Changes in Children’s Behavior: An Extensive Guide for Parents to Decode and Understand

Navigating children’s challenging behaviors is an important part of parenting that requires close attention and understanding. From childhood to turbulent adolescence, children go through many changes, each of which is reflected in their behavior. Let’s take a detailed example through the different stages of development to illustrate how to help parents explain these changes.

Infancy (0-2years):

During infancy, they rely on nonverbal cues to communicate their needs and feelings. For instance:

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  1. Crying: A baby’s cry indicates hunger, discomfort, or fatigue. When hungry they make short, rhythmic cries, when uncomfortable they produce loud and continuous screams.
  • Attachment: Infants seek comfort and security through relationships with caregivers. They appear attached or easily relaxed when bound.
  • Sleep: A growth spurt or teeth loss can disrupt sleep patterns, causing to wake up at night or sleep longer.

Middle childhood (ages 6-12):

Middle childhood largely observes cognitive and social development as children engage in school and peer relationships. Consider the following examples:

  1. Academic Achievement: Changes in behavior, such as increased interest or avoidance of homework, may indicate academic challenges or learning disabilities.
  • Peer influence: Children are heavily influenced by peer groups and adopt behaviors and interests in order to fit in or be accepted.
  • Emotion regulation: By developing emotion regulation skills, children can cope with stressors and express emotions constructively and not in anger or aggression.

Adolescence (12-18 years):

Adolescence is a time of rapid change as children go through the transition to adulthood. Examples of changes in behavior during adolescence include:

  1. Risky behavior: Using drugs, driving recklessly, or engaging in risky activities can be motivated by a desire for independence and self-exploration.
  • Mood Swings: Hormonal changes and peer reinforcement also contribute to mood changes, with adolescents experiencing increased happiness and decreased anger or sadness.
  • Search for identity: Adolescents question their values, beliefs, and identity, leading to changes in behavior as they seek to establish a sense of self and autonomy.

In conclusion, detecting changes in children’s behavior requires careful observation and empathy. By identifying patterns and providing support, parents can better navigate these changes and foster their children’s growth and well-being. Remember that every child is unique, and seeking guidance from pediatricians, psychologists, or mental health professionals can provide additional support when needed. Professional intervention can provide valuable insights and strategies to address underlying issues and ensure the well-being of the child.

Article By- Mansi Sanjay Wagh

(- Psychologist, Parenting Coach .

-Founder of themindsoother mental health Hub.

-Former Vice President of Heal My Heart counselling and psychotherapy services Organisation, New Delhi.

-Certified Child and Adolescent Counsellor NHCA Singapore.)