We live in an era where, as a parent, if your child has behavioural issues, you will likely be told that your child has underlying issues, or even worse, an underlying condition. It’s also well know that diagnoses such as Attachment Disorders, ADD/ADHD, and Oppositional Defiance Disorder are all hugely over-diagnosed. The problem with over-diagnosing these conditions is that it can lead to the wrong treatment being prescribed, such as medications for ADHD, lengthy and costly ‘attachment’ therapies, or what every parent must dread, “your child needs counselling”. These miss-diagnoses also then become excuses for your child’s misbehaviour, which allows the behaviour to continue and probably get worse.
In my experience, these explanations are rarely the cause of a child’s behavioural issues. Whatever happened to children just being naughty, or misbehaving? I believe the majority of behavioural issues in children and teenagers are simply due to the child being self-centred, they’re only thinking of themselves and what they want, which is of course completely normal. Unfortunately, some children just act like this most of the time, just as some adults do!
The misdiagnosis of behavioural issues can also have an additional undesirable effect, by making a parent feel guilty or responsible for the child’s difficulties. The parent then feels sorry for the child and tends to overcompensate, which of course simply allows the behaviour to continue, or even make it worse. The answer is to not make a parent feel guilty, but to empower the parent to manage the behavioural issues in the first place. Parents need sensible, practical, and effective strategies to deal with their children’s behavioural issues.