All parents can relate to a time when they felt horrified by a tantrum their child has thrown in public – you may have felt embarrassed, frustrated, and even guilty that you couldn’t control their behaviour. As a parent, their is a huge amount of pressure to shape your children’s behaviour and development whilst also maintaining a close and positive relationship with them. Even as your children grow into teenagers, there will often be times when they argue, rebel against what you say, and act out in ways that make you worry about their health or safety.
Although these experiences are expected, if they occur so often or so drastically that they start to impact your life, your child’s life, or your relationship with each other, it could indicate a more serious problem. In this case, you are likely to feel extremely hurt or disappointed by your child’s behaviour, whilst also being concerned about their wellbeing. You may be feeling as though your child is out of control, and you’ve tried absolutely everything but nothing has helped. It may even be having an impact on your own happiness or on the relationships within your family.
Although tension often results from noticeable outbursts such as tantrums or arguments, there are sometimes less obvious changes in your child that you feel are cause for concern. Some of these may include:
- Changes in personality, possibly involving increased withdrawal, aggression, or bluntness
- Abandoning previous friends or social activities quite suddenly and dramatically
- Items or money going missing around the house
- Rapid weight changes or changes in appetite
- Increased physical complaints such as headaches
- Fatigue or low energy
- Increased conflicts within the family
Since some of these behaviours can be temporary, and a normal part of growing up, it can be difficult to know whether to wait it out, or whether as a parent, you should be taking action. If you are unsure, a VCPS practitioner can help you to better understand your child’s behaviour and the role your own behaviour and reactions play. If your child is open to seeing a psychologist, it can also be useful for them to get support for any difficulties they are having. Many children find it difficult to open up to their parents about certain concerns, and therefore having an external source of support can be useful in helping them work through things that are working them, and that they may be unable to express to family members.
There are a number of VCPS practitioners who specialise in supporting children and adolescents in a wide range of difficulties, including controlling their behaviour. Our practitioners can assist by:
- Conducting an assessment on any problematic behaviours, the severity of the behaviours and the underlying causes or triggers
- Providing counselling and support for any difficulties that your child is experiencing
- Assisting your child in overcoming any unhealthy behaviours with education, strategies and support
- Giving you support as a parent to better understand your child’s behaviour and relate to them in healthier and more effective ways
- Providing family support to improve family dynamics and repair any relationships which may be suffering as a result of your child’s behaviour