Common behavioural issues in children

We as Paediatricians see lot of parents who are worried about the behaviour of their children. Issues like temper tantrums including banging their heads, aggressive behaviour, hyperactivity, disturbed sleep, attention seeking etc.

The one that is the most common is fussy eating, specially in Asian communities (including friends & family). They would go to any lengths to feed thier kids, including distractions like feeding in front of TV /iPAd, iPhone, letting them run around, food coming in like ‘aeroplane’, etc. We keep telling these parents not to do that, to no avail. They feel that if they don’t do that, the kid would starve. That’s not the case! When hungry, the child will eat (they have to, to survive). The problem is that we don’t let them get hungry.

The other common issue is temper tantrums and head banging. They usually do that to sek attention. If you tell them off or react in anyway, they feel ‘it has worked’. There is controversy in how to manage that, but I usually advice the parents to ‘IGNORE’ the tantrum ensuring the child is SAFE. Only start paying attention or talking to them when they have stopped. This will give them the message that their tantrum ‘is not working’. It’s very easy to say, but difficult to do when the child is screaming at top of his/her voice, specially in a public place like supermarket.

Some parents are worried that their child has ‘Autism’ or ADHD. Children are evolving during the first five years and the behavious changes every few months. The diagnosis of Autism of ADHD is usually not made unless they are atleast 5 years old. It may just be normal ‘Toddler behaviour’.

There is a lot of information on internet, but you have to be careful as there is lot of nonsense as well. Here are some links, which are reputable.