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Oppositional Behavior in Children & Teens – What Can Parents Do?

Is your child experiencing a behavioral issue that is affecting not only their happiness but also their success?

The common behavioral issues include disruptive behaviors, oppositional defiance, aggressive behavior, and conduct disorders. Within these behavioral issues, it is not uncommon for children to argue, be uncooperative and aggressive, and defy parents or teachers. This behavior is more likely when the child is overwhelmed or stressed. When angry or hostile behavior persists and leads to problems at home, school, or with friends, there may be a more serious issues. It is important to help children to put an end to negative behaviors first and foremost for the wellbeing, safety, and happiness of themselves, friends, family, and peers. Working to reduce negative behaviors is crucial for the development of a happy, self-sufficient, and successful adult. Appropriate expectations of self and others, as well as healthy and appropriate forms communication, are what set people up for success as they grow older.

It is not uncommon to let negative behaviors persist before seeking help. Unfortunately, once these negative behaviors begin to increase, the features and attitudes become more ingrained if not treated. Its important to understand that the longer a behavioral issue persists, often the longer it will take to be treated, and the more complex treatment can become.  It is not uncommon for behavioral issues to be tied to other issues. Being in the midst of this external behavior can sometimes make caregivers want to throw their hands up and scream, “THIS BEHAVIOR IS UNACCEPTABLE.” While this is probably true, behavior issues often co-occur with other issues such as anxiety or depression. Children typically have low emotional regulation skills early in life, and when a large sum of emotions are hitting them at once, it can be natural for kids to act out.

While your child is the person that is exhibiting the external inappropriate behavior, it has been found that the communication and lifestyle that a parent is holding for themselves and the child, may be a big factor when it comes to the child’s psychological wellbeing and behavior. GroundWork Counseling treats a variety of psychological issues, whether they involve anxiety, depression, mood, and or relationships, using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). When it comes to treating behavioral issues, GroundWork often utilizes Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), a variant of CBT. While CBT looks into the thought, feeling, behavior model, DBT is a principle-based treatment that is applicable to many levels of behavioral issues (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology). DBT also focuses on teaching caregivers and children mindfulness skills, interpersonal effectiveness skills, emotion regulation skills, and distress tolerance skills. These tactics involve accepting situations and behaviors as they are, as well as looking to the future of what is possible when behaving and living more respectfully.

At GroundWork Counseling, we work with children ages 3-18 displaying negative behaviors; we’re here to help.


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GroundWork Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
341 N Maitland Ave #330
Maitland, FL 32751


411 Congress St #3292
Portland, ME 04101

Burlington, VT 05043

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