Early childhood is a time when your child rapidly grows and develops. This is also a crucial time for parents to keep a close eye on their child and be on the lookout for any signs of distress. Your child may display several different behaviours that can clue you into the fact that not all is right in his or her world.
The following are some of the warning signs you need to watch out for in your child. If the change is sudden or severe, it may be worthwhile to investigate it further.
Your Child Becomes Extremely Clingy
All children need care and attention, but becoming too clingy may point to some problem. If this is the case with your child, start to note where and when this behaviour occurs. For example, you can take note of whether your child starts crying before going to school or the babysitter. This can help you determine why your child needs more attention during these times. Some separation anxiety in younger kids is normal. However, if the behaviour is extreme, it may mean your child is not receiving the care they need from the school or sitter.
Your Child Comes Home Frequently with Cuts and Bruises
A few scrapes and bruises are a normal part of a healthy and active childhood. A large number of such accidents, though, may be a sign that the child is being bullied in school or abused by the babysitter. They may also be poorly supervised. In this case, you need to investigate further and take action quickly.
Your Child Becomes Disobedient
Although young children may become defiant, extreme acts of disobedience may point to problems at the school or the babysitter. A good school or babysitter will take care to enforce rules and disciplinary actions for your child. Extreme defiant behaviour may also be a sign that your child is not in good company.
Your Child Exhibits Disruptive Behaviour Disorder
If a well-behaved child suddenly becomes withdrawn or moody, it may be signs of behavioural disorders. The three most common behaviour disorders are an oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Around 10% of children under the age of 12 experience ODD. This disorder is more common among boys than girls. The symptoms include frequent temper tantrums, arguing with parents, disobedience, low self-esteem, and short temper. The child may also try to make others upset or angry intentionally.
Children with CD are often known as “bad kids.” The symptoms include not listening to parents or teachers and lying. They also start using drugs at an early age, become absent from class and pick fights. In severe cases, these children can also run away from home.
Around 2% to 5% of children have ADHD. Its symptoms include difficulty paying attention, forgetting instructions, being impulsive, interrupting others, and being restless and accident prone.
Treatment of these disorders requires teaching parents how to manage and communicate with their children. Children should also be taught to control their behaviour and thoughts and how to socialise with others. Parents can also teach the child how to manage anger and encourage them to excel in their talents. In some severe cases, medication may also be needed.
Even with the strongest supports, a child is bound to make some mistakes. However, if they have the support network they need, they will learn and grow from these mistakes.