angry child
Behavior disorders (sometimes referred to as disruptive behavior disorders) are among the most common reasons children are referred for mental health treatment. While it is typical for children and adolescents to have the occasional “bad day” and to sometimes appear moody and argumentative, behavior disorders are characterized by persistent patterns of disruptive or oppositional behavior that are frequently directed at adults and have been present for a period of at least six months.

Warning signs of behavior disorders may include:

  • frequent temper tantrums
  • arguments with adults
  • annoyance at adults and peers
  • regularly questioning rules; refusal to follow rules
  • behavior intended to annoy or upset others, including adults
  • blaming others for misbehaviors or mistakes
  • aggressive or destructive conduct
  • a disregard for the rights of others
  • stealing, lying, bullying to get something
  • refusal to comply with adult requests
  • angry and hostile attitudes
  • academic problems and difficulty maintaining friendships

Interventions for behavior disorders often focus on helping families to develop more effective strategies for managing oppositional and disruptive behaviors. Research indicates that early intervention can result in marked improvement in the quality of a child’s life by helping to disrupt patterns of defiance and negativity that may influence school performance and relationships with family and peers.

Along with other types of treatment, the Child Anxiety Center offers Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), behavioral parent training, and Raising Your Challenging Child Class.