Do you find that you have power struggles all the time with your child or teen? Does your child have a lot of anger when told no? Have your child’s teachers been complaining about your child’s compliance or ability to handle conflict with other children? Does your child throw tantrums many times a day?
You are not alone!
All behaviors can be seen as children telling us a story of what is happening on the inside. Children at a young developmental age or with poor verbal communication skills act out their feelings and communicate through their behaviors. Once a child is labeled as a “troubled student” or “bad kid” life can be a downward spiral for the child emotionally, and the challenges of your child getting along with others may seem daunting. There are many reasons why behavior problems exist:
Some behavior problems stem from a child’s lack of understanding of their own emotions and proper ways of dealing with these emotions. At Memorial Child & Family Therapy, we work hard to help parents understand the emotions in their children, help parents understand their own emotions related to their children and be able to identify healthy ways to express these emotions or redirect them towards healthy actions.
Other behavior problems stem from a child’s inability to meet their needs in healthy way s. Sometimes a child needs to be noticed more or needs more nurturing and engagement from adults in their lives. Children are experts at learning ways to meet their emotional needs. However, sometimes children meet their needs in maladaptive ways (i.e. hitting their younger sibling in order to get their parents to notice them). Sometimes a child has other reasons -they want to avoid certain activities the adults are asking them to participate in and will therefore act out aggressively or defiantly in order to not have to participate.
Some children have behavioral problems due to an underlying condition that makes it difficult for them to act appropriately. Children who have anxiety, attachment difficulties, Austism Spectrum Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) generally show behavioral problems as symptoms of these diagnoses. Common behavioral struggles vary between each diagnosis but can include: trouble with transitions, rigidity, meltdowns when not getting their way, anger outbursts, etc.
Many behavior problems can be triggered by negative interaction patterns that have been created between a parent and child. These interaction patterns tend to make the meltdowns worse and escalate emotions quickly instead of helping to resolve the problem. The negative emotions of the child trigger even more intense negative emotions in the parents and vice versa. At the end of these interactions, both the child and the parent feel as if they have lost the battle.
How do we treat behavioral disorders?
We will conduct a thorough assessment of your child’s presenting problems and determine the best course of action for treatment for your child. We provide the following services to treat children with behavioral difficulties:
- Complete and thorough intake sessions covering developmental history, family history and history of the presenting behavioral concerns
- Screening for any underlying issues that can be causing behavioral problems such as ADHD, anxiety, trauma or learning disabilites
- Parent Child Interaction Therapy
- Play therapy
- Parenting education and support
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