Childhood Behavior Issues - Hilo, HI - Stephanie Dodge, PhDAre You Worried About Your Child’s Behavior in School and at Home?

• Is your child frequently getting into fights or conflicts with other children or even adults?
• Does every little thing – from chores to homework to bedtime – seem to be a challenge with your child?
• Do you feel as though your child doesn’t listen?
• Are you worried about your child’s future because of his or her behavior?
• Do you wish you could have a connected, nurturing relationship with your child in which he or she listens and respects your rules and boundaries?

Children present different kinds of behavioral issues at different ages. If your child is preschool or kindergarten age, you may be concerned that you can’t comfortably leave him or her in school without the fear that he or she will act out and even hurt others. Perhaps your child has already been expelled from preschool for kicking, hitting or biting. You may feel exhausted by your child’s tantrums and overwhelmed with dread when you wake up in the morning. Maybe your child’s behavior fills you with guilt and shame, especially in public, and you feel stuck in your house.

If your child s a little older, maybe you feel as though everything you ask him or her to do becomes a fight. He or she may refuse to wake up in the morning, stall when asked to get ready to get out the door or leave messes all over the house, making you late for your own responsibilities. Maybe you spend your day dreading the inevitable call from school. You may feel as though you have no time or emotional space for yourself. Perhaps you find yourself giving in to your child’s misbehavior because you just don’t know what to do anymore. You may worry that others think you are a bad parent, or even sometimes fear that maybe you are doing something wrong.

Many Children Struggle With Behavioral Issues

It is very common for children to resist completing chores or doing homework. Almost all children don’t listen at times, and some developmental stages present more challenges than others. All children have to learn how to do things they don’t want to as they grow up. It is normal for parents to worry about their children’s success in the future. And, most parents wonder if they are doing something wrong. No matter how much pain and frustration you are feeling, you are not alone.

For some children, following rules or listening can be especially challenging. Some children are tougher, more stubborn and more determined to have their own way. Often, these kids are the ones who will grow up to be strong and savvy, and become adults who do well in fields such as business and politics. Parents with tough kids often need a little extra guidance and support, and there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Thankfully, there are ways to help your child do well in school and increase harmony and communication in your home.

Counseling for Behavioral Issues Can Help Your Child Succeed Now and in the Future

Therapy is very effective in helping children resolve behavioral issues. In my six years of specializing with especially tough children, I have found that it is never too early to bring your child to counseling. In fact, the younger your child is, the quicker we can work together to nip behavioral issues in the bud and prevent your child from becoming labeled by teachers and peers. And, although you may doubt your parenting skills, know that seeking help shows your concern and desire to give your child everything he or she needs to do well in life. You can help your child learn the tools to succeed now and lay the groundwork for success in the future.

In sessions, I will work much like a coach. Younger children will have fruitful opportunities to play and practice obeying parental demands. I can help older children learn important self-management skills. Children in elementary school or junior high often need to learn how to control anger, calm down and learn to change their thoughts to manage their moods and behavior. I will also work directly with you, the parents, to help you learn the best ways to manage behavioral issues. We will work together so that you feel equipped to respond to complicated and challenging situations.

As a parent myself, I know what it is like to wonder if you are doing things right. With help and support, you can help your child begin to cooperate at home and in school. No matter how difficult your child may seem, know that there is hope for change. In fact, I find that the more challenging a child’s behaviors are and the harder he or she works to seek negative attention, the more I can help turn those behaviors around. With guidance, you can feel hope and optimism for your child’s future. And, you can enjoy being a parent again.

You may feel as though your child can benefit from counseling for behavioral issues, but still have questions or concerns…

I don’t have time to bring my child to counseling.

The time you spend in therapy is an investment in your child’s well-being, in addition to the well-being of your entire family. You likely already spend so much time trying to resolve tantrums or simply convince your child to do what you ask. A counseling session can take much less time than the average tantrum, and you can learn important techniques to prevent and resolve tantrums and other conflicts in the future. In addition, the skills you learn in therapy can help you improve the quality of the time you spend with your child.

If these sessions are just between my child and me, how will it help my child in school?

Research, along with my experience, shows that when a child’s behaviors improve in the home, that improvement also spills over into school. If counseling does not improve your child’s overall behavior, there is likely something amiss in the school environment. During our time in counseling, I am happy to reach out to the school and communicate with teachers if it seems as though that will help.

We have many adults living in our house. Are we all going to have to come to counseling?

Only one guardian has to commit to attend all of the counseling sessions, but all others are invited to join. It can be highly beneficial for your child if every guardian attends about half or one-third of our sessions. If they cannot, it is important that those guardians also agree to stay out of the realm of discipline while your child is in counseling in order to avoid sending mixed or confusing messages.

If you feel worried and defeated by your child’s behavioral issues, counseling can help you and your child connect again. I invite you to call (808) 747 3445 for a free 15-20-minute phone consultation to ask any questions you may have about child counseling and my practice. You can also contact me for a screener that lists many common behavioral issues.

Other Information:

Help your Keiki:  Disruptive

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy:  For Parents

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Fighting And Biting

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Stealing in Children and Adolescents

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Lying and Children

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Oppositional Defiant Disorder

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Physical Punishment

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Video Games and Children: Playing with Violence