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Child Behavior

What is behavior?

Behavior refers to how one conducts themselves. It is their actions, reactions and functioning in response to everyday environments and situations. Challenging behavior is a term used to describe behavior that interferes with a child’s daily life. Managing children’s behavior is essential in maintaining order and structure in the lives of busy families, as well as setting children up for success.

It is important to be aware that behavioral difficulties can often be indicative of difficulties/delays in other areas including: self regulation, sensory processing, receptive and/or expressive language, executive functioning, social skills and planning skills.


Behavior includes:

  • Self regulation: the ability to obtain, maintain and change emotion, behavior, attention and activity level appropriate for a task or situation.

  • Sensory processing: accurate processing of sensory stimulation in the environment as well as in one’s own body.

  • Executive Functioning: higher order reasoning and thinking skills

  • Emotional Development/regulation: involves the ability to perceive emotion, integrate emotion to facilitate thought, understand emotions and to regulate emotions.

Why is behavior important?

  • Health and quality of life: Challenging behavior may seriously affect a child and parent/carers health and quality of life.

  • Reduce risk: Some risks associated with challenging behavior include self-injurious behavior (including ingestion or inhalation of foreign bodies, hitting head on the floor or throwing body on the floor) can result in serious injuries. Accidental injury is also a common issue in children with aggressive behavior, not only for them, but also the parents and carers involved.

  • Dietary deficiencies: oppositional behavior may result in dietary deficiencies, weight loss or gross obesity.

  • Social isolation: Challenging behavior can often lead to social isolation.

  • School transition: social isolations is likely to impact his sense of well being and transition to school.

  • Reduce mental health issues: Research also suggests that lack of social skills can lead to loneliness and depression from an early age.

  • Maturity: How a person behaves is a direct reflection on their maturity.

If a child is having difficulties with behavior you may notice:

  • Gets frustrated easily.

  • Displays opposition to parent or adult requests.

  • Have frequent tantrums.

  • Has tantrums that last for a long time.

  • Is difficult to discipline.

  • Typical behavioral strategies are ineffective.

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