children struggle

Why Do Children Struggle?

There are many reasons children struggle and misbehave. It is important to try to understand because if you know the reasons they are having trouble with their behavior you’re more likely to use the right interventions.

Sometimes children or teens misbehave because of other reasons, such as underlying emotional or neurological problems (ADD, depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, etc.)

Between 10-20% of kids have an emotional or learning problem that interferes with their ability to manage their behavior. It is very common for parents who take my course to have one of these children. Clearly, they are more difficult to parent. For that reason, I will go into depth on this issue. For those parents whose children do not have any of these problems, it is a good time to light candles at church and be thankful (or be thankful in any way that best fits).

Here are some common reasons:


When a child gets little positive attention they will seek negative attention. Any attention is better than no attention at all. Attention from parents is critical to the development of a child’s sense of themselves and their self-esteem. Without significant attention from parents, they flounder.


Some children misbehave as a way to rule the nest. When parents are too controlling or they allow the child to be too manipulative power issues come into play. Overcontrolling parents breed oppositional behavior in kids. At the same time, if you are a wimp and the child can get his or her way by whining, yelling or screaming you give them power they are more than willing to take. When in doubt, firm and kind is the rule to follow.


Some kids misbehave as a way to get out of doing things. If they can appear helpless (to clean their room or do the dishes) and the parent buys into it, the helplessness gives them a powerful tool to escape work. Try to never allow a child to get out of doing their responsibilities through feigning helplessness.


Some kids are never taught to behave in an acceptable way. Their parents have the idea that their child is born knowing how to be socially appropriate and they abdicate their parental role as a teacher.

Depression is a common emotional problem in children and teenagers. It is characterized by:

  • prolonged periods of sadness,
  • irritability,
  • poor concentration and memory,
  • loss of motivation or interest,
  • marked increase or decrease in sleep,
  • marked decreased or increased appetite,
  • low energy,
  • feelings of helplessness, hopelessness or worthlessness,
  • a tendency to only think negative thoughts, and
  • suicidal thoughts (often not expressed to anyone)

Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD) are also often overlooked in children and teens and may cause lifelong problems when it is overlooked or misdiagnosed. Many people still think that ADD is just a fad or something that kids outgrow. Yet, when ADD is left untreated it causes serious life problems. For example:

  • 35% of people with ADD never finish high school
  • 43% of boys with ADD will be arrested for a felony by the time they’re 16
  • 52% of people with ADD will have drug or alcohol problems
  • 75% of people with ADD have relationship problems as children and adults

Many people think that ADD is just an excuse for poor grades or bad behavior. Teachers and parents often tell kids with ADD that if only they would try harder they’d do better. Unfortunately, that is not true. In fact, the harder people with ADD try, the worse it gets. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is the most common learning problem among children, teens, and adults. It affects more than 17 million Americans.

At Amen Clinics, we can help you and children loved ones suffering from behavioral issues. If you are ready to help a loved one, give us a call at 1-888-288-9834 or click here to ask a question.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Bob Prichard says:

    Restricted chest expansion can also cause children to struggle, not only at school but also in their self-esteem, self-confidence and social relations. The brain uses 10X more oxygen than any other part of the body, so any restrictions in the expansion of the stomach, diaphragm or chest will affect the brain first and foremost by reducing brain oxygen. While exercise is helpful, children cannot exercise at night when the brain needs oxygen the most.

    Parents of children who struggle should measure the resting circumference of their child’s stomach, diaphragm and chest, and then measure the amount of expansion after blowing out all their air and taking in a deep breath. Then divide the amount of expansion by each circumference to get their breathing ranges. Optimum breathing ranges are 15% of each circumference. A 30″ chest should expand 4.5″.

    Many things can chronically restrict a child’s breathing ranges, such as wearing a heavy backpack to school every day, a bout of bronchitis or pneumonia, allergies, blows to the chest or stomach during sports, belly flops into a pool, texting, playing video games, chronic slouching, excessive push-ups or sit-ups, over-bearing or abusive parents or siblings, obesity, and surgery to the trunk.

    After we doubled the breathing ranges of young, competitive swimmers in our swim camps, they not only reduced their swim times up to 17%, but they also improved their grades up to a full letter grade. As we released the tension and microfibers that were restricting their chest expansion, they recalled carrying a heavy backpack to school every day.

    A college student who struggled so much in school that he was put on Ritalin went from a C+ average in an entry level college to transferring to a full university where he graduated with straight A’s in two majors and two minors after we doubled his chest expansion from 2″ to 4″, which increased his vital capacity from 3.22 liters to 4.3 liters. As we released the microfibers and tension that were restricting his chest expansion, he recalled carrying a heavy backpack to school every day. He later calculated that he carried a total of 21,400 lbs. from 1st to 12th grade.

    Psychologists who tested a group of runners before and after we doubled their breathing ranges found impressive improvements in self-confidence, self-esteem, self-control, perseverance, affiliation, nurturance, personal adjustment and dominance, with equally large drops in defensiveness, deference, abasement and sympathy seeking.

    Oxygen is the brain’s most vital nutrient. Low oxygen is also associated with obesity, diabetes, depression, and anxiety–all of which are at an all-time high among children and teens. Parents of children who struggle should measure their breathing ranges to see is low oxygen is exacerbating their problems.

    • Heather says:

      How do we increase expansion of lungs?

    • Sarah Hinton says:

      I believe you! It wasn’t until I was in College I started taking a Life Guarding class, and had to experience holding my breath and swimming for long distances that I realized I was getting bette, emotionally and mentally. My grades in College did improve after that semester, and it wasn’t until recently, after reading your comments that I realized you could be right! Thank you for your thoughts!

  2. Maria says:

    I enjoy reading your information


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Talk to our care coordinators today!

Have a Question?