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Understanding Child Behavioural Disturbances: what it is, the different types of disorders and ways to get support.

Children are often described as having endless energy, curiosity and joy for life. However, when a child’s behaviour becomes difficult to manage, parents may sometimes be faced with some challenges. Understanding the underlying causes and techniques to address these behavioural disturbances, is important for fostering healthy development and enhancing family dynamics. In this article, we will explore common child behavioural disturbances and provide some insights for parents and caregivers.


Behavioural disturbances are patterns of behaviour in children that, for their age, are outside the norm. These issues can stem from brief stressors in a child’s life, or they may represent more enduring disorders. These disturbances may present as emotional dysregulation, defiance, aggression, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Although developmentally it is normal for children to have outbursts, be defiant or impulsive every now and then, it becomes more of an issue when the disturbances are more persistent and severe.


Common disruptive behaviour disorders include:


·      Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Typical behaviours of children with ADHD may include having trouble with inattention (difficulty concentrating, easily distracted, forgetting instructions, not finishing tasks), impulsivity (talking over others, being accident-prone, having a short fuse), and overactivity (fidgeting and restlessness).


·      Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): Typical behaviours of children with ODD may include becoming easily frustrated or angry, refuse rules, have frequent outbursts, engage in arguments with adults, and experience low self-esteem.


·      Conduct Disorder (CD): Typical behaviours of children with CD may include frequently truanting from school or refusing orders from parents or authority figures, participating in fights, lying, substance use, aggressive behaviours towards others, engaging in criminal behaviour, or having a tendency to run away from home.


There are many factors that may lead to child behavioural disturbances. Considering biological, psychological, social and environmental factors, some of these may include genetic predispositions, brain development, family dynamics, parenting styles, trauma, learning difficulties or intellectual disabilities, gender or temperament.


Treatment of child behavioural disorders is multifaceted and different for every child. Some approaches may include child and family therapy, parental education and support, social and anger management training, medication, and fostering encouragement to improve self-esteem.


Overall, every child is different and as such, will require a unique and tailored approach to suit their needs. There are many support options available including contacting a GP, seeing a paediatrician or child psychologist/psychiatrist, or getting in touch with a particular organisation. It’s important to remember that you are not alone and that help is always available if needed.


Wherever you are on your mental health journey, our team at Nurtured Thoughts Psychology are always here to help. Our team of clinicians have extensive experience supporting individuals with a wide range of mental health challenges, providing tailor-made treatment plans and strategies to meet their unique needs. At Nurtured Thoughts Psychology, you will be supported each step of the way. Please feel free to get in touch or book an appointment here. We look forward to welcoming and supporting you at the practice. 

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