Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Children with Challenging Behaviors

All parents experience some discipline struggles with their young children. But for some parents, their children seem to challenge them on every issue. They push limits, refuse to follow rules, are intense, persistent and energetic. They may find it hard to adapt to transitions or changes, be sensitive, have tantrums, be aggressive, hurt themselves, destroy things, or withdraw from everything. These children are displaying "challenging behaviors".

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) states that, "a challenging behavior is any repeated pattern of behavior that interferes with learning or engagement in social interactions". For families it may mean many struggles throughout the day and for early childhood programs, it may mean constant disruptions to their routines and activities and teacher vigilance on specific children.

There are no proven causes for children's challenging or oppositional behavior, but there are several things that may influence that behavior. They include temperament, genetics, heredity, a chemical imbalance in the brain, trauma, mood disorders, and response to a chaotic environment. Parenting styles and practices can also influence when these disorders start and their severity.

Children who demonstrate challenging behaviors in the preschool years are at greater risk of having negative developmental and social outcomes as they grow older. Not all children who exhibit problem behaviors in early childhood maintain these behaviors over time but early intervention is critical.

Current early childhood research focuses on the identification of children who show challenging behaviors, interventions that support more positive behavior in those children, and curricula for early childhood programs to use to support all children in their social and emotional development.
Source: Early Childhood CYFERnet Editorial Board.

Resources for parents:

Understanding Children with Challenging Behaviors
This online parenting resource provides families with information on how to parent children with challenging behaviors. Available at:

Positive Solutions for Families
This four-page brochure provides parents with eight practical tips they can use when their young children exhibit challenging behavior. Available at:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.