Is your child’s behavior out of control?

Lately, in my practice, I have been seeing families with the concern that one child in their family is “out of control.” It’s a difficult thing to hear that a child’s problem is not just caused by the child, but very often the family system (e.g., how they interact with their parents, what is the reinforcement system in the family like, what their relationships are like with their siblings, school environment, etc.).

When examining behavioral problems, it important for a treating clinician to look at the family system like a function. What purpose do interactions serve? What is the function of the bad behavior? Sometimes “bad” behavior can be a manifestation of anxiety or depression, poor distress tolerance and/or emotion regulation, or is it attention-seeking?

Understanding the function of a behavior is necessary to be able to address it effectively. Once you can understand the function, you can see the “recipe” and the ingredients that will effectively change the behavior.



I am a clinical psychologist with approximately 15 years of experience assessing and treating anxiety and depressive disorders in young children, adolescents, young adults, adults and geriatric populations. I completed a 6-year predoctoral training award at the National Institute of Mental Health, and postdoctoral training at the Anxiety Disorders Center at the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital. From my clinical and research experiences, I have come to see the struggles of many families deciding when to pursue professional help and feeling very lost in the process. I will address several mental health issues that will help educate and empower my readers to make better mental health decisions for themselves. Welcome to my blog! Johanna Kaplan, Ph.D. Disclaimer-This blog is not and cannot be used in replace of formal therapy. This blog is used to inform and educate and is not a form of informal or formal advice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s