Take Two and Call Me in the Morning

When I meet with parents, the most common question I hear is, "How do I get my child's behavior to stop?!"  As I sit across from them, I hear their frustration and concern about their child's behavior. This is understandable when parents are stressed out about their children along with all the other demands of adult life. The main focus for any child psychologist is, "How do we get our kids to be calm, safe, happy, and instill a sense of guidance away from maladaptive behavior?"

Unfortunately, I have noticed the media does not help parents find a lasting answer to their question. The big pharmaceutical companies can push for an idea of a "quick fix" in commercials and other outlets. The idea of, "Just take this pill and this bad thing will be better." However seductive this idea can be, it does not provide the total solution to a child's struggles. Medication along with psychological treatment is more effective than medication alone. It is critical that parents understand this important concept when their child is struggling in life. 

A more complete psychological treatment would then consist of the parents, child, and child psychologist working together to create a game plan. It would include the identified problem behaviors, implementation of new techniques to increase adaptive behaviors, support systems for the parents, medication management (if necessary), and new knowledge of environmental difficulties that are negatively impacting the child. With this "game plan" in place, there is a greater chance to a more successful outcome, which means a happier child and less stressed parent.