Everyone displays problematic behavior at some point, whether it is overreacting to being cut off on the freeway or coping in not-so-healthy ways (e.g., emotional eating). This is especially true for children, since a child’s brain is continuing to grow and does not become fully mature until early adulthood.
Furthermore, although a child may be able to control his or her behavior in some situations, other times, especially when emotionally overwhelmed, the same child may actually be unable to control his or her behavior/reactions. This, although mind boggling and frustrating at times, is completely normal!
On the other hand, there are some child behavior problems that you definitely should not ignore, especially when these problems become habitual or negatively impact a child’s functioning and/or relationships. It is at this point that it is time to seek help. By intervening early, you have a chance at eliminating the behavior before the problem escalates and/or has significant consequences.
Regardless of the child behavior problems you are facing in your home, there is hope! A child’s brain has amazing capacities for growth and change. Furthermore, caregivers and other adults are vital partners in helping a child develop healthy coping skills and the ability to re...
So, your child is having behavior problems. They might be displaying a range of behavioral concerns. Are they being disrespectful? Talking back to you, hitting, kicking, lying? Working with caregivers who are navigating children’s behavioral problems is something I have run into a lot.
I have worked for several years at a child and family outpatient clinic and met a lot of exhausted, angry, confused parents. There is nothing worse than having no idea what is going on with your child while feeling completely responsible to help them.
What do you do when your child is inconsolable? Or when they are reacting seemingly out of the blue and becoming aggressive toward you, themselves, or others? What do you do when your child won’t listen? What are we to think when our children are simply non-compliant?
If I had to choose one word as the most important word a parent would associate with behavior problems in children, it would be this: interpretation. Why, you may ask? Because, behavior is 90% about how we interpret it (why we think it’s happening, what control we think our child has over stopping it or not, how we think doing that behavior makes the child feel, ect). We think. We assume. Bringing your child and yourself into therapy is ...
As I think about some of the families that I have worked with and even my own family, one thing that has always been consistent is the formation of family rules, values, and norms. Christian families will often use the Bible as a guide for creating their values, which also includes ideas around what it looks like to raise their children.
The Bible talks quite a bit about families. Families in the Bible traveled together (the children of Israel), went through hardships (Noah and his family on the Ark), experienced betrayal (Cain and Abel), and were sometimes completely torn apart by tragedy (remember Job?).
I believe God knew that families would be searching for examples and answers to make it through their own family struggles, so He included many real life stories in the Bible. The Bible gives specific instructions to parents on how they should raise their children in some areas, but other areas seem to be a little less clear.
What does the Bible say, if anything, about counseling? Did anyone receive counsel from wise people? The Bible includes many incidents where someone is gaining wisdom or knowledge from a trusted person, often directly from God through a chosen person (I am reminded of Paul's letters to the church).
I think Christians everywhere would agree that...
The reasons and causes for a child to be prone to angry outbursts are too numerous to discuss in one article. Children are born with different innate dispositions, may be dealing with a disability that constantly frustrates them, or may be reacting to a dramatic change to their life. These are some examples of life factors that result in an angry child who is difficult to manage.
Having an approach specific to the particular cause is an important consideration when dealing with anger management for kids. However, we can find some universal parenting principles in the Bible that are necessary ingredients for helping children develop coping skills to function in the world.
In my 20 years in working with families, a common theme I have found with children and teenagers with anger problems is inconsistent parenting. A lot of permissive parents focus on being connected to their child, but shift to be controlling in a crisis. Conversely, authoritarian parents don’t know how to be positively connected to their kids when things are going well and provide little support toward autonomy.
Many parents shift back and forth between the two styles inconsistently, leaving the child without stable boundaries to figure things out. The result is that the child is constantly frustrated t...
Do you remember what emotions you felt on the first day of middle school? How about something a little more recent, like your first day of work at a new job? Maybe by now the scary thoughts and fear you had then are no longer part of your memory because they were fairly normal responses to what was happening that day, but can you imagine what it would be like if those feelings were a part of you all the time, even when they do not make sense?
What if you were a young child trying to go to school every day or to a friend’s birthday party on the weekend, but fear made it difficult for you go?
Perhaps you are the parent of a child struggling with anxiety and you're wondering exactly what is happening inside of their mind and body when they think about a social setting. It can be hard for everyone when a child in the family is experiencing anxiety symptoms, but even harder when their school teacher or their best friend doesn’t understand what is going on and they are not supportive of their emotional needs.
Teachers often do not know what is happening with the child and they can underestimate the effects of anxiety on the student and their peers. Teachers can mistake anxiety for many other things and sometimes do not have the knowledge yet on how to recognize anxiety in ...
What is ADHD?
The fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5) lists Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD) / Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a “Neuro-developmental Disorder” and refers to it as a neurological disease. It notes that it is not only found in children, but in adolescents and adults.
The DSM-5 states that “individuals with ADHD may present with both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity, or one symptom pattern may predominate … Three presentations of ADHD are commonly referred to: combined-type, inattentive-type and hyperactive/impulsive-type … the appropriate presentation of ADHD should be indicated based on the predominant symptom pattern for the last six months.”
Summarizing the DSM-5’s description of ADHD, the ADHD Institute defines it as “a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development, has symptoms presenting in two or more settings (e.g. at home, school, or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities), and negatively impacts directly on social, academic, or occupational functioning. Several symptoms must have been present before age 12 years.”
The National Institute of Men...
Hello there! If you’ve found your way here, you’re probably looking for some support for your little one at home. Maybe there are some behavioral issues your child is showing, or maybe they seem to be just stuck in the blues and unable to play like some of their peers can.
First of all, this can be a scary and sad thing as a parent to see your kiddo not shining the way you know they can. I want to praise you just for finding your way here and taking the first steps towards finding help for your child and your family. That shows a tremendous amount of strength and will go far towards getting the help you’re looking for.
Now, how can a child counselor help and what does child therapy actually look like?
One of the most formative sessions I’ve ever had with a child ended up with me being spat on. Twice. I was seeing this six-year-old boy with divorced parents and two sisters with major behavioral issues of their own. Put simply, their home life was very chaotic. I had been working with this family for close to a year, and I was winding down my time as a clinical intern at this site.
In order to ease the transition for this family, I wanted to give them ample notice I was leaving, so I informed the boy and his mother that I would be leaving in a couple of...