Dr. M. C. Jain
M.A. Ph.D. (Psychology)
Whenever we observe that the children are behaving in ways which are causing problems for themselves or to others, we feel the need to understand its causes or factors which are affecting the development of such factors. An understanding of the causes of inappropriate behavior in children can help all of us in modifying their behavior in the desirable lines. If we can understand how children are likely to behave under certain conditions, we can decide whether to provide or to avoid such conditions.
Before attempting to change children’s behavior, we, the parents as well as teachers, should understand and as far as possible must take care of such factors which are responsible for that. We may find a number of such factors in the child, in the school, in the society, in the family and so on.
FACTORS IN THE CHILD
A child’s physical handicaps like physical deformities, sensory deficits, problems in motor coordination etc. can cause problems related to his/her learning. In addition to the learning problems other reactions toward a child’s handicaps significantly affect his behavior. He /she is looked down upon by others, is criticized, or others make fun of him; he is likely to develop feelings of inferiority and withdraw from social situations. A child having low socio-economic status is likely to feel inferior, lose interest in social interaction and may also feel depressed.Children having lower levels of intelligence or other abilities are likely to feel uncomfortable in today’s world of overloaded curriculum and cut-throat competition. All this leads to stress in children whom in turn cause behavioral problems, emotional disturbances and maladjustment. In addition to this, if society reacts negatively toward these children, it further complicates their problems.
It is not always possible to find remedies for the handicaps but we, as parents and teachers, can always contribute our share in safeguarding children from the ill effects of unhealthy reactions of other people toward them and their handicaps. Moreover, we can always look for and apply the ways of making the best of a child’s abilities that he/she is possessing.
FACTORS IN THE SCHOOL
A lack of healthy and warm school environment, non-cooperative class –mates, principal and teachers who do not show any interest In children or are over critical in their approach are likely to have a discouraging effect on children. Children can learn some undesirable behaviors by imitating their class-mates also. An overloaded curriculum leads to stress. In addition to this high expectations of teachers further discourage the child. As a consequence he is likely to lose interest in studies as well as in co-curricular activities.
FACTORS IN THE SOCIETY
A child is a product of others’ behavior toward him/her. He/she learns where he/she lives. If others are aggressive toward him, he, in turn, is also likely to show aggressive behavior towards them. Unnecessary criticism and specially labeling of children also tend to produce undesirable behaviors like stealing, telling of lies, and delinquent behavior in children.Threats also lead to feeling of insecurity, tension, anxiety, fears, phobias, and emotional disturbances. Therefore, we should do our best to avoid them. An aggressive neighborhood or a neighborhood that does not show any concern with children tend to produce children who are either aggressive or do not show any interest in others.
FACTORS IN THE FAMILY.
Certain factors in a child’s family also adversely affect his behavior. If the family atmosphere is full of unnecessary criticism and threats, it is likely to produce tension and high anxiety in children. Instead parents’ behaviorshould beencouraging so that children feel that they are important for parents and they are wanted by them. The children should not feel neglected. Constant parental conflicts provide poor parental models for children to emulate. Too high or too low expectations from children can lead to their low self-esteem, and low self-concept. It can act as a major hindrance for their over-all development, achievement, as well as adjustment.
To sum up teachers and parents both should analyze the problem behavior of a child in order to find out which of these factors are playing a significant role in the development of a problem behavior. They both must understand that their own behavior is of crucial importance and if it is appropriate it can act as a safeguard against the development of inappropriate behavior in children.