It’s not all child’s play when kids start acting out

New Delhi [India]: Parents often wonder whether or not their baby’s bad behaviour will come with the ‘terrible twos’ territory – the phase when any cuddly, angelic little one can turn into a volatile being.

Many people worry that their kids’ bad behaviour is a result of their parenting mistakes, but now half a century of research suggests this may not be the only case.

From erratic bedtimes and certain gut bacteria to behaviour of head honcho at home and violent parenting, science has given out a lot of reasons that set kids off.

As if having a tearaway child wasn’t enough; few studies have also given another reason for stressed parents to fear the ‘terrible twos’: A screaming toddler could be on their way to a life of crime!

According to Prachi Chitre, a child phychologist at, “Many a times the little ones do feel guilty of their behaviour and parents can easily find a way out and help them in dealing with it. However, if children show little or no remorse for their poor behaviour and are highly prone to tantrums or to throwing temper fits, parents need to understand the reason behind that behaviour before dealing with it.”

She added, “Every child is different and therefore they exhibit different types of behaviour. Parents often worry about whether their child’s attitude is merely a developmental change or if it is a cause of concern. Since several factors such as a child’s age, developmental stage and personality are associated with behavioural patterns, it can be difficult to distinguish an age-related development from a real problem.”

Chitre also pointed out that usually, young children express themselves with their hands. Although parents should not encourage hitting, this necessarily doesn’t mean that the child is acting aggressively. They typically act impulsive and aggressive as a means of defending their belongings.

“Tweens and teens may also act or speak aggressively as a coping mechanism, which suggests that not all aggressive behaviour indicates a disorder. An occasional outburst in children can be quite normal; however, repeated disruptive actions like throwing tantrums, arguments, displaying hostility towards parents or authority figures, and bullying by picking on small or younger children may signal a definite problem,” Chitre explained.

“This kind of behaviour may also include causing harm to animals, other people or themselves. In teens, signs of a problem may include early smoking, alcohol, and drug use. A child who keeps lashing out is a distressed child as he doesn’t have the skill to control his feelings and express them in a mature way. Such children are usually unable to handle frustration or anger by talking and figuring out how to achieve what they want,” she continued.

While dealing with a raging child, parents might often get out of control themselves and end up yelling. Chitre suggests that the best approach in this situation is to stay calm and become a role model for the child.

“By not giving in to their disruptive behaviour, parents can help them practice problem-solving skills. If a child is lashing out frequently and disrupting the family, it’s time for some professional intervention. The pattern of lashing out primarily occurs due to possible problems that need treatment. ADHD or Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is one such problem which makes kids frustrated easily,” Chitre noted.

Anxiety may allow a child to keep his worries secret and then lash out when they can’t handle the pressure any longer. Meanwhile, there are some children who take time in processing the information they are taking in through their senses. This might make them anxious, uncomfortable, or overwhelmed. “Parents must let their children undergo professional behavioural therapies like Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Parent Management Training and Collaborative & Proactive Solutions that can help their children get past the aggression and relieve their stress,” she said.

Every child faces emotional difficulties from time to time as it is a part of their formative years.

“The pattern of your child’s behaviour is anticipated to either change over time or even on a daily and hourly basis at times. Thus, it is crucial for the parents to stay observant of their behavior and monitor the way they cope in particular situations. After all, it is in the hands of the parents to eventually influence them in making good behavioural choices and display appropriate and pro-social actions,” Chitre concluded. (ANI)