Is there always a reason?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ciounoi, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. ciounoi

    ciounoi New Member

    Hi there,

    I've posted on this site before, I'm a long-term substitute teacher in a middle school emotional support classroom. :)

    I was wondering about something. I work (and I'm sure you live with) with a lot of kids with severe behaviors. Most of the behaviors tend to take the same forms - defiance, not accepting responsibility, aggression, etc. My students come from a variety of different backgrounds - some of them have parental support, enough to eat, and stable home lives, but others do not. Is there always some kind of a reason for acting out? Could some of these kids just be bad kids? (Just a question, not suggesting I believe it!). Or is there always some kind of trauma or attachment problem or processing issue that makes kids act up?

    Any thoughts?
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I will be the first to say that there IS such a thing as just bad kids but for 99% of kids with behavior issues, there is a reason. It could be simple and it could be complex. In our case, difficult child 1 has MANY mental health issues and some early trauma that has made things harder for him. For difficult child 2 (twin), he just has minor mental health issues and some of the same trauma but he's also more resilient. There are a LOT of variables to take into consideration.

    Good question.
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Thank you for this question!

    YES there is a reason - but no, it's not always as simple as bad parenting, or instability at home, or abuse, or anything easy to see...

    I think that many times it is brain development gone off-course. That might mean Autism or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - but it can also be an inherited Mental Illness or issues developing due to early exposure to environmental toxins. There is so much about brain development that we still just don't know - and there are so many chemicals and drugs and additives and things in our air and our water and our food....who knows the cumulative effect?
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Yes, there is always a reason.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    There is always a reason but that doesn't mean we can always figure it out. Lots of times it can look like bad parenting and have tests show nothing but the problems still are caused by a health or mental illness issue. that goes for physical as well as behavioral/emotional disorders.

    or it can look like there is no reason but if you sleuth and search and listen to the instincts of the parent you eventually find a reason.

    sometimes a child just seems evil, does things that are so awful, so hurtful to others that you wonder what is wrongbut the docs 'can't find' anything wrong. sadly, those are oftn the cases where the child was badly abused.

    Even harder than the above is knowing that no matter how great, nice sweet, effective and loving you are, there are kids who won't respond and turn their lives around for a very long time or ever. For some hurt/abused/sick children, there is no happy future, they simply cannot accept love.
  6. keista

    keista New Member

    All of the above.

    Yes, I believe that some kids are born bad. Statistically, I think that is CRAZY RARE. (BIO has a new series starting "Killer Kids". I'm sure some of the kids featured on this show will be the "born bad" kind, but could also be some of the below as well)

    Then there are the kids that are turned bad through neglect or trauma. Outcome for these kids depends on the trauma, the help they are getting, and their own predisposition to resilience (that human factor that can make a person succeed against all odds).

    Then we've got the kids that are born with a mental illness. Again, that resilience factor plays a huge part, but also how well caregivers can reach this child's thought process, or the way I like to think of it, the thought process of the mental illness.

    Then there's the kids who are reacting to their surroundings. in my opinion here you've got the ADHDs, ASDs, APDs, and SIDs. Something in the environment is affecting them, and the haven't eat learned to identify it or how to regulate themselves against it.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    There's always a reason. Here are a few common ones:

    1/abused at home
    2/inherited mental illness or neurological disorder
    3/fetal alcohol syndrome or effects (Mom drank alcohol while pregnant causing organic brain damage in the child)
    4/Other kinds of brain damage
    5/The child was born with quirks and anger and nobody knows why and there is no really good explanation and may never be. Maybe something happened during birth that nobody knows about???

