Child and Adolescent Behavioral Issues
Childhood behavioral issues can take a toll on the whole family. With the right support, you can become the parent you want to be and help your child develop into their best self.
Does my child need the support of a psychologist?
Most parents can expect that, at times, their children will test limits and struggle to manage their emotions and behaviors. It’s understandable because young people are still learning how to communicate their needs, problem solve and understand expectations across a variety of situations.
Children may act out in response to big emotions, such as when an anxious child has a “fight-or-flight” response and has tantrums or argues in response to an overwhelming situation that they want to avoid or escape. Other children exhibit more defiant behaviors, such as refusing to comply with requests and rules, or other disruptive patterns of oppositional behavior that impact family functioning and relationships.
Here are some common signs your child or adolescent may need the support of a psychologist:
- Often loses temper
- Has difficulty controlling emotions and displays frustration and irritability
- Refuses to comply with requests or household rules
- Often argues with adults
- Has difficulty maintaining friendships due to problematic behaviors
- Disruptive behavior leads to frequent negative parent-child interactions
Seeking independence is a natural part of growing up and, as children try to find their own voice, they often push boundaries in the process. However, some children display consistent disruptive behaviors outside of what is expected. In those circumstances, understanding why the behavior is occurring is the first step in determining a treatment path. For example, some children are defiant when asked to complete chores because they don’t want to disengage from a preferred activity, such as playing video games. Other children may act out during their morning routine because they are feeling anxious about going to school.
As a parent, it can be overwhelming and confusing about how to best respond. With the support of an online child psychologist at Positive Development Psychology, parents can:
- Better understand the causes of their child’s behavior
- Learn to stay calm and consistent
- Develop healthier communication habits
- Set reasonable expectations
- Learn behavior management strategies to address mild behavioral issues or more significant oppositional behavior
Childhood oppositional behavior is sometimes associated with emotional or behavioral issues or difficulties in adjustment in adolescence and young adulthood. It is highly beneficial to be proactive and treat behavioral issues early, rather than take a wait-and-see approach.
For children whose main struggle is noncompliance, Behavioral Parent Training (BPT) is often the suggested intervention. BPT is an evidence-based treatment approach that gives parents or caregivers the tools to deal more effectively with defiant child behavior. This parent-based model teaches parents multiple behavior management skills aimed at increasing wanted and reducing unwanted child behaviors, as well as promoting more positive parent-child interactions.
When appropriate, based on age, ability to engage in treatment and other factors, children or adolescents may also benefit from participating in online therapy. With the support of a psychologist at Positive Development Psychology, they can work on improving emotional awareness and further developing communication, problem-solving, and coping skills to better manage their emotions and behavior.
For more information and to learn how Positive Development Psychology can help you, contact us to speak with a psychologist.