Monday, 20 March 2017

What is “Behavior Problem”?


The present article will discuss in detail about behavior problem”, “its (behavior problem) occurrence at different stages of development”, “symptoms or signs of behavior problem”, “causes of behavior problem”, what is meant by “adolescent rebellion”.


Behavior Problem
Behavior Problem

What is “Behavior Problem”?



Every child shows some behavior problem at a particular stage or at different stages of development in his life. But in case of some children, behavior problems occur more frequently. Some of these behavioral problems persist over a period of time like a chronic disease. In most cases, these problems interfere with their normal day-to-day activities and the activities of the classroom.

The behavior problem refers to those behaviors of the child which create or which are likely to create difficulties in the learning activities of the child. As a result, the instructional program and discipline of the classroom get hampered.

About 2-4 percent of children in the classroom demonstrate behavior problems. The occurrence of behavior problems is more in case of boys than in case of girls. Girls also experience behavioral problem; since they (girls) are more capable of socially adaptable behavior, their problems do not come to focus.

A child may show one or more than one behavior problem during his period of development. Some behavior problems may occur at a specific stage of development while some behavior problems occur at different stages.

For example, revolt against parents, teachers, and other authority figures is characteristics feature of adolescence. Similarly, stranger anxiety is a problem of infancy. Lack of interest in studies or negligence of duties may occur at any stage of development.




M. Dash (1995) conducted a study on behavior problems of children. His findings reveal the following behavior problems occurring at different stages of development.

Stages of Development
Behavior Problems
Infancy
Crying
Lack of appetite
Stranger anxiety
Separation anxiety
Sibling rivalry
Jealousy
Bed-wetting
Early Childhood
Excessive shyness
Unhappiness
Temper tantrums
Obstinacy
Jealousy
Bed-wetting
Laziness
Bullying and teasing
Cheating
Late Childhood
Excessive shyness
Unhappiness
Temper tantrums
Obstinacy
Laziness
Bullying and teasing
Cheating
Stealing
Defiance
Daydreaming
Truancy
Telling a lie
Vulgarity
Destroying school property
Getting nervous and feeling disappointed over petty matters

Adolescence
Rebellion against parents, teachers, and authority
Unhappiness and excessively moody
Laziness
Bullying and teasing
Cheating
Telling a lie
Stealing
Destroying school property
Defiance and disobedience
Excessive daydreaming
Truancy
Vulgarity
Objectionable behavior towards girls
Getting disappointed over petty matters
Excessively thoughtful
Excessive carelessness

Causes of Behavior Problems:

Every behavior has a cause. The behavior problem of a child has also a cause or a number of causes. The manner in which the child behaves is clear enough to suggest that he has a problem. This external manifestation of the child’s problem through his typical behavior may not indicate the real cause or causes of his problem.

For example, a child of Class V steals money from the schoolbag of his classmates. But why does he steal money? There may be a number of causes of his stealing money. Stealing money is a symptom of an underlying problem. The causes of his behavior problem cannot be ascertained from its symptom. The causes of his behavior problem can only be ascertained through a psychological analysis.

A child behaves in a specific way to meet his basic needs and to avoid or to get rid of frustrating circumstances or the impending danger which may arise out of the failure to satisfy his basic needs. if his behavior is not socially acceptable, it is considered as behavior problem.

Behavior problems are not hereditary in nature. They are caused by social and psychological environment of the child. The environment which causes behavior problem may be the home environment or the school environment of the child.



Home Environment:

Some children come from families with low socio-economic status. The way such children are brought up, the care, education and stimulation which they receive in their homes cause behavior problems in such children.

It is generally noticed that the occurrence of behavior problems is more in case of children who come from low societies than those children who belong to middle class or high class societies.

For example, a child from low class society may learn that stealing is acceptable until it is detected. But a child from high class society may learn that stealing is bad.

In some homes, parents exert authority over their children. Children who are brought up by authoritarian parents generally show bullying and teasing behavior towards their classmates. Some children are rebuked, scolded, insulted, blamed and punished very frequently by their parents. They are considered as useless by their parents. In some cases, these children are rejected and neglected by their parents. Such children show behavior problems at later point of time.

Parents teach social and moral values to their children. Children also learn values from their peers. Very often parental values come in conflict with the value system of peers. If the child fails to appreciate the parental values and behave accordingly and if his behavior is predominantly influenced by the value system of peers, behavior problem may occur.  This is particularly noticed during adolescence. We call it “adolescent rebellion”.

In some homes, children are discourages by their parents for performing various activities. Such children fail to co-operate in various school programs. A child who has been discouraged in his home does not understand the significance of co-operative behavior in school. Rather, he demonstrates “attention-getting mechanism” to draw other’s attention towards him.

School Environment:

In addition to the home environment, the school environment is largely responsible for behavior problems of children.

The school policy, the social, moral and psychological climate of the school, teacher’s behavior and attitude towards the problem child, and inter-personal relationship among children in the school, etc. lead to the behavior problem or aggravate the behavior problem of children.

Some children notice differences in the behavior acceptable in school and those that are encouraged at home. Generally in most schools, middle class behavioral standards are accepted. If a child from low social class imitates the behavior of middle class and behaves accordingly at his home, parents discourages it.


On the other hand, if the child behaves according to the low class standard, he is punished in the school. This creates confusion in child’s mind. Behavior problems arise out of such confusion. Children who express their confusion adopt defence mechanisms. Children who do not express their confusion or conflict but keep it within themselves remain unhappy or moody most of the time.

The child learns in the school that adults are always right and that children are wrong. He also finds a gap between what adults say and what they do. For example, a teacher who himself smokes advises children not to smoke. Thus, the child starts defying the teacher. Defiance is a behavior problem.

Children are forced to abide by the rules and regulations of the school. But they do not find any meaning or justification of the school policy. Thus, they begin to defy or violate school policy, and consequently are punished for violating school discipline. The punished child may later follow school policy or he may continue to violate the discipline.

The curriculum load of the school becomes unbearable for some children. Continuous teaching in the classroom, load of homework, and undue emphasis on examination make the child distracted and disinterested in studies. If such a child does not get academic help from parents or elders, he becomes a truant.

A truant leaves his home in time, but he does not go to school. He spends his school time in the playground, parks, cinema hall and watches television somewhere with some of his friends. Then, he reaches his home in time.

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