Parents who ask “why is my 5 year old acting out all of a sudden” usually are shocked by the challenging behaviour.
Children go through a variety of developmental challenges. It’s not uncommon for them to have a sudden change of behaviour when they are approaching these important milestones.
Your first step is to understand if your child is going through any important milestones that may have normal disruptive behaviour.
Child Acting Out For Attention
Usually, parents have a common understanding of what ‘acting out’ actually refers to but there is no clinically documented description for it. This expression usually refers to when your child is either:
- Physically aggressive towards you or a peer
- Destructive to his or someone else property
- Verbally aggressive towards you or someone else
- Or shows behaviour that is more severe and long-lasting than normal tantrums or meltdowns.
Acting out usually requires longer-lasting discipline techniques but to understand which techniques work we have to first understand why your child acts out in the first place.
Reasons Children ‘Act Out’
Usually, children that act out are doing it because of deep pain or discomfort. They are expressing themselves verbally or non verbally and this behaviour usually follows a pattern. Pain, fear or abandonment are a common reason why children act out.
If we don’t get to the bottom of the issue we can end up making things worse as blaming the child for the disruptive outburst wil not solve the underlying issue.
These reasons are usually not on the surface and will require a very close look at your child behaviour at home and with t others outside the home.
The most difficult part is finding the correct way to deal with the reactions to this type of behaviour as a child that is having a meltdown or tantrum is very hard to manage.
This makes it even more difficult to find the root cause of disruptive behaviour.
Why Is My 5 Year Old Acting Out All Of A Sudden: 5 Common Reasons
1. Environmental pressure
Children use anger as a defensive mechanism. This means that when you encounter disruptive behaviour you should start to think outside of the box and not let the current reason for disobedience cloud your vision.
Children will respond to unsettling and negative behaviour by deflecting it into other people. This is very accurately shown when a child gets bullied.
If your child is being bullied or harassed at school for example then they will deflect that negativity onto you at home.
Conversely, if they are being tormented, bullied or abused at home they can turn into bullies at school to try to find a place to vent their emotions. This is a common response to anger, guilt, fear and pain so it’s important you start to look more closely at his environmental pressures.
2. Mental health
Some children will start to ‘act out’ all of a sudden because of untreading mental conditions. These conditions may have been lying dormant until a recent activity or behaviour pattern has forced them to explode.
Other times they have always been apparent but have not been noticed by the parent or caregiver.
Some of the more common Mental conditions are
- ADHD – attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
- Anxiety Disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders
It’s important to note that if you do think that your child may be suffering from any more serious medical health conditions that you get a professional diagnosis as soon as possible.
Most Mental disorders can be effectively treated with a variety of therapy and treatments.
3. Sensory Issues
Some children may have sensory issues causing them to suddenly ‘Act Out’. This is especially the case for unrecognised autism that may affect your child’s sights and sounds which can be a very painful process.
A good example of this is ana cute autism that distorts sounds or amplifies particular sounds (chairs screeching against the floor, car’s honking etc) IF this is a condition that your child suffers from it can be very difficult to stay calm in many everyday situations.
4. Learning Disabilities
Dyslexia is a learning disability that impacts your ability to read or interpret letters, symbols and most words. This tends to impact many children in a big way as they are constantly learning new information at home and at school
If this disorder is not cured it can be very difficult for your child to cope in everyday learning which is the main reason for disruptive behaviour and acting out.
One of the most common reasons for children acting out all of a sudden is to get attention. Children are very smart and can be creative to get attention from you. They will try and get this attention in any way they can if they feel that you are not fulfilling their needs.
Attention can be given for both positive and negative activity and for most children who act out they have realised that they actually get more attention from negative behaviour then they do from positive.
This is a very simple fix and involves you ignoring the negative callings for attention and focus more on healthy positive praise. This can be as simple as rewarding positive behaviour on a daily or weekly basis and continually giving more attention to good behaviour your child shows you
At its core answering the questions “why is my 5 year old acting out all of a sudden” can be answered by knowing that children act out as a means of communication.
Whether there is something that needs to changed in their environment, a mental, sensory or learning disorder that needs to be identified or simple a calling for attention, your child is letting you know that something isn’t right.