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Commonly Reported Behavior Problems in Children

by Victoria Thompson, studioD

A child's behavior problems naturally upset a parent, since she believes it reflects her parenting skills. It is important to understand the source of the behavior and to know that some problems are developmental, depending on the child's age. Remain patient and consistently discipline as necessary. Effective discipline involves communication, so that the child understands the negative impact of the behavior and to stop its recurrence.

Temper Tantrums

Tantrums usually occur when a child has trouble expressing his needs and thoughts. This typically happens between the ages of one and three, before effective communication has developed. When communication skills increase, the recurrence of tantrums decrease. Tantrums stem from needing attention or from frustration. During a tantrum, a child kicks, screams or cries uncontrollably. Some children have tantrums more frequently, depending on personality. It is important to teach children coping methods to avoid dealing with this behavior.


Bullying is a serious problem that usually stems from the bully being exposed to violence within his environment. He has a high regard for self and likes being looked to as the leader. Children often look for others to bully at school or in the neighborhood. "It's easier to bully somebody than to work things out, manage your emotions and learn to solve problems," states James Lehman, MSW of EmpoweringParents.com. To overcome this behavior, he may need to seek counseling in order to learn how to get along with others and support his social development.


Children are learning profanity earlier and there's been an increase in swearing in kids between the ages of three and four years old, according to Timothy Jay, professor at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Many words have been learned by the time a child enters school. This language is coming from listening to adults. Children may not understand the severity of the language or the inappropriateness. They are learning, however, that words are definitely powerful and often repeat profanity for the shock value it brings.


A child becomes noncompliant when he blatantly ignores a request or direction. When this occurs, redirect the child by letting him know what the expected behavior is and give him a chance to follow instructions. Explain the importance of following the directions. If he is upset, try to listen calmly and not match his anger to escalate the situation. Make sure that the child is able to hear and understand the instructions by repeating them.

About the Author

Based in North Carolina, Victoria Thompson has taught middle school for the past 15 years. She holds a Masters of Education in middle school instruction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She teaches English daily to English as a second language students.

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