Behavioural Issues In Children

Common Behavioural Issues In Children And Solutions

Updated on July 5, 2024

Are you a new parent worried about behavioural issues in children and searching for expert advice to handle them? Many parents are facing difficulty in understanding the reasons for common behavioural issues in children. They take such small issues as serious health problems and create stress in their mind. In this post, you can find Dr Jyothi Raghuram, Senior Consultant, General Pediatrics & Pediatric Rheumatology, Aster Women &Children Hospital, Whitefield, speaking about certain common behavioural Issues in children.

Common Behavioural Issues In Children And Solutions – Dr. Jyothi Raghuram

These are some behavioural issues that are seen in children in the age group of two to four or five years.

1. Thumb Sucking – Common Behavioural Issues In Children

Thumb Sucking Child
Thumb Sucking Child

One of the commonest complaints that parents have is that my child is thumb-sucking and has just not stopped this, and what do we do? Is it harmful or should we let it go?

Children do commonly suck their thumbs or sometimes fingers and this is okay to ignore this initially when the child is young and up to the age of four years definitely do not try to forcibly stop the child from thumb sucking. Children do it out of just an emotional need, some insecurity, some loneliness or sometimes there may be neglect or over-controlling parents. So if you are guilty of that then just back off a bit and it is a good idea to distract the child. When he is doing that engage him in some other activities and gently remove his thumb from his mouth without him realizing it. But many times it is a bit difficult to treat and children continue to do it. So if it passes beyond the age of four years it may lead to dental problems and malocclusion and then in such cases, it may need treatment. We can try something like applying some bitter substance and trying bitter nail polish also and trying to get the child to stop it. But if it purses then a visit to a dentist and some orthodontic support also may be needed.

2. Temper Tantrums – Behavioural Issues In Children

Child Showing Tantrums

Another common behavioural issue is temper tantrums. So parents are at their wit’s end and do not know how to deal with a child who is screaming, crying, wailing, and throwing his arms and legs lying on the floor and it is very embarrassing. If this happens in someone’s house or in a mall and they just do not know how to deal with it. So again temper tantrums are just a way of a child trying to assert his or her independence by asking for some attention from parents sometimes. And so this may just be a way of the child’s reacting to either even exhaustion or hunger or sadness and it has to be dealt with in a very calm way. Losing your temper or getting very upset about it or frustrated will not help matters.

So a useful acronym to deal with temper tantrums is CALM – Communicate effectively. Attend to your child’s needs. Let the child share his or her feelings. Making a schedule.

Communicate effectively yourself, and model your behaviour so that child also learns to behave the same way.

Attend to your child’s needs best way is to prevent a temper tantrum. Know when he may get it or when he is hungry and give him or her some food you know and just to prevent the temper tantrum. It may not always be due to hunger. So if there is any other emotional need also attend to the child’s need.

Let the child share his or her feelings. You know you cannot just say yes or no and be dogmatic. So allow the child to express what he or she is feeling.

Making a schedule for nap time or meal time again helps to prevent temper tantrums. If it does happen it is good to ignore it make sure your child is safe not hurting himself or herself, and take him to a no safe place if he is in a dangerous place where he may hurt himself or something they fall on him and ignore the tantrum till it passes off. And then once the child is calm and you are relaxed it would be a good idea to talk to the child about it and then deal with it at a later time.

Read How To Handle Toddler Temper Tantrums

3. PICA – Common Behavioural Issues In Children

Another common behavioural issue we see is PICA. Pica refers to the habit of eating non-edible foods. Normally children should eat what is edible but there are many children who eat paper, who eat pieces of cement, who eat sand, mud, and even toys. They bite off the paint of the toys or the walls. So all this is called pica and this is usually either due to an iron deficiency or a zinc or calcium deficiency and that definitely needs to be treated. But sometimes again it may be just a behavioural issue or an emotional issue and usually does not cause any harm to the child. Rarely children may eat a lot of hair. They pick up hair from the floor or their own hair they pull it and eat. And that can lead to a hairball in the stomach called Trichobezoar that needs treatment but otherwise mostly this does not lead to any issue. So it’s okay to distract the child prevent him from eating these things and attend. Get the child examined by a paediatrician to rule out nutritional deficiencies and do a routine deworming. Iron deficiency is common.

4. Breath-Holding Spells – Behavioural Issues In Children

Breath Holding Spells
Child Breath-Holding Spells Image by joffi from Pixabay

Breath-holding spells also can happen in children and can be a very scary event for parents to witness. Baby cries hold breath and become blue or becomes limp and pale and then needs to be sometimes even rushed to the hospital as parents feel this may have been a fit or a seizure. So we definitely need to rule it out from a seizure but typically there is always a history of excessive crying followed by a child becoming quiet and then becoming either blue or becoming pale and limp.

So again the best thing here is to prevent the excess crying to prevent the child from going to that stage by attending to his or her needs and if it happens to console the child by picking him or her up and then making sure that the child does not hold breath. But this is a voluntary thing that the child is doing. Again mainly for attention-seeking. And sometimes iron deficiency can trigger this. So we do treat with iron supplements if we find the child has iron deficiency signs. But otherwise, this is usually a transient face during the developmental stage of one to two years and the child does overcome it and, it does not persist beyond the age of four or five years. If there is any concern at all then the paediatrician may ask for a heart scan called echo to rule out any heart problems.

So these were some common behavioural issues in the age group of two to four years. 

Credits: YouTube


Are you facing any of the above-mentioned common behavioural issues in your children? If yes, could you find this post useful to better understand the real problems and how to handle common behavioural issues in children in the age group of two to four years? If you are a new parent, you may find it difficult to understand these types of issues and be worried about how to solve them. In such situations, it is always better to seek advice from your family members or a Doctor.

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