Types of Child Behavior

During childhood, physical and emotional development is happening continually. Environmental elements, in addition to emotional and intellectual stimulation, have as profound an effect on the development of the child as do the inherent traits that come from genetics. Childhood is also the time when behaviors are developed that range from what is considered "normal" to those that suggest a disorder.

The Ideal Child

In a psychological study done in 1999, parents in Hong Kong attributed ideal behavior as having positive attributes in areas such as family, academics, and conduct 4. This behavior type is not as common as most parents would like, but it is attainable, nonetheless. Each parent has his or her own idea of what defines "ideal." For some parents, being an ideal child means being bright and imaginative--which at times may require them to be noisy--while other parents may find a quiet child to be ideal. No matter what each parents’ requirements for being ideal are, one common thread in all ideal childhood behavior types is that of manageability. A child that obeys is considered a manageable child.

Whining and Temper Tantrums

As children have not developed a refined ability to communicate what it is that they need or want, whining sometimes becomes a mechanism that kids use to let adults know when they are tired, hungry or in any other state of discomfort. However, when whining is used as a manipulation tactic, then it becomes a disruptive behavior. Whining can occasionally lead to temper tantrums, which are always disruptive. Temper tantrums can occur anywhere, at any time, and can include:

  • kicking
  • screaming
  • yelling
  • stomping
  • an assortment of other undesirable actions

Like other behaviors, whining and temper tantrums can be conquered by discipline and other parental consequences and rewards a child can earn for choosing to or not to exhibit such activities 3.


Behavior disorders vary from child to child and can range from mild to severe. One such behavior is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which consists of behaviors that include inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsiveness, or a combination of these activities. Academically, students who suffer from ADHD have difficulty paying close attention to details and completing schoolwork. ADHD is almost synonymous with ADD, which is ADHD without the hyperactivity. Children with ADD and ADHD have problems with waiting their turn, fidgeting and are easily distracted. Natural supplements and drugs such as Ritalin have been used to treat ADHD. Diagnosis can be done through parent-teacher questionnaires and different developmental and mental examinations.


ODD, or Oppositional Defiant Disorder, is exceeds the behavior of a child or teenager who is simply acting out 5. Those with ODD suffer from a pattern of negativity and hostility toward authority figures for at least six months consecutively 5. The primary characteristics of this disorder include regularly acting uncooperative, rebellious, disobedient, aggressive and defiant. It is common for children who suffer from ADD, ADHD, depression and anxiety to have symptoms of also suffering from ODD 5.