Patience is key to dealing with any type of behaviour disorder. Behaviour problems in one child have an impact on every child in the family and are stressful to parents. Children with behaviour problems usually struggle with friendships and in school.
Recognise the warning signs: aggression, defiance, tantrums, stealing, lying, damaging property; skipping school. Most children exhibit some of these occasionally. Concern is warranted when behaviours persist beyond the appropriate age or occur frequently during a period longer than six months or when a child shows no remorse.
Behaviour disorders include attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder. Seek diagnosis and intervention by qualified professionals. Children with these disorders are at heightened risk of substance abuse and mental illness.
Ask for help. Caring for children with behavioural problems is exhausting. Often you feel other parents are judging you. It is important to feel you are not alone. Join a support group. Seek professional advice. Educate yourself about problem behaviours through reading. Stay positive and remember to praise good behaviours.
Use the "Highway Patrol Approach" to discipline: have simple rules with logical consequences. Ensure your child understands the rules. Do not bend rules or alter punishments. Enforce consequences immediately and consistently. Speak calmly and politely.
- Medline Plus: Child Behavior Disorders
- University of Michigan Health System: Behavior Problems
- Family Doctor Online: Child Behavior-What Parents Can Do to Change Their Child's Behavior
- ADHD Made Simple: The Highway Patrol Approach to Discipline
- "From Chaos to Calm: Effective Parenting for Challenging Children with ADHD and Other Behavioral Problems"; Janet Heininger and Sharon Weiss; 2001