Behavior Problems

Close this page and continue

If a child is described as having behavior problems, it is important to learn more about the exact nature of the behaviors in order to plan appropriate interventions. The term "behavior problems" is too vague to be useful in understanding a particular child. A child's behavior problems may be a result of experiences of trauma, abuse or sexual abuse, or mental retardation. Behavior that is difficult to manage may also be associated with emotional problems or behavioral disorders, such as attention deficit disorder, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or attachment disorder.

While some desirable behavior patterns occur as part of a child's normal development, and only need to be noticed and reinforced by adults, others need to be taught, such as sharing, good manners, empathy, study habits, and behaving in accordance with values. A parent should be familiar with normal development, and the usual stages through which children progress. A pediatrician or family doctor can be a good resource for this information.

As a general rule, it is time to consult a mental health provider if your child's behavior is age-inappropriate, an on-going pattern, and interfering with his or her learning, growth, and social development. Treatment for behavior problems can take many forms. In most cases, behavioral, family, or school-based therapy programs should be considered before the use of medications.

Close this page and continue