What to do if your child is acting out of control

When a child begins to display out of control behaviour, differing from their normal pattern, it is a warning sign for parents.

Parental expert Nikki Bush says there are many things that can knock children sideways, and parents need to be vigilant. Putting a child into a new school, a death in the family and divorce, can leave children feeling stressed. Change can often make children feel out of control.

Children really need to feel safe and secure in the world and when they do they have no reason to act out

Nikki Bush - Parenting expert

Ken Resnick, Educational Psychologist says the role of parents is to educate children on how to handle the environment around them.

It is up to us to try and understand why our children are behaving in that way, and what we might be doing that is creating the problem.

Ken Resnick, educational psychologist

According to Nikki Bush there are various symptoms that could indicate the child is going through a stressful time. She says it varies from light symptoms to very serious hyper control issues. Some of the key signs are:

• Bed wetting
• Resisting bowel movements or soiling their pants
• Refusal to eat or fussiness with food
• Refusal to go to sleep
• Wanting to sleep in your bed not their own

Resnick says with the increased over exposure to television, there seems to be higher levels of screaming and shouting in the home. This indicates parents may also be out of control and are lacking authority. He says when the parents are not in control it means the child is in control.

When the child is in control they may never understand what the parents problem is and the parents become very anxious, which escalates the problem.

Ken Resnick, educational psychologist

Listen to the full conversation below:

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