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If the social behaviour is disturbed

disturbed social behaviour
disturbed social behaviour | ©: Luis Louro - Fotolia

More and more children are suffering from a conduct disorder. They behave aggressively, dissocial and oppositional. Of course, not every child who shows aggression every now and then is socially disturbed as well. During their development children push boundaries; they want to know how far they can go and how much influence they have. However, this behaviour should not take on exaggerated dimensions and also should decrease over time. But, that does not always happen.

Signs of a social disorder can be aggressive behaviour towards humans and animals, cheating, theft and the willful destruction of private or others property.

Social behaviour – The way we treat each other

Our social behaviour is nothing more than the way we treat each other. Do we show consideration for our environment, are we integrated into society and do we feel good about it? These are the primary factors for a good, social adjustment. However, a little bit of selfishness is okay and within the scope. Nevertheless, this must not degenerate into narcissism.

Someone is considered to have a good social behaviour if he helps people who need help; defend people who cannot defend themselves. In other words a person who is respectful and friendly with his surroundings. Of course, that does not mean that you always have to behave perfectly all the time. Those who act responsibly, taking his fellow human into consideration and has not only himself and his benefits in mind, those are people who show a decent level of social behaviour.

Signs of an antisocial behaviour

How can parents recognise whether their children are developing into an antisocial direction? And what can they do about it? I’ve mentioned already the first indications such as excessive egoism as well as disrespectful and ruthless behaviour towards others.

Other factors that may be indicative of a disturbance in social behaviour are: wagging school, temper tantrums, arguing and bullying of other people. Symptoms such as anorexia, sleep disorders and problems to connect with other people can be further indications for the development of an asocial behaviour. After all, they are all disturbances of a smooth interaction with other people.

Anti-social behaviour such as violence and ruthlessness cannot be tolerated. In this context, it is important that the child learns that he would not want violent and ruthless actions against himself. It also would be preferable that the child apologises to the person he wronged and makes amends for any damage done.

Puberty and the fear of embarrassment

Particularly during adolescence young people like to test their limits and see how far they can go – with their peers and adults alike. This is an entirely normal and healthy process. And everybody knows about the difficulties that come with it. Changes in terms of their social behaviour are just one of them. For example, suddenly, the opposite sex becomes interesting, and not just as a playmate.

This situation has an enormous potential for development, but also comes with a high risk. All of a sudden it is more important what others think of me and the fear of embarrassment rises. Unfortunately, who, throughout this delicate process embarrasses himself a lot, starts to exclude himself - out of pure self-protection. This leads to a very limited social environment, which, ultimately can develop into a social disorder. The fear of embarrassment can be masked by excessive coolness or, the young person might isolate himself from others and avoid any contact with the outside world.

Bullying - What's the problem?

In earlier years this was called to insult or annoy somebody, today we call it bullying. But no matter how we call it, don’t underestimate the danger of this behaviour. What happens if a child is being bullied? Either he doesn’t listen and walks away. – Or, and that does not happen all too often, he counters eloquently and the matter is settled.

As a third possibility aggressive behaviour might develop. In this case, it could happen that the child learns to look at aggression and violence as an adequate solution to the problem. Isolation, as well as the aggressive behaviour, can become very problematic. Especially if the child frequently engages in an aggressive behaviour, this could indicate an acute danger of a social disorder. This is one of the reasons why bullying has to be taken much more seriously in schools but most importantly so by the parents. What I am talking about here, is not just a few stupid comments. I am talking about the essence of bullying. If a child cannot deal with a few verbal attacks, then something in the child’s upbringing went wrong. When a child has learned and has been prepared for, not to get all excited about those silly comments then he will be able to deal with the situation adequately. But what if your child cannot cope with the bullying and turns to other influences to distance himself?

learning social cooperation
learning social cooperation | ©: Jasmin Merdan - Fotolia

Obviously, the one who bullies too has a social deficit. He tries to hide his own weakness, his anger, his insecurities and sense of inferiority by taking it all out on others. His intent is, to make the other suffer just the way he does. Therefore, both the bully and his target – at the end they are both victims. After all the bully does have a troubled relationship with his fellow humans.

There is always a reason

The causes for such behaviour can be the result of a variety of difficulties the child experiences. Most commonly there is a combination of several problems. You also can see differences between genders. With boys, you are more likely to find the cause outside the home, the group of people he is hanging out with. In girls, however, the cause is commonly in the family and how the family interacts with each other. Needless to say, as so often in psychology: the exception proves the rule. However, drugs and the group of friends could be another reason.

Principally, the peer group and the personal predisposition such as temperament may play a role, but usually only subordinate. In most cases, though, how the child was brought up weighs in the most.

If a child gets too little attention, receives no social support and help with psychological problems, an antisocial attitude is almost inevitable. If the parents are not interested, do not have the time or are constantly under stress, then the danger, for the child to develop a social deficit, is very high. It gets particular dangerous if the parents suffer from a mental illness such as depression. This increases, if the parents use drugs or behave aggressively towards the child. In those cases, a social disturbance is almost predictable. The parents are not a good role model for the child. However, youngster will take their behaviour as a benchmark. Violence within the family is particularly dangerous in terms of setting the child on the wrong track for life. A study says that 25-40% of violent parents transfer this behaviour to their children. Almost 30% of the surveyed children testified that they have been beaten or mistreated by their parents. An alarmingly high number.

Conclusion - Upbringing decides

In summary, it can be said that the way the child was brought up is the main influencing factor for the social development and behaviour. Of course, there are many other influences such as peers or other people in the immediate environment. However, they, by far do not have the same impact then the upbringing of the child. If a child grows up in a pleasant environment, gets all the necessary support and attention then it would be highly unlikely for the child to develop a social disorder. Obviously, it is not always easy to provide those beneficial factors. Therefore, parents should always be aware of their great responsibility.

Social behaviour and youth work

Social behaviour only can be practised in the community. In each youth group or summer camp, we notice this over and over again how hard it can be for some to become well-integrated members of the group. We see egocentric, loner, spoiled and aggressive children. On the other hand, there are also those children who can engage well with others, they also can reach out, help and support other children.

Consideration, teamwork, learning to socialise, collaborations and many more useful and positive characteristics can be learned in such a camp. Social behaviour and team spirit can only be learned and practised when you go out into the community. Therefore, youth work as provided by many organisations is important for the child’s development and an essential complement to the prenatal upbringing.


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