Out of Control Child Behavior

My 7 year old daughter is out of control! Have you ever come across some out of control child behavior? As our kids grow, they don’t do it only in size. Their character is shaping up and in a few years we see a whole little person with his/her own opinion, likes and dislikes. In the process, out of control child behaviors can be a major problem for most parents. Do not hesitate to seek professional help if you are concerned about your child’s behavior. If you feel that you yourself need advice, it’s good to join a parenting support group. However, getting to know the causes and coping strategies for uncontrollable child behaviors can help you better deal with the problem.

Find Out What Affects Your Child’s Behavior

Children often react wildly when refused something they want. Uncontrolled behavior may be normal at some age and the kid will hopefully grow out of it. Yet, it could be an indication of a behavioral disorder.  In order to identify what it is, we should know the factors which affect kids’ behavior.  

  • First, the reason could be simply genetic. Some children are naturally overactive and more energetic than others. They like other people’s company and will do anything to attract attention. Still, this wild behavior can be harnessed.
  • Second, the parents’ behavior is definitely an influence. True, life is hard nowadays. If you are too much absorbed in your own problems, the child feels neglected and can start behaving badly just to attract attention.
  • Another reason could be that your child doesn’t know what is allowed and what isn't. So they aren’t aware that some things are unacceptable. And if you try to punish them, they behave badly because they feel this is unfair. You have to impose rules and set limits within which the child can behave. Then you can expect the right behavior. A rule of thumb: try to change your own behavior and see what happens. If your child changes theirs in turn, then this is it! You have found the “root” of the problem.
  • School can strongly affect kids’ behavior. If the child has problems with learning or accomplishing  school tasks, he/she may lose confidence and it may result in mischievous attitude.
  • Food or medicine is another possible reason for uncontrolled behavior. What we consume determines our physical and mental condition to a great extent. If you notice that your child reacts to some foods or drinks, you’d better consult your doctor. The specialist will prescribe a healthy diet. Medication may also affect a kid’s behavior. Some asthma medicines, for example, can make children irritable. Antihistamines can make them drowsy or overactive. In either case you’d better consult a doctor.

How to Deal with Out of Control Child Behavior

Once you have determined the cause for your kid’s bad behavior, you may now seek a solution. There a few basic rules which can become mighty tools in your hands.

1.      Respond to Bad Behaviors Quickly and Correctly

When the child does mischief, throws a tantrum in public or shows some other type of bad behavior, the most inappropriate thing to do is yell at them. As hard as it may seem, try to keep cool. You must react, of course. Doing nothing is just as bad. Respond calmly, but firmly. Wait for the tantrum to pass, then explain to the kid that such behavior will not be tolerated and will have consequences. To sound more persuasive you may explain what these consequences may be. If you are persistently firm, the kids eventually understand that fits and tantrums are too exhausting and won’t lead to their getting what they want.

2.      Establish Boundaries

Specialists claim that up to 18 months of age toddlers intentionally test the limits to which their behavior will be tolerated. It is your task to set those limits and make sure that the child understands them. Unless you have set the rules, you cannot expect the kid to follow them.

3.      Define the Consequences of Misbehavior

Once you’ve established the rules, you should make sure that they are followed and define the consequences if the child fails to comply. Whether you should refuse the kid some treat or send them in their room for a while, the youngsters should understand that everything they do has repercussions.  Keep in mind though that the consequences must be proportionate. Do not impose severe punishment for an insignificant offence. That will send confusing signals to the child.

4.      Don’t Change the Rules in the Middle of Game

Be consistent in your own behavior towards the child. If you punish them for misbehavior one day and let it go on the other, the child will get confused and will never know what to expect. This will shake their brittle moral system and their trust in you.

5.      Be a Role Model

You could set a good example for your kid by behaving the way you want them to behave. Children learn about the world by watching and imitating. You are their closest person, their small world. Who else to imitate if not you?

6.      Do Not Yield to Pressure

When the child is whining or throwing a tantrum, sometimes you are ready to do anything to make them stop. This is a grave mistake. By giving them candy or whatever they want, you actually reward them for their bad behavior, and this will encourage them to keep on doing it.

7.      Encourage Positive Behavior

Good actions should also have consequences. Good behavior should be encouraged by positive stimulation – praise or a reward.

8.      Teach Your Kid Self-control

This is the most important tool of all. If you teach your kid to control their own emotions, it will help them enormously in their mature life.

    • Kids up to 2 years of age. The key problem with toddlers is the great gap between what they want to do and what they are actually able to do. That is why they quite often throw tantrums. You can calm them down by distracting their attention with a toy or you can send away on a chair or other isolated place for a certain period of time. Thus you will show them that bad behavior is not tolerated.
    • 3 to 5 years old. You may continue with the isolation, but not for a limited time as with 2-year olds. Now wait until they calm down. This will improve their self-control.
    • 6 to 9 years old. At this age children know about consequences and can choose their behavior. At this point you may make them do a simple trick: imagine a stop sign every time they feel like having a fit of anger. Teach them that if they stop to think a little before reacting spontaneously, this will save them trouble.
    • 10 to 12 years of age. At this age kids already understand their emotions. Encourage them to think about what causes their anger and analyze it. Teach them to think before reacting to a situation.
    • 13 to 17 years old. Teenagers can already control most of their actions. Now it’s time to teach them think about long-term consequences. Encourage them to talk and share their emotions verbally rather than shout or slam doors. You may take away some of their privileges in order to drive your message deeper.

When Should You Worry About Out-of -Control Kids?

    • Epilepsy may cause drowsiness or distraction of attention.
    • Hearing problems, such as deafness or glue ear, result in the child’s failing to follow instructions. This could mean that there’s nothing wrong with your child’s behavior – they simply can’t hear what they are told.
    • Tourette’s syndrome, whose symptoms include motor or vocal tics, often causes problems with anger control.
    • ŸPathological depression or anxiety are usually expressed in irritability and lack of concentration.
    • Autism is a serious condition associated with inability to communicate, inadequate social behavior or obsessive activities.
    • ŸAttention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that needs to be diagnosed, because sometimes it is confused with common hyperactivity. It is associated with lack of concentration and self-motivation, which often results in inability to complete tasks.