There are many behaviours that parents will witness throughout their child’s lifetime, but how do you tell the difference between the ones that are a passing phase and the ones that require more attention?
Lysn psychologist Breanna Jayne Sada details five behaviours that your child may exhibit, which should not be brushed off as something they will grow out of.
This type of behaviour can be grounded in anxiety, Breanna explains. So, as a parent, it is important to try and establish what is causing the child’s concern. Breanna suggests working toward identifying the fear and if it is safe to do so, help them face it in a constructive manner.
A child withdrawing can be very confusing for parents. This behaviour is typically more common in teens as it generally stems from the need, or want, to become more independent.
While this may seem quite natural, Breanna says this behaviour can also be concerning. “There is a difference in withdrawing from family to spend time with peers and just being alone and isolating themselves,” she tells. “Withdrawal does need to be monitored and the lines of communication should feel open enough that your child can talk about how they’re feeling.”
Telling white lies
Telling small fibs may seem innocent and harmless, but Breanna warns that this can turn into a habit or even turn into a coping mechanism.
“Little lies can grow and down the track have consequences even social ones with peers as well as behaviourally,” she says.
Anger is a natural emotion and Breanna stresses there is nothing to be concerned about unless angry behaviours become harmful or destructive.
“Giving a child a time out for getting mad has its merits, but not if that child never learns how to behave when they are angry,” she reveals. Since getting angry is unavoidable in life, Breanna says it’s important for children to explicitly learn how to handle that emotion, instead of relying on others telling them what to do.
“Time out, when done incorrectly, also teaches the child not to talk when upset or emotional and in fact we want to teach them the opposite, to seek support and help,” she adds. “So, that time after getting angry needs to be used for reflection and as an opportunity for the child to learn from you and a time they can seek support.”
Don't ignore positive behaviour and following rules
Although the above are some behaviours you should be alert to out of concern, Breanna says to not let the positive behaviours go unnoticed either.
“As a rule of thumb those behaviours you pay the most attention to are the ones you are likely to see again,” she explains. “So, positive reinforcement for good behaviour is something that we want to see at every age not just little ones. Teenagers need this a lot too.”
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