Pushing the ‘Mental Brakes’ of Impulsive Children

Parents are often taken aback by their child’s sudden emotional outbursts and unbalanced decisions and it is usually the mother who has to manage an uncontrollable child. First and foremost, we need to understand that such impulsive behaviour is a brain-based condition and not a result of bad parenting. Impulsiveness in children is closely associated with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) which can be dealt by seeking professional help from doctors or teachers who manage your child’s symptoms and build on strengths.

Impulsive kids have trouble following rules and do not stop to think before they act. They often land up doing unsafe things and may interrupt or blurt out something they shouldn’t. You may also notice such a child doing silly, inappropriate things for attention or overreacting to disappointment, criticism or mistakes. Such children are aggressive and their aggression can be seen the way they grab things or push when in line and they may resort to kicking or biting as well. They always want to have the first turn and the last word. While doing any or all of the above, these kids do not understand how their behaviour affects others nor do they understand the consequences of their actions. It is important that we access the situation and help our children push their ‘mental brakes’ before it is too late.

As a mother, how can you help your child? Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Learn and observe your child. Keep track of his behavioural patterns and make notes. These notes will be helpful for you and the professional to diagnose and work on your child.
  2. Point out unwanted behaviour calmly to your child in private by showing how and where he went wrong. You may suggest a better response or reaction rather than the impulsive one.
  3. Praise good behaviour at all times. Your child may be putting in genuine efforts to change his behaviour. He will be disheartened if they goes unnoticed, so let him know of the positive effects, how happy it makes you and discuss how he feels about it as well.
  4. Connect with other parents and you will come across people facing similar issues and gain from their experience. You will find good support and advice from them as well.
  5. Get professional advice as it will not only benefit your child but help you deal with this issue as well.

Always remember that your child is not doing things on purpose nor are his impulsivity issues because of anything you have or haven’t done. These are due to his uncontrollable brain condition which you can help him gain control over, at least up to some extent. Knowing what has been causing the issue shall make it easier for you to strategize and find the right treatment for him.

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