    I have a friend who works in a behavioral classroom full time and has for years and years. She says that the teachers tend to blame the parents, but that they fail to take the diagnosis into consideration or the fact that many of the parents seem like involved, loving parents. She says that the talk about parents in the teacher's lounge offends her so much that she makes excuses to go to her car during breaks (she has a 33 year old son with Asperger's who was one of those "problem children." He is a fine, if "different, young adult)
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You're on the right track... here's my take on it:
    1) trauma - includes anything from neglect/abuse, to things like a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or other major medical issues; these do affect how a child develops, more so the younger the child. Often, this also affects attachment, to varying degrees - and yes, attachment issues are definitely a cause of behavior issues. This also includes prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol.
    2) mental illness - some show up early, others develop over time, I'm not an expert in primary mental illnesses, but do know that, for example, depression is often a secondary issue - develops in school age kidspes when other key issues are not being recognized and handled... and depression in boys often shows up as anger and defiance.
    3) developmental differences - this includes a wide range of dxes, from the pervasive types (Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Aspergers, Downs, etc.), to other common but more "specific" dxes, such as ADHD, Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). These involve some level of "immaturity" as well as frustrations etc. with trying to cope in a world that often works against them.
    4) Sensory issues - listing this separately, because it is often missed. When stuff that most people think of as 'inconsequential" is what drives a specific child around the bend... not having sensory needs met DOES result in behavior problems.
    5) Auditory issues - from hearing problems, to language processing problems (Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)), to other APDs (like auditory figure ground, where the person doesn't filter out background noise, so has trouble "listening" in the classroom or on the playing field, for example). If you can't communicate well - frustration builds fast. And the effort it takes to even try to communicate... often means there isn't much brain power left for "real work". Mental exhaustion is a definite trigger for behavior problems.
    6) Sleep issues. This can be caused by any of the above, or... it may just be a sleep issue (sleep apnea, for example). But running on too little sleep... is enough to cause behavior problems to begin with, and definitely magnifies any other existing problems.

    Those are the ones I've seen... and I've seen enough that I'm no longer sure anyone is actually "born evil"... rather, that things that happen from conception through the stages of child development have a huge impact, and some kids never get the right chance in life.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome.
    You know what? The rest of us wonder the same thing!
    And it's all of the above.
    It is frustrating and fascinating at the same time. Thank you for seeking us out and trusting us.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    She says that the talk about parents in the teacher's lounge offends her so much that she makes excuses to go to her car during breaks (she has a 33 year old son with Asperger's who was one of those "problem children." He is a fine, if "different, young adult)

    Ohh, that's so sad! And it makes me want to wring their holier-than-thou necks.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You and me both! And since her child WENT to that school and was considered a "emotionally disturbed child" she is sure they talked about her plenty, yet more loving, caring parents do not exist. She has been there now for twenty years and the kids adore her and she has such a strong love for her "troubled" kids...many who have undiagnosed mental illnesses or neurological's really sad.
  12. jal

    jal Member

    I can only speak for myself, but in our case I don't think there was an external reason why our difficult child behaved the way that he did, sometimes does. I say that because he has improved so much in his behavior in the last 2 years.

    Our difficult child is our biological child. husband and I have been together for 21 years, married for 13 and difficult child is 9 1/2. He was planned, pregnancy was healthy and he was the best infant. By the time he could walk the trouble started. Couldn't keep daycare, etc. I knew school would be an issue and it was. He's in an alternative program and has blossomed, getting ready to come back to district.

    No stone was unturned in trying to get help. I won't even list the professionals, clinics, test, universities, medications, in-home support we tried. difficult child's life has been beyond stable, two loving, committed parents who are on the same page, living in our own home since before having difficult child, working the same jobs for many years, loving extended family near by and every comfort possible afforded to him.

    Both husband and I are at every PPT, every dr appointment, every sporting event he particpate's in. He is our only child. Why did he/we go through all we went through in the early years? It wasn't because of some external reason, or neglect, it was something going on with difficult child internally, something we tried endlessly to figure out, tried to correct, tried to help.

    With time, a little maturity and a lot of support (we have a great SD, luckily) difficult child has come so far and now does very well, he still has some moments but we are all in a much better place than we used to be. So, no, I don't believe that some kids are just bad, a lot are a product of their environments, but some kids are just very complex because that's who they are.
  13. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I still think even if they are "bad" from the time they are born, it is because something went wrong in development, there is still a reason.

