Sometimes, kids behave in weird and mysterious ways for no reason other than the fact that they're kids. It's good for parents to be able to shrug off the occasional strange behavior or odd action. However, parents should also be able to recognize when an odd behavior becomes a pattern, rather than an occasional occurrence. There are some behaviors which, if displayed again and again, indicate that your child may benefit from working with a child behavioral therapist.
A child may experiment with banging their head against a wall or the floor once or twice for attention or because they've seen this on television. But usually, they learn pretty quickly that this behavior hurts, so they stop. If your child starts banging their head on things regularly or semi-regularly, then you should seek behavioral therapy. This can be an indicator of an underlying mental health disorder or of a cognitive disorder. It may even just indicate that your child is under a lot of stress — which a behavioral therapist can help them find healthier ways to manage.
Biting and Kicking Others
Most kids go through a phase where they bite a friend or family member, but this phase passes quickly — usually once a child is disciplined and helped to understand that this behavior is not acceptable. Repeated kicking, biting, or otherwise injuring others, however, is a sign of a deeper problem. A child who does this should receive therapy sooner, rather than later, so the issue can be addressed before they are older, heavier, and capable of causing more damage. A therapist will work to figure out why your child is acting so violently, and they'll address that underlying cause to modify the behavior.
Strange Eating Habits
If your child's eating habits ever start to seem more severe than simply being picky or preferring sweets, then you should arrange for them to see a behavioral therapist. Eating disorders are showing up in younger and younger children, and many parents unfortunately overlook the early signs. Symptoms of an eating disorder in young kids could include:
- Only eating foods of a certain color or certain type
- Not eating for days at a time
- Weight loss
- Frequent complaints of a stomach ache (kids may say they have a stomach ache to avoid eating)
Childhood behavioral therapists are experts at working with little ones to figure out what's underlying their problems and finding ways to address those underlying issues. If you are at all worried about your child's behavior, it is never a bad idea to have them at least assessed by a therapist.