All children have the same basic needs – beyond food and shelter all kids need to be surrounded by loving, supportive people who are dedicated to their welfare and healthy development. Kids with behavioural problems may pose special demands beyond those of their peers, but the basics remain the same.
Getting the Right Diagnosis
Many behaviour disorders have similar symptoms, so parents must be diligent about securing appropriate diagnosis for their children. The first step toward giving children proper care is to be certain that you know exactly what you are dealing with. Parents who feel that their children’s behaviour may be extreme for their age should begin to make careful observations as to the triggers that seem to spark outbursts or other inappropriate behaviours. Armed with a comprehensive description of their worries, parents can schedule a thorough evaluation by a child psychologist or psychiatrist, they will be able to make a diagnosis and work with children and their families to decide on the best course of action.
Implementing a Plan
Kids need structure, but kids with behavioural problems may benefit from a well-structured environment even more than their peers. Children do best when they know what to expect, so establishing a household that operates on a fairly consistent schedule can help kids with behavioural difficulties to gain a sense of control in their lives. Kids with behaviour problems often feel anxious or out of sorts, so making efforts to provide them with an environment of stability and security is especially important.
Empowering Kids with Behavioural Problems
As children grow, they all need to feel that they are gaining the capabilities to help them manage their lives. Kids with behavioural problems have this same need, but it can be especially hard for parents to relinquish control when they are worried that the kids may not be ready. Small steps toward independence can help kids to build not only their actual abilities, but their confidence and self-esteem, as well. Since both of those traits may be sorely missing in kids with a history of behavioural difficulties, it is vital that parents allow kids to make small decisions and take responsibility for their own condition. For instance, children who are on medication can learn to take it as prescribed.
Practicing Firm Kindness
Providing guidance is one of the most important jobs that parents have. Children benefit from knowing that they are loved and supported, but it is also good for them when their parents have expectations for good and respectful behaviour. Kids need to learn that there are rules that people must live by, both inside and outside of their households and that a failure to operate within those guidelines results in negative consequences. Likewise, good behaviour has its rewards. Smart parents strive to use positives in guiding their children, resorting to punishments only as a last resort. Kids with behavioural problems may have a tough time getting the message, but when parents are consistent, firm, and kind, children will ultimately respond.
The Family as a Team
We all need to feel that we belong somewhere – that there are people who will love and support us, no matter what. Children with behavioural problems often have difficulties developing social relationships, making the love and encouragement of their families even more important. Kids with behaviour problems need reassurance that they are valued and that their parents and other family members are grateful for their presence in their lives. Dealing with the stress of being “different” can be hard for kids, but knowing that they have a stable support system can make their lives a bit easier.