Destructive Behaviors

Example unwanted behaviors may include: self-harm, aggression, overeating, compulsions, impulsivity, disruptive interpersonal relationships, violence, abuse

One of the most troublesome types of destructive behaviors in children is self-harm or self-injury. Depending on their age, those who engage in self-harm might cut themselves on purpose, burn their skin, punch or hit things to purposely experience pain, stick objects in their skin, bang their heads against the wall or engage in other activities that people typically find painful. The reasons many engage in this behavior are complex, but can be due to underlying emotional pain, frustration, anger or sadness.

Aggression in children is often ignored until it becomes destructive. Aggressive behaviors include physical actions like destroying property, attacking other children, verbal actions like taunting others or a combination of physical and verbal actions, like bullying. Children who engage in these behaviors are, more often than not, seeking attention or venting their frustrations in the only way they know how. Evaluating the severity of aggressive behavior is somewhat dependent on the age of the child. An evaluation by a mental health professional can help determine the root cause of this type of behavior and provide measures to prevent it from escalating.