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If you have a child with serious behavior problems, you are
exhausted and desperate for answers.
And probably scared, too.
I don't blame you one bit. Parenting is challenging enough when things
go mostly right, but when a child decides to go down a difficult path
the results can be tremendously painful for the entire family.
What to do with a child with very serious behavior problems.
Let's start out by defining what are possible serious behavior problems.
- Drug and alcohol use.
- Sexual promiscuity.
- Violent behavior - towards themselves or others.
- Threatening or intimating behavior.
- Severe change in school grades or school behavior.
- Running away.
- Criminal activity.
- Continual defiance (click here for a helpful article on the topic.)
Obviously, these are not all the problems a child with serious behavior
problems might have, but it is an important list. If you recognize your
child on this list, what do you do now?
First of all, you might want to consider a professional evaluation.
Absolutely, if you have a child threatening violence either against
themselves or someone else, you need to get help for the child
immediately. The police, clergy, or physicians are some people who can
help you find the exact help your child needs.
Secondly, taking a homelife inventory can be helpful. What I mean by
that is observing your homelife and family members objectively for a
set period of time to get an accurate picture of what is going on in
your daily routine. For example, keep a log of arguments, disrespectful
behavior, what the circumstance were that precipitated problems, etc.
This can give you a place to start connecting the threads of cause and
effect in your child and family.
Resources for a child with very serious behavior problems.
As a parent, you are probably going to need outside assistance to
improve your homelife situation. Welcome this help and use it to its
fullest. Resources range from counseling, self-help parenting systems
and professionally designed parenting courses, all the way to boarding
and military schools. Obviously, only you can decide what is right for
your child and his challenges. Honestly, getting a handle on your
child's behavior problems may take a combination of solutions, so
don't be surprised if one "fix" isn't enough.
Talk to other parents online or offline and find out what others did in
similar circumstances. No two families or children or parenting styles
are identical, so while you will need to be willing to customize your
own solutions, still, finding camaraderie with others who have gone
this route before you will help tremendously.
Don't hesitate to change schools or friends if you believe those
things are a part of your child's problems. Certainly, a child must
come to recognize and own her part in her behavioral problems.
Nonetheless, children are immature and need influences of excellence
combined with strong structure and making changes to improve your
child's environment just makes sense if the situation is severe. Mom or
Dad, you're going to have to get even more determined than your child
is in order to work this through. Take heart! You can do it.
Along these same lines, make sure you are spending adequate amounts of
time together as a family simply enjoying each other's company. This
can be very difficult if a child in the family has severe behavior
problems and is acting out regularly. In conjunction with using other
resources, you may have to work into family time gradually, but you
will know you have made significant progress when your troubled child
actively looks forward to family time.
The most important thing to keep in mind when dealing with a child
with very serious behavior problems is do not wait to take action.
Ignoring the problems, hoping they are a phase, avoiding the challanges
in front of you is only going to make the situation worse in the long
Take a deep breath, pray and start looking for resources - today - that
can start your family back on the road to health and joy.
For additional insights, read this related article - The Oppositional, Defiant Teen: How James Lehman
tackles the toughest behavior disorder (Excerpted from Transform Your
If you want to know what parenting program I can recommend that helps
parents with struggling kids, that would be The Total Transformation program, hands down. Part
of why this program works is because it supports parents extremely
Consequences in elementary
school for bad behavior
Common behavioral problems in
Behavior problems in school age
Teenage behavior modification
Behavior modification in children
Behavior modification strategies
Remember, I am giving you my thoughts as a long time parent, not as a
therapist. This website does not dispense professional, medical, or
Please consult a qualified professional about your own situation.
Colleen Langenfeld is a mother with over 29 years of parenting experience and helps other busy moms around the globe at www.paintedgold.com.
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