Behavioral Problems in Early Childhood

Topics: Psychology, Family therapy, Childhood Pages: 6 (1815 words) Published: November 2, 2012
Behavioral Problems in Early Childhood

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

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....

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
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.
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