Temper tantrums, stomach aches, missed school days, hitting/biting/throwing objects at you unprovoked. What most parents see as deliberate misbehavior is actually the sign of a child that is not self-regulated.
What causes children to not be regulated? Over the years I've seen parents discuss their children's behavior to me and more often than not, there are a few commonalities that can be found in misbehaved children. If your child seems to be "acting out", look to see if there are any irregularities from this list:
Is your child sleeping, playing, and relaxing enough? If not, you will probably need to start taking note of these minor but important needs.
Sometimes even the most minor changes in sleep schedules or play can cause a child to hit overdrive. If they are attending a new school or if their best friend has just moved away, it could also be a hard transition for them to deal with and they are unable to communicate this coherently. Watch for when they hit the sack, but make sure that they are sound asleep and not "pretending".
Stomach aches, headaches, leg pains, breathing problems - if there is something that a child cannot do it is self-diagnose. As a parent, be mindful of what you put into their body and what effects come out. Sometimes children may suffer from food intolerances or are on the verge of developing allergies to certain foods or other strange items such as a cockroach allergy . Whatever it is, keep a journal to see if it is a recurring event to see if there is a need to see a professional.
If your child argues with their siblings more, hear you and your spouse argue frequently, or feel left out in school, acting out by reacting is probably the only way they know how to deal with their problems. When children misbehave, sometimes it is not negative attention that they are seeking but communication with parents and caregivers on what they need the most. Make sure that you have an open line of communication to all individuals your child is involved with to check in on him or her.
Anytime your child is misbehaving more than usual, make time to communicate with your child directly. Talk to them in a quiet and non-distracted place and let them know that you are there to listen and to help - not judge.
If you have any questions about child development and behavior, please feel free to contact Christine at (404) 964-8533 or you can visit us at Learning Ridge, LLC.