Childhood Misbehavior

Often parents seek psychiatric treatment for children and adolescents who demonstrate significant behavioral problems. Parents may feel overwhelmed by the challenges they face in dealing with these behaviors. Children with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) show varying degrees of resistance and hostility toward parents and authority figures. Symptoms may include temper tantrums, talking back, general disobedience and spitefulness. This may progress into conduct disorder, which is a persistent pattern of more serious behaviors, such as fighting, stealing, the destruction of property, and sometimes even cruelty towards animals.

Treatment for behavioral problems begins with a complete psychiatric workup to determine whether there are underlying disorders that may require treatment, such as anxiety, ADHD, and depression. Once an accurate diagnosis is made, treatment usually involves a combination of interventions, which include parent-child interactive therapy, individual therapy for the child, and effective parent training to teach necessary skills and strategies.