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Child/Adolescent Behavior Problems

Behavior Problems is a broad category which includes various behavioral and emotional disorders that affect children, causing them to be difficult to manage and direct. However, many adults who suffer from personality disorders such as passive aggressive, antisocial, borderline, and narcissistic, also have extreme difficulty in managing their lives effectively. Appropriate psychotherapeutic techniques can help reduce such problems.

Behavior problems fall into two major groupings. The first consists of individuals whose behaviors are caused by disorders of affective emotional regulation, especially anxiety and anger. The second group consists of behaviors caused primarily by anxiety and avoidance. Thus, individuals in the first group tend to externalize their problems through inappropriate behaviors, while individuals in the second group tend to internalize their problems.

In children and adolescents, the following disorders are typically found:

I. Externalized behavior problems

     Conduct Disorders

     Oppositional Defiant Disorders (ODD)

     Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD)

     Temper Tantrums


     Smoking, Drug Use, Stealing

     Fire Setting

II. Internalized behavior problems.

     Shyness and Timidity

     Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD)


     Self Injurious Behaviors (SIB)

     Sleep Disturbance

Treatment of these disorders in pre-adults quite often requires the use of emotion expression therapy such as play therapy for children or cathartic therapeutic procedures for adolescents. These procedures will not solve the behavioral problems alone. They must be supplemented by behavior change therapy that helps the child or adolescent to learn new and more effective coping techniques. Behavior therapy (BT), cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), and dialectic behavior therapy (DBT) are usually the most effective methods used. Almost always with children, and sometimes with adolescents, behavioral changes can best be accompolished by helping parents to learn more effective guidance and disciplining techniques to strengthen new and more workable coping behaviors and their children.