Why Do Children Struggle?

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.


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