Behavioral Problems in Early Childhood Abstract Early childhood behavioral problems is are a complex issue and there are many important aspects to consider when discussing this unique age group. The following is a broad review of the research on the subject. Included is an overview of the topic, as well as a review and discussion of risk factors, assessment methods, and intervention strategies. It is also discussed that further research must be done in order to provide better assessment techniques and treatment procedures for young children with behavioral issues.
Behavioral Problems in Early Childhood Overview Early childhood behavior has long been a subject of interest among psychologists as well as professionals in other fields. Famous professionals who have studied and developed theories on the subject include Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, John Bowlby, Marie Ainsworth, Mari Main, Donald Wincott, and Daniel Stem (Weatherston, 2000). The theoretical framework provided by these theorists has provided usno first person with the building blocks in which to understand behavioral problems in early childhood.
Early childhood behavioral problems are often difficult to define, since many behavioral issues are part of the normal childhood development process. Keenan and Wakschlag explain that “Preschool-age children come to mental health clinics for services, manifest serious and sometimes harmful behavior, and demonstrate impaired functioning as a result of behavioral and emotional problems”(2002). don’t quote this–paraphrase According to the DSM-IV, young children with problem behaviors are placed in the categorychildren are not placed in a category of disruptive behavior disorders.
Disruptive behavior disorders include two sub-categories, composed of including oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder (Keenan & Wakschlag, 2002). A study conducted by Beernink, Swinkels and Buitelaar (2007), determined the presence of behavioral problems in a sample of children between 14 months and 19- months-old of age. The parents of the children were asked to complete a questionnaire to determine the presence of emotional problems, impulsivity, attention difficulties, and social communication issues with their children.
Certain behaviors were present in more than half of the children, and could thus, be considered normal behavior. Social communication issues were present in less than 10% of the sample of children. In this sample of children, boys showeddon’t use “showed to have” to have more problem behaviors than girls. The findings of the study show the importance of early diagnosis and intervention in children. cite Risk Factors Extensive research has been done on the various causes of behavioral problems in early childhood.
One study concluded that the risk factors that correlate most with behavioral problems in young children are parent management skills, early childhood maladjustment, child temperament, and maternal depression (Nelson, 2007). Of all the proposed risk factors correlated with early childhood behavioral problems, the two with the most extensive research include conflict within the family and economical issues. Research studies (cite which ones)on how family conflicts relate to early childhood behavioral problem are consistent in their findings.
It is apparent through research that family conflicts do have an affect on the behavior of young children. One study, which included children who had been in families where child abuse or neglect had been present, was conducted to determine whether family violence is related to early childhood behavior. The outcome of the study determined that family violence has an indirect effect on the behavior and emotional health of children under 6 (English, Marshall & Stewart, 2003). Another study was conducted to determine the role of child temperament and the relationship between family problems and child behavioral problems.
The outcomes of the study show don’t use “show”that children with a difficult temperament show a large correlation between family conflict and behavioral issues (Ramos, Guerin, Gottfried, Bathurst, & Oliver, 2005). The results of these two studies strongly suggest that the family system has a profound effect on the behavior of young children, and that conflicts within the family are a risk factor for behavioral problems. Research also suggests that economical issues are considered a risk factor in regards to early childhood behavioral problems.
One study suggests that children who reside in lower-income communities tend to have a higher chance of having disruptive behavior disorder symptomssymptoms of … (Keenan & Wakschlag, 2001). Another study that reviews the literature on the topic provides similar findings that children from low -socioeconomic backgrounds have a higher chanceprobability of developing behavioral problems (Huaqing & Kaser, 2003). Furthermore, a study conducted by Winslow and Shaw proveresearch doesn’t prove anything that boys lower class neighborhoods are more at- risk for behavioral problems before entering elementary school.
Problems with Assessment Questions have arisen regarding whether or not young children can be accurately assessed for behavioral issues. As stated earlier, it is often difficult to determine whether a child is portraying behavioral problems, since many behavioral outbursts are apart of the development process in young children. Keenan and Wakschlag’s (2002) overview of early childhood diagnosis tries to answer that question. According to the authors “Disruptive behavior problems are the most common reason preschool children come to mental health clinics” (Keenan & Wakschlag, 2002). on’t use quotes; paraphrase Yet, there are several problems with the assessment of young children. To begin with, the DSM-IV is the most common way of assessing preschoolers. However, the use of the DSM-IV with children has been validated for the use of school-age children and adolescents, not preschoolers. It is important that young children are being assessed accurately within a framework that is valid for their age group. The authors reviewed the research on the validity of the DSM-IV for assessing behavioral problems in young children and compared different ideas n what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior in young children. According to their research, they found that the DMSDSM-IV is a valid method of assessing young children for oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder. However, slight modifications need to be made based on each individual child’s developmental level. They also stress the need for further research on the subject to develop more tools to assess the children in this age group (Keenan & Wakschlag, 2002). Intervention Strategies One main underlying commonality in the majority of research on this topic is the importance of early intervention.
