Abnormal Child Behavior & Psychology

Abnormal child behavior can be caused by a variety of psychological or social factors. A child's home and school environment can have a big impact on his behavior. Psychological reasons for abnormal child behavior can include autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, or attention deficit hyperactive disorder. It is best to consult with a physician to determine the cause of abnormal child behavior.

Home and School Environment

A disordered home or school environment can be the cause behind abnormal child behavior. Children dealing with abusive or neglectful home environments may act out in a variety of ways. They may act inappropriately at school, misbehave, or be timid and sad. Problems at school such as bullying or difficulty learning can also have an impact on a child's behavior. Abnormal behavior can also be a result of parental guidance. Parents must model appropriate behavior for their children, as well as guide their children in their own behavior.

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism is a developmental disorder that causes severe impairment in a child's thinking, emotions, language and communication skills, and ability to relate to others. Children with autism will demonstrate developmental deficits in social interaction and their ability to communicate both verbally and non-verbally. They may also show repetitive or obsessive behaviors or interests. Usually these deficits are measured in relation to how a child's peers are developing, and when a child starts to lag behind her peers, it can be cause for concern. Usually autism signs appear when a child is between 12 and 36 months. Autism can be treated with behavioral interventions such as one on one time with a teacher to help the child overcome learning difficulties or working with parents to improve communication skills.

Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities are neurological disabilities that affect the psychological processes involved in learning. Often children with learning disabilities are just as smart as their peers, but they have trouble in the classroom. Learning disabilities are often diagnosed when a child lags behind his peers in a specific subject area, such as math or reading. Often a child with a learning disability will be capable in some subjects but struggle in others, for example she may be excellent at math but have difficulty with writing. Interventions for learning disabilities often involve one on one time with an educator who may present the material in a different way.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by severe and frequent inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness 2. Symptoms of inattention may include constant daydreaming, difficulty following instructions and forgetfulness. Hyperactivity can manifest itself as difficulty sitting still or constant fidgeting. Impulsive behaviors such as interrupting, blurting out inappropriate comments or impatience can also be a sign of ADHD. This disorder can be treated with psychotherapy, medication or behavioral interventions. Often a combination of the three is most effective.


Parents are often the first to notice a child's abnormal behaviors, but educators, childcare providers and relatives may notice these behaviors as well. However, it is important to consult a medical professional to ensure the child receives a correct diagnosis and receives the help he needs. Abnormal behaviors can have a variety of causes, and it is important to determine the correct one. Interventions for these disorders and problems will usually involve the parents, a medical professional and the child's teachers. Working as a team, the adults involved in the child's life can make a difference for any cause of abnormal behavior.

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