Risk Factors of Behavior Summary

Risk Factors of Behavior Summary

ECE 201: Intro to Early Childhood Behavior Management

Risk Factors of Behavior

In the read this week we have learned that there are different risk factors which determines, that I identify three risk factors that will impact behaviors. There are various aspects in everyone’s life even a child’s which may impact a child’s behavior these aspects are called risk factors. Risk factors do not control an outcome but can help predict an increase risk to help to avoid challenging behavior. In the beginning identify the three risk factors I will inform you on how each of the three factors impact behaviors.

The first risk factor is genes and it influences behavior. Research indicated that genes do have an impact on behavior in some cases. According to Kaiser & Sklar Rasminsky (2012) studies have indicated that antisocial behavior between 40 to 50 percent heritable and begins early in a child’s life (Chapter 2). Genes also have an impact on how parents raise their children as well as how children react to other and actions of others.

The second risk factor is substance abuse during pregnancy that influences behavior. Substances that are take in during pregnancy can do a great deal of harm to a developing fetus. Risk of harm to the fetus depends on what the substance is that it being used by the pregnant mother and in what stage of development the fetus is in. The length of the use and how often the fetus is exposed plays a role on the risk of harm to the fetus.

For example, take cocaine for instance problematic results pertaining to harm, if any, that may be caused to the developing fetus. Veira et al. (2014) stated that children who were prenatally exposed to cocaine have at a significant risk for having behavioral problems. Cocaine influences brain regions that are linked to the process of affect and behavior (Pg. 2). Although the findings have been studied and founded, there are current studies that have conflicting results that found no association to externalizing problems with prenatal cocaine use. Cigarette and tobacco use has also been studied and is found to pose a risk of harm to the fetus. Kaiser & Sklar Rasminsky (2012) stated that prenatal cigarette and tobacco use puts a child at risk for aggressive and disruptive behavior as it has effect on the developing nervous system when the nicotine crosses the placenta (Chap. 2).

The last risk factor is environmental that influences behavior. Virtually everything in a child’s environment may put him or her at probable risk for challenging behavior. There are many environmental aspects such as parenting style, poverty level, neighborhood, peers, and so many more that be a potential risk factor. When parents are not available to their children unpredictable or perhaps insensitive or rejecting children tend to have an insecure attachment which leads to difficulties with getting along with others and challenging behavior.

According to Wakschlag & Keenan (2001) finances, neighborhood, and peers can all be viewed as life stressors and increase challenging behavior in toddlers and children (Pg. 267). Since these aspects add stress to children it may, like other things increase behavior. Stress always seems to have negative effects on adults as well as children and this stress reflects on the behavior of children.

Now that we are aware of a few risk factors in which influence behavior we need to identity strategies that teachers can use to support the process of changing or replacing behaviors. Punishment does not appear to be effective for the long run so let try a positive, support and encouragement. A teacher should have knowledge of both the child’s risk and support factors. We as teachers can help strengthen the child’s support factors and this may cause some dilution to the risk factors. A parent being more sensitive and available to a child may help the child cope with challenges and stress. This has a positive effect on behavior if stress levels are decreased.

Even though there are many risk factors that influence behavior, I have noted a few that were introduced in this week’s lesson throughout this paper. The three risk factors that I have discussed that influence behavior are genes, prenatal substance abuse, and environmental. I have described as well as discussed how they may influence behavior. I have also stated a few strategies that a teacher can use to support the process of changing and replacing behaviors. Strengthening support factors is a positive approach in helping to change behaviors.


Kaiser, B. & Sklar Rasminsky, J. (2012). Challenging behavior in young children. (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc.

Veira, Y., Finger, B., Schuetze, P., Colder, C. R., Godleski, S., & Eiden, R. D. (2014). Child behavior problems: Role of cocaine use, parenting, and child exposure to violence. Psychology Of Violence, doi:10.1037/a0036157. Retrieved May 19, 2014, from EBSCOhost database.

Wakschlag, L. S., & Keenan, K. (2001). Clinical Significance and Correlates of Disruptive Behavior in Environmentally At-Risk Preschoolers. Journal Of Clinical Child Psychology30(2), 262-275. Retrieved may 19, 2014, from EBSCOhost database.

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