavioural Therapy
- Neurocognitive Therapy (can be used to complement Behavioural Therapy)
- Art Therapy
- Music Therapy
- Animal-assisted Therapy
As ODD, IED and Conduct Disorder are behavioural disorders, behaviour therapy is typically regarded as the most effective means to help them replace unwanted behaviours with more desirable ones. During therapy sessions, the therapist first carefully observes the child’s actions before implementing a wide range of strategies such as using a reward system, giving compliments and making use of distraction techniques.
Here at Thrive, we make use of the ABCs of Behavioural Therapy to better understand and effectively respond to behavioural problems. By knowing what triggers the child, the specific behaviours that parents wish to encourage or discourage can be done so by establishing certain positive and negative consequences.
As children with behavioural problems usually exhibit difficulties with the self-control of actions and emotions, behaviour management can be used to teach them how to exercise self-restraint and impulse control when triggers are met. Over time, this would inculcate a habit of reacting better to different situations, and significantly enhance the child’s ability to cope with school, social interactions and with their daily activities.
Parenting a child with Behavioural Problems
Parenting in itself is not an easy feat. At Thrive Psychology Clinic, we recognise the need to support parents and caregivers through:
- Educating caregivers of children and youths with special needs e.g., workshops and webinars at Thrive Psychology Clinic
- Providing advice on how to manage their stress
- Developing their skill in identifying the ABC’s (i.e., antecedent, behaviour, and consequence) such as P.O.W.E.R. in Behavioural Therapy (preview video displayed below)
- Encouraging caregivers to accept their child with special needs and not feel despair
- Creating self-help online resources for parents who wish to educate themselves more
- Regularly providing complimentary educational resources by subscribing to our mailing list and social media platforms