Stacks (2005) suggests that “Intervention for children with moderate to severe behavior problems in early childhood is crucial because behavior problems are likely to persist into elementary school leading to a variety of social and academic concerns. ”. not appropriate citation–paraphrase The primary reason for the assessment and diagnosis of behavioral problems in early childhood is to be able to provide treatment before the problem worsens as the child develops. Regardless of the child’s age or socioeconomical status, there are programs available to help children with behavioral problems, as well as their parents.
There are several local community agencies that are available to help with children who possess exhibit behavioral problems. These include programs such as Head Start, the Department of Social Services, Community Mental Health, and the Health department. These programs are most often used by lower income families; however, they are also available to higher economic groups. For families who can afford individual therapy, there are therapists who are trained specifically in helping children with behavioral problems.
Some of these therapists have had extensive training in techniques such as play therapy or infant mental health. One way to find therapists who have experience and training in early childhood is to look on websites such as The Association for Play Therapy and the World Association for Mental Health (Stacks, 2005). Formalize! More and more research has been conducted to prove the importance of family- centered intervention strategies for young children (Keen & Dempsey, 2008). Sometimes, in order to provide help to the child, the family structure must undergo some changes.
However, family therapy is only successful when the all members are devoted to the therapeutic process. Family-centered therapy is a complex subject, and more research needs to be conducted to evaluate its effectiveness (Keen & Dempsey, 2008). Conclusion Early childhood behavior is a complex issue, and there are many aspects that should be considered when discussing the topic. There are various risk factors that may contribute to behavioral problems, including family conflicts and children from lower-income neighborhoods. ismatch There are various problems with the assessment and diagnosis of preschool- aged children, and more research needs to be done in the area. Although there are many community agencies and child therapists available to help with the intervention of early childhood behavioral problems, more research needs to be done on what type of therapy is helpful, particularly family-centered therapy. In conclusion, it is important that more research be conducted in all aspects of early childhood behavioral issues in order to ensure that early intervention is possible and successful.
References Beernink, A. , Swinkels, S. , & Buitelaar, J. (2007). Problem behavior in a community sample of 14- and 19-month-old children. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 16 (4), 271-280. English, D. , Marshall, D. , & Stewart, A. (2003). Effects of family violence on child behavior and health during early childhood. Journal of Family Violence, 18(1), 43-57. space here Dempsey, I. (2008). A review of processes and outcomes in family-centered services for children with a disability. Topics on Early Childhood Special Education, 28,(1) 42-52.
Nelson, R. (2007). Risk factors predictive of the problem behavior of children at risk for emotional and behavioral disorder. Council for Exceptional Children, 73(3), 367-379. Ramos, M. , Guerin, D. , Gottfried, A. , & Oliver, A. (2005). Family conflict and children’s behavior problems: The moderating role of child temperament. Structural Equation Modeling, 12(2), 278-298. Stacks, A. (2005). Using an ecological framework for understanding and treating externalizing behavior in early childhood. Early Childhood Education Journal, 32,(4) 269-278. Qi, C. & Kaiser, A. (2003). Behavioral problems of preschool children from low income families: Review of the literature. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 23(4), 188-216. Wakschlag, L. , & Keenan, K. (2002). Can a valid diagnosis of disruptive behavior be made in preschool children? American Journal of Psychiatry, 159(3), 351-358. Wakschlag, L. , & Keenan, K. (2001). Clinical significance and correlates of disruptive behavior in environmentally at-risk preschoolers. Journal for Clinical Child Psychology, 30(1), 262-275. Weatherston, D. 2001). Infant mental health: A review of relevant literature. Psychoanalytic Social Work, 8(1), 39-69. Winslow, E. , & Shaw, D. (2007). Impact of neighborhood disadvantage on overt behavior problems during early childhood. Aggressive Behavior, 33, 207-219. I counted at least 55 errors in all that were worth 1-5 points each. I recommend considering making the corrections suggested for the next paper for great success, and in order to improve your chances of success in the course, rather than give a 45 or less on this paper, will give a 65.