Common Behavioral Problems in Children

Children experience behavior problems both in and out of the classroom. Read on to learn about these behavioral problems and what you can do as a parent.

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Parents whose children exhibit signs of poor behavior can become frustrated and do not know what they can do to help correct their child's behavior. They find that grounding their children for getting into problems at school does not always help the situation, and sometimes causes their behavior to deteriorate further. Fortunately there is help for students who have behavioral problems.


Cheating can start as a minor problem but left unchecked will develop into a major issue. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics,, cheating often is due to the competitiveness of the American culture and often starts during early childhood when a child is confronted with the competitive nature of games and sports. If a child is presented with homework and sports that are too complex for them to understand and to handle, they may develop a habit of cheating as a self-defense mechanism to help them prevent failure and embarrassment.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents deal with each cheating episode by teaching the child that cheating is wrong and discussing how they might have handled the situation differently. Also, discuss the stress and pressures the child is facing and make sure you, the parent, doesn't have too high expectations for your child in school and in sports. Most importantly, too severe of a punishment rarely works to correct the cheating habits.


Attention Deficit Disorder, also known as ADD, and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, more commonly known as ADHD, can occur in up to 20% of children, reported a 1999 study conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Children who have these disorders often have problems focusing their attention and are easily distracted. Other symptoms include difficulty taking turns, remaining still, and keeping quiet. All of these symptoms must be present in both the school and home environment in order for a child to be properly diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.

One of the most widely-used treatments for these disorders is drug therapy. The most common drug prescribed to youth who have ADD/ADHD is Ritalin. Ritalin helps calm children and is effective in 70 percent of those treated. As with any medication, however, there can be some negative effects. Ritalin is classified among 'Schedule II' controlled substances, all of which have a high drug abuse potential. Therefore, if a child is taking Ritalin, it is important to discuss the dangers of drug abuse. Additionally, discuss with them why they are taking the drug to ensure they know that taking drugs will not solve all of their life problems.

Help is Available

Many children with cheating and ADD/ADHD problems enroll in tutoring programs. Students with cheating problems can benefit from tutoring because it increases their confidence in their academic skills. Since low self-esteem and the excessive feeling of pressure is what causes students to cheat, an increased self-confidence and mastery of skills will help combat against this negative behavior.

Tutoring helps ADD/ADHD students because they will learn and master the skills they have been missing in class. Since these students have problems focusing, they do not learn the complete reading and math lessons that are being offered at school. Many tutoring programs use interactive activities and games that keep the child focused. Additionally, the one-on-one attention will keep the ADD/ADHD student tuned in to their tutoring lessons.

If your student is exhibiting these or other behavioral problems, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment with their school counselor. Your family and the counselor can discuss the different variables at play and which treatments can best help them.

After consulting the school counselor, you may want to see a your child's physician who can refer you to a child psychologist. These psychologists specialize in behavioral problems that may be similar to those your child is exhibiting.

Remember that the goal is not to punish or embarrass your child, but to correct the behaviors. Once you implement counseling, tutoring, and/or other treatment, your child can excel in school and have a more promising future.

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