Do you have a teen that always seems to defy the rules? You are not alone. In fact, defiant behavior problems are one of the most common reasons youth are referred to mental health services. All children show some signs of conduct and defiance problems at some point in their young lives - its part of testing their independence and establishing their identity. However, these issues can rise to an unhealthy level when they are severe and persist for a long time.
Children can develop conduct and oppositional disorders for a variety of reasons. There is no single cause. Rather, there is often a mix of biology, environment and the presence of other mental health disorders.
Behavior problems are characterized by two disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V): Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and the more severe Conduct Disorder. While these are separate disorders, there seems to be a continuum the exists where children diagnosed with CD were previously diagnosed with ODD at a younger age.
ODD and CD can effectively be addressed through counseling therapy that teach children enhanced skills for controlling thoughts and behaviors. Often causes of these disorders are rooted in family dynamics, which can be addressed using different forms of counseling such as Functional Family Therapy.
If you have questions about defiant behavior or conduct problems in Tallahassee school settings or at home, please call me for a free consultation.
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Terance is a mental health therapist focusing on children and families.