Years ago, I had the privilege of working with a family as their in-home family therapist.
My goal was to help an 8-year-old girl learn to manage aggressive behaviors, decrease verbal outbursts, and improve the relationship with her parents.
This was no easy task.
Everyone on the team worked hard to find solutions, but unfortunately, we made very little progress. Her parents were exhausted and began searching for anything…anything that would ease the tension in the home. (Maybe you can relate.)
One answer came from a very surprising source: an eye exam.
The results showed that the child’s eyes were not tracking together, which made reading difficult – if not impossible. So, long days in the classroom were filled with frustration as the child was falling farther and farther behind in reading.
Vision therapy was added to the list of interventions. As the child learned to read, some of the aggression faded away.
Sometimes, our child’s behavior is so baffling, we have absolutely no idea what’s going on. We try different parenting strategies, hoping that they will somehow make a difference, but we’re still stuck.
While it’s great to work on your parenting, it’s also good to take a look at other factors that may play a role in your child’s behavior.
25 things that impact your child’s behavior
Here is a list to get you thinking:
- Big life changes (moving, starting a new school, death of a loved one, separation or divorce)
- Allergies and food intolerances
- Learning challenges
- Processing speed
- Learning style
- Feeling unsafe
- Vision and hearing problems
- Medical conditions
- Mental health diagnoses
- Activity level
- Fears and worries
- Lack of routine, structure, or clear understanding of what comes next
- Difficulty reading social cues
- Insecurities and shame
- Difficulty expressing thoughts and feelings
- Temperament and personality type
- Developmental stage
Of course, this list is not exhaustive. It’s a place to start.
While many of these things are not directly linked to your parenting, you still have the opportunity to impact your child in a positive way.
Maybe you realize that a glass of water and a quick snack is more effective than a timeout. Or than an earlier bedtime and being mindful of loud, noisy environments actually does lead to fewer tantrums.
Or maybe you decide to seek help from a professional – teacher, doctor, nutritionist, occupational therapist, or mental health therapist.
Be observant. Be curious.
And, if you suspect something may be impacting your child’s behavior, be willing to make changes if necessary.