In April 2020 researchers from Japan published the results of their study to identify factors that influence children’s problematic behavior, which could be helpful in supporting parents’ child rearing. Difficult children are defined as those whose behavior deviates from the norm, and can be demonstrated as restlessness, violence, and difficulty in separating from the mother. A total of 8,691 children were involved in the study. Information on the child’s problematic behaviour plus individual or environmental information was collected at the child’s 5-year-old health checks. Problematic behaviours were divided into three categories with 2.2% of children being assessed with anxious behaviours, 11.5% developmental behaviours, and 16.1% personal habits. Results showed that behaviours seen in difficult children were not generally influenced by individual factors, eg sex, parental age, birth weight, although birth order and birth abnormality were seen to increase some problematic behaviours. However, environmental factors such as mothers currently smoking, lack of someone to consult about child rearing, and long television-watching time, were also associated with the an increased risk for some problematic behaviours and health providers should be aware of these aggravating factors.
Shimomura G et al. Association between problematic behaviors and individual/environmental factors in difficult children. Brain Dev. 2020 Apr 7. [Epub ahead of print]