“Bad behavior” in a child is usually driven by legitimate internal needs and less often by “bad seed”. Parents (and teachers) can most effectively work to change a child’s difficult behaviors by attending to what is driving the behavior. For example, anxiety in a child – particularly a boy – can drive him to agitated behavior. In fact, many boys who are diagnosed ADHD have anxiety that goes unnoticed, and which they don’t know how to manage.
Research has shown that the most effective treatment for children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (now, don’t go diagnosing your child) is to provide parenting tools. As parents move toward increasing emotional connection as well as structure for a child, these behaviors – and the possible diagnosis – can disappear or diminish.
Some children who are “difficult children” are actually highly intelligent or highly creative. Given an opportunity to harness their creative energy into something positive and productive, they can move on to be more than successful…they can be leaders and entrepreneurs who create a positive legacy. But it takes commitment and perseverance (and a willingness to look at your part) as parents. Don’t give up on your problem child! Consider making an appointment to see how therapy can help.