    What that means in terms of treatment? I dont have that answer... unless the cause is found, and even if it is...there may be no help except to keep others safe.

    It is the most sad thing ever.

    In terms of in a classroom for behavior/emotionally disturbed kids, even if there are parenting issues dont assume which came first. Raising a child with severe challenges can hurt parents too. It is really hard for those of us with a ton of resources to do it, I dont know how people with no support do it at all. Especially if they have more than one child. To survive, at times people have to detach to some degree....There will always be more to the story than a teacher can ever know. Just be open and try not to judge. It does not help them in any way.
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    ... even if we can't figure out what that reason is (what conditions they have etc.)

    And frequently, even when we know the dxes, we do not know what "caused" them to be this way.
    A child with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)... has a cause (injury). A child with Downs has a cause (chromosomes). But many things are not that simple for cause-and-effect.
  15. keista

    keista New Member

    I will agree with that, because here is where we can get into the philosophical discussion of what constitutes bad or evil. And do these concepts really exist within the scope of understanding mental health and brain damage issues. And if there is a natural in-born condition that cannot be changed, adjusted or fixed, would that not by it's nature be considered a "born bad" child?

    Anyway, I REALLY don't want to get into that discussion because I can go on all day about it (both sides) But it does make a person stop and think when a question such as OP's is posed.

    And the question that OP avoided asking is how often is it really the parent's fault, and is there any way to tell?
  16. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I would not say 'born bad', but I would say born missing something that causes them to be bad.

    I believe it is natural to crave acceptance. Think of a 2 year old getting praise for coloring only on the paper and not the wall, or picking the right color or using the potty chair. Think of the praise and excitement that goes along with those things. They help to encourage the child to do things that seem to please their parents or get a positive reaction from them.

    When that craving is missing, that is when I think there was something missing from birth. And I think it is the hardest type of child to work with, because helping these kids has to be completely unconventional. You can't reward them with a smile or a clap because it makes no difference.

    So, it is my belief that if a child has that inate craving to please their parents, the reasons for behavior issues stem from either poor parenting (did not get the praise) or a mental health issue, learning disability, or future trauma.
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Keista - good question!

    Partly depends on who is asking... is there any way for a teacher to know if the problem is "parenting"? Not reliably.

    If there were enough money to spend running the right tests on every child, and to investigate the "homelife"... it should in theory be possible to determine which cases are a "parenting" problem. But even then. How many parenting problems are caused by the same issues being in the parent? and the parent not receiving help for their problems?


    To me, it's safer to assume that we are dealing with one of three cases:
    1) a known and accurate list of dxes (don't ask me HOW we know that the list is complete, though...)
    2) partial list of dxes and issues, not quite adding up
    3) no clue on dxes or issues, but we know there's a problem
    And for all of the above... it's always safe to assume that there is more to the picture, and that the case is "complex". (rather than assuming a parenting issue)
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    in my opinion, except in the case of SEVERE abuse and abandonment, such as kids who live in orphanages or end up having three caregivers who don't care about them from infancy on, it isn't the parent's fault and parents are an easy target to blame. Freud in my opinion was very dangerous. His theories, which are still held up today in some countries, have been proven wrong. Even he said science and medicine will probably prove him wrong and it pretty much did.

    Just because a child is a bit spoiled or a parent is a bit strict or a child gets an occaissional slap on the bottom doesn't make a child so damaged that he/she can not function. But if Mom drank while pregnant or got no prenatal care or the baby was a preemie...well, you have other possibilities there. Parents have been a scape goat too long. It is frustrating. I think each and every one of this on THIS board count as very caring, interesting, loving and GOOD mothers, despite having children with various issues. And some really cruppy parents get lucky and have kids who are the a way it's a crapshoot.