3 Behavioural changes in children that parents shouldn’t ignore
Children go through a spectrum of emotions as they grow. Being aggressive, disobedient, irritable, oversensitive and argumentative is very common. It’s just a phase, with little patience and understanding we can help the child grow out of it. But if these symptoms persist and become more enduring, it suggests that the child might be suffering from behavioural disorder.
Behavioural disorder is characterised by extremely challenging conduct which is not common in child of his/her age and lasts for at least 6 months. We come across several types of disorder in children which can be social, cognitive or behavioural disorder. The most common disruptive behavioural patterns seen in children are attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), opposition defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD). These psychological behavioural issues cause a negative impact on social as well as academic performances. Globally, over 14% of children suffer mental, behavioural or learning disorder. Its high prevalence makes it important to have regular medical examination of children for its prevention and timely treatment.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is most commonly seen in childhood. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is categorised by lack of attention, inability to complete a task, forgetfulness, hyper activeness, impulsivity, incompetence to organise task and stay focused. These signs appear mostly in children younger than 12 years and are present for more than six months. ADHD often runs in families and affects everyday functioning of a child. In spite of having attention deficit, a common trait that is found in most of these children is that they can focus their attention on at least one thing they enjoy doing.
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is characterised by aggressiveness, irritability, deliberately annoying others, disobedience and blaming others for their misconduct, repetitive arguments, verbal aggression and spiteful behaviour. Stress and trauma can act as triggers for ODD. Children with ADHD are more likely to get diagnosed with ODD. It is essential to treat these symptoms on time as it may worsen as the child grows.
Conduct disorder (CD) is also referred as antisocial behaviour. ADHD is commonly associated with conduct disorder. Children suffering from CD tend to display negative behavioural pattern. Its symptoms include physical aggression, destructive behaviour, cruelty to animals and others, stealing, bullying, persistent lying and deceit. Children with CD are at higher risk of developing other psychological disorders like anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, panic disorder and so on.
A variety of reasons may contribute to the development of behavioural issues like genetics and environmental or physical factors. Children with family history of behavioural issues, depression and anxiety may be at a higher risk of developing this ailments. Hereditary factors like prenatal problems, complications during pregnancy, low birth weight and premature birth can also cause behavioural deficits. Physical factors like prolonged illness, malnutrition/nutritional deficiency, exposure to lead and brain injury may add up to disruptive behavioural syndrome. Environmental factors like dysfunctional family, exposure to violence, sexual abuse and an inconsistent style of parenting may be a cause too.
A child manifesting several of these disruptive behavioural patterns for an extended period of time needs to seek help of an expert (pedestrian, psychologist or child psychiatrist). Based on a thorough behavioural assessment, an expert would be in a position to define a personalised treatment plan for the child. Treatments like parent management program, cognitive behavioural therapy, psychotherapy and medication are used individually or combined to achieve child behavioural modification. It helps children to get over their negative and destructive impulses, cope up with their inhibitions and have a positive outlook towards life. It is vital to identifying these signs for its prevention and timely treatment. The patent pending Carengrow’s preventive healthcare system helps in doing the same by identifying these symptoms early on, treating them and making it more manageable.