Signs & Symptoms of Challenging Behaviors

Challenging behavior is a form of communication, and indicates that caregivers might need strategies in helping a child deal with emotions or feelings. We understand the concerns you may have when your child displays disruptive behavior. The first step to dealing with tantrums, tears, disruptions, or defiance is to understand the root cause of what is bothering the child. By learning about the best ways to manage symptoms through education, therapy, and social training, you can help children thrive in their everyday environments.

Some Common Signs and Symptoms of Challenging Behavior:

2-4 years old

Although tantrums are a normal development process for children this age; some signs and symptoms may need parents to consult medical advice consist of the following:

• If your child’s tantrums consist of hitting, kicking and biting more than 50% of the time
• If your child continuously tries to injure himself/herself when upset
• If your child is unable to calm themselves or be consoled by family when upset
• Refusal of daily activities (eat, get dressed, wear shoes, take a bath) and become extremely angry
• Consistently attempting to bite, hit, kick other people/kids
• Difficulties playing appropriately with other kids more than 50% of the time
• Refusing to use words and instead cries, yells, and throws items more than 50% of the time when trying to communicate wants/needs

5-7 years old:

• Is unable to attend to an adult directed task for at least 5 minutes
• Is unable to demonstrate different types of emotions (happy, sad, angry, etc)
• Is unable to make friends or dislikes social situations with peers
• Is unable to manage emotions
• Is unable to respond to discipline from family, teachers, caregivers
• Presents with poor impulse control (waiting for their turn, turn taking during a game, etc)
• Is struggling in school due to poor attention and unable to focus
• Is displaying sexualized behavior
• Engaging in self injury (burning themselves, banging their heads, talks about suicide, cutting themselves, etc)

Challenging behaviors can be tough to navigate, but you do not have to bare them alone. If you feel your child’s challenging behaviors hinders their learning, growth and development, you should seek help.