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Behavior Problems in School-Aged Children

by Eliza Martinez

Many kids get in trouble at school at some point, but if yours is constantly causing problems in the classroom or at home, you may need to address the problem with more than just a warning. Behavior problems vary among children, but failing to put a stop to them can interfere with your child's life, including his ability to make and keep friends and to stay on track with his school assignments. Work with your partner and your child's school to solve the problems.

Common Behavior Problems

Many parents are quick to write off behavior problems as normal since many kids act out or have trouble paying attention. To an extent, this might be true. However, if your child's behavior is causing problems with his schoolwork and friendships, it may be a problem. Children who fail to complete their homework, won't stay in their seat, bully classmates and use rude and disrespectful language to teachers might need some help to control their behavior. Destructive and violent behavior towards himself or others is also a red flag that your child has behavior issues, according to the University of Michigan Health System. The behaviors may also spill over into your home life. Kids might bully their siblings, refuse to clean their room or talk back to parents.

Causes

Some kids just have trouble sitting still and paying attention because there is so much else going on that they'd rather be doing, both at home and at school. Other students might have a learning problem, such as dyslexia, that makes it hard for them to follow what is being done in the classroom and makes it hard for them to finish homework. Still other children are biologically predisposed to behavior issues, according to Education.com. Due to frustration, these kids might experience self-esteem problems and they may just give up, writing themselves off as dumb. Kids who bully or mistreat others might be struggling with problems at home, such as divorce, a death in the family or abuse.

Treatment

Stopping behavior problems at home or at school takes some time and effort, but is worth if for you, your child and everyone else he comes into contact with. The Healthy Children website suggests talking with your child's pediatrician to rule out health issues, such as a hearing or visual impairment. Next, work with a tutor or your child's teacher to determine whether a learning issue may be at play. This could be dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or anxiety. Rather than trying to stop all the negative behaviors at once, start with the two or three that worry you the most, advises the University of Michigan Health System. Set clear rules and consequences. If your child consistently turns in his homework unfinished or late due to his behavior issues, remove his video game privileges for a couple of days. Time-outs for tantrums or physical intervention if your child or sibling is in danger are other effective consequences. Stay consistent so your child knows that certain behaviors will always result in specific discipline.

Repurcussions

Letting behavior problems go or failing to stay consistent won't stop undesired behavior. Your child will simply learn that letting it go long enough or putting up enough of a fight will cause you to give up. Education.com recommends clear-cut rewards and punishments at school and at home. Continued behavior problems can lead to resentment in the family or being asked to find a different school, and could even cause your child to wind up committing more serious offenses as he gets older. This includes physically harming other children, destroying property or using abusive language. If you need help, ask your child's doctor for a referral to a mental health or behavior specialist who can help you teach your child to control his behavior.

About the Author

Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.

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