We all know that every child is different. But are we aware that behaviors that may be perfectly normal at one stage of development should already activate the alarm bell at another stage? Determining the norms of behavior is not easy, but it is worth analyzing them in order to notice the moment when the specialist’s help will be needed in advance. My child is difficult.
Social development and parental love
As a rule, children are not exactly what we would like them to be. Apart from the joy they give us every day, they also require a lot of effort and effort on our part. One of the areas in which we often need to support them is building social relationships.
By entering them, the child learns various skills – and may at first make mistakes, misinterpret situations and behave inadequately to them. Sometimes, in the process of socialization, a rebellion appears, in which the child disagrees with the existing reality. It is a reaction to crossing the mental boundaries of another person and a way to protect yourself from being hurt or hurt your psyche. It can also mean demanding freedom, space, and rights. Rebellion is a dynamic and developmental phenomenon – so it can be a manifestation of a healthy and correct development tendency. Parental love provides adequate protection against the experience of the negative dimensions of rebellion. It also makes the child’s psyche develop in a space that allows for proper growth.
A difficult child – what is it?
However, despite all their love, sometimes parents find their child difficult. Usually, such a conclusion refers to the temperament that manifests itself at an early stage of life, and then becomes permanent through the use of certain educational methods and characterizes us in adulthood. Some experts on the subject divide children into “easy”, “medium” and “difficult” according to the presence of certain temperamental characteristics. They include:
- regularity of activities,
- a tendency to become active or withdraw in new situations,
- the threshold of sensitivity to stimuli,
- character type,
- the intensity of emotional reactions,
- ability to concentrate,
- persistence in carrying out activities.
The “easy” child is cheerful, calm, and not whining. “Medium” reacts badly to new situations and slowly adapts to them, and may also be overly sensitive. A “difficult” child exhibits irregular habits, rhythms, and great difficulty in adapting to changes. Differences in temperaments require an individual educational approach from parents, depending on the type of problems a child of a given temperament has to face.
The child is overly energetic
Such a child is bursting with energy – he puts all his strength into everything he does. At school, he is constantly spinning, nervous, drumming his fingers, instead of shaking someone’s hand – he crushes his hand with the greatest force. Usually, such children are cheerful, willing to cooperate, love sports, are noisy but are not aggressive or hostile.
Another type of children are those diagnosed with ADHD attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. They are very active but have great trouble directing their energy. A child with ADHD is constantly spinning at the desk, cannot concentrate on the lesson, is nervous, climbs everything, talks a lot, cannot wait for his turn, disturbs and interrupts others. Only a doctor can diagnose this disorder.
The child’s impulsiveness keeps him in trouble, although with good intentions. School is a real challenge for him. As the children report by lifting a finger, the impulsive student shouts out a response, interrupting the others. Such students do everything on the spur of the moment, without predicting the consequences of their behavior. When they see them, they are sincerely surprised at the results of their actions. Although they sometimes irritate adults, it is worth remembering that impulsive children do not act out of malice or hostility. A child that becomes angry easily
These children experience everything intensely and show their feelings easily. They often have tantrums, can act provocatively, that is, deliberately make themselves angry and do whatever it takes to sustain it. They are hostile to others. If such a child fights with another during a break, he will say, “He started it!” and it will still be bad as if it nurtures its anger. It so happens that anger can take control of it to such an extent that the child cannot cope with it in any way.
A stubborn child
Such a child has difficulty following the boundaries. If he complains, he can complain all day long. They will demand evidence from their colleagues that they are liked. It will be noisy when it comes to a closed toilet. When a stubborn child starts something, he cannot stop. He tends to lose control of himself. Humor and having fun with peers can turn into hysterical squeaks and jokes – into violent gestures.
Where the “norm” ends
Children most often respond to several of the above characteristics simultaneously. Understanding their temperament is the key to understanding their behavior. Each feature can become an advantage if viewed positively, properly modeled, and accepted. Whether difficulties in learning or behavior are a developmental norm or a psychological pathology depends, inter alia, on the age of the student. Some of the signals in adults can be treated as a symptom of mental disorders, while in adolescents they are considered the norm.
