Hyperactive Child? Or is it a Hypoactive Adult?

We have all seen kids who don’t seem to know how to behave. In fact, there are now even popular TV shows about these types of kids and how to deal with them. You see these kids in restaurants, preschools, stores, and doctors’ offices. They run around screaming, biting, and dismantling property. They are basically a pain in everyone’s neck.

When you see a child acting this way, the first impression you may have is that the child is hyperactive. However, you may be very wrong.

Take another look at the parent who is with the child and a close look at the parent's behavior.

Does the parent tell the child to stop the undesirable behavior?

Is there a consequence if the behavior continues?

Is the parent in charge, or is the child in control?

Is the parent embarrassed, yet remains immobilized?

Does the parent make excuses for the behavior but does nothing to correct it?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you are looking at a hypoactive parent — a parent who is not involved enough in guiding his or her child’s behaviors. If you are the parent, now is the time to take charge.

There are many reasons for the explosion of hypoactive parents. Over half of all marriages end in divorce. Separated parents blame each other for the lack of parenting. Each believes the other should do more of the work or at least help out. Many parents work long hours and don’t have enough energy in reserve to parent.

Some parents are afraid that if they set rules or employ discipline, they will lose their child’s love. Some parents feel the need to make up for the difficult time they and the child are having handling a divorce or separation.

All of these reasons are poor excuses for having an out-of-control child. In the long run you will find your child’s bad behavior more exhausting and detrimental to your relationship than taking an active parenting role.

How can you change the picture?

Set reasonable limits.

Be consistent.

Enforce limits immediately.

Don't get into a power struggle.

Don't tell the child he is bad; tell him you don't like the behavior.

Don’t react when you’re angry. (If you control the behavior as soon as it starts you won't have time to get angry.)

If you don’t overreact to a tantrum, there is less chance this behavior will continue. Parents who give in to tantrums get a repeat performance.

Being a parent is a hard job, but someone has to do it.

If you set limits on your child’s behavior you will not lose his or her love. On the contrary he will feel more loved for your limit setting and more accepted by peers and teachers. He will know you really did care and set him on the right path.

You do not want to have your child incorrectly labeled. If your child is truly hyperactive there is help for them. However, be sure to have proper screening done before this label is attached to any child. Consult with the school psychologist or have your pediatrician recommend a professional for you who can provide proper screening.

Many poor behaviors can also be reversed. Get the help you need now.




© 2006 All rights reserved. |  Last revised by R. Cohen on January 21, 2006.