For example, when a group of teenagers board the bus, talking loudly, laughing, pushing, shouting over them, not seeing anyone around them, fellow passengers rather accept their behavior. Some of them get mad at the noise, others remember their own teenage years: “Yes, we were also like that at their age …”. But if in the same situation, a group of 40-year-old employees of a major state institution, who behaves in this way, gets on the bus, our reaction and assessment of the situation will be definitely different. Therefore, considerations about the norm and pathology in students must be supported by professional knowledge, awareness of environmental influences, and knowledge of development stages.
Rebellion and its development
From birth, one infant is happy, chatting, calm, and the other is constantly whining, dissatisfied, oversensitive. The first meets the mother’s smile, acceptance, and the second – parental irritation. Mental mechanisms are formed already at this stage. If we look at the development from textbooks, all 2-year-olds are egocentric, demanding, rebellious. It is one of the most important and natural stages in a child’s development. Most people pass it successfully, some a little longer than the rest, but there is also a group that stays there for life. And without solving the problems of this stage, there can be no further harmonious development.
The next significant stage is the period around the age of 4 when in addition to competing with other children, they struggle with the need to identify begins. The child begins to see gender distinctiveness. He also gains a sense of justice and notices situations in which someone has hurt them e.g. took a toy or pushed it. Appropriate responses to injustice should be strengthened in the educational process.
If parents find out that their child is kicking peers, beating friends, is hyperactive, does everything in spite of being aggressive, it means that he has a problem with adjusting to social expectations. Sometimes the reason may be your inability to deal with the excess of difficult emotions. Reprehensible behavior is a reaction to not accepting your situation and troubles.
A rebellious child is unable to compromise. He expects others to meet his needs but is deaf to their needs, sometimes he does not even notice someone else’s harm. If he fails to achieve his goals, he withdraws from play, peer group or blocks it, boycotts. Sometimes children in the rebellion stage are competitive, they want to defeat everyone at all costs, outsmart them, as if they did not enjoy playing together. They treat other people as an obstacle to achieving a goal. This group includes people with autism, ADHD, and behavioral disorders that are characteristic of the earlier stages of neuropsychic development.
Another group of disorders is characteristic of adolescence, or puberty. In the higher grades of primary school, the student enters the period of early adulthood. It is a time of shaping and accepting oneself, expectations towards the environment. A strong need to make independent choices, and cooperation with a peer group. The child discovers his own independence, individuality, and areas of autonomy take up new challenges and looks for his own identity. In a teenager’s life, a conflict begins to arise between what is required of him (family, school, peers) and how he perceives himself and what he expects from the environment.
“Teenage rebellion” is typical and does not exceed the norm if a young person makes decisions and bears the consequences of his behavior responsibly. Sometimes, however, you can observe behavior that is definitely deviating from the norm – for example, when a student hits a friend or brings a sharp tool to school and threatens the teacher. They mean that at some stage in his development he has not been emotionally supported and taught to express anger, anger, or sadness. Maybe when the student was younger he was constantly faced with complaints about himself or he was hit “just in case” so that he would grow up to be a “good person”. Another group of disorders that appear frequently at this stage of development is mood, eating, and anxiety disorders. They are often accompanied by a mental tendency to inhibit or avoid activity, to withdraw from it inward.
When to seek help
If parents see problems that are difficult to deal with. They should see specialists who will determine the cause of the problem. Troubles with a child during the school period can be considered in three dimensions:
- Irritating behavior, characteristic of the child’s developmental age, often disturbing the parents, but not pathological,
- Disturbing behavior, constituting difficulties for parents and for the child himself, taking the form of rebellion, lies, aggression,
Often the source of a child’s problems is that they do not know how to vent their excess energy. In some cases, therapeutic help is needed to get it to learn. Someone once wrote, referring to the car metaphor, that a child with a disorder has a huge engine. But no clutch, gearbox, or transmission to take full advantage of the power generated by the engine.
Energy is not under the control of appropriate gears, V-belts, etc. And when uncontrolled, it wreaks havoc. This metaphor relates to the initial stages of a child’s entry into pathological disorders. If not reacted early enough, the destructive force will come full circle and will be more and more consciously directed at other people. A child’s disorder affects parents, siblings, peers, and the environment. The diagnosis of ADHD, hyperactivity, oppositional-defiant disorders, or comprehensive disorders is the beginning of relieving parents of guilt, improving relations with school and the environment, and taking effective forms of help.