AbusiveGirfriend1Here are some basic questions to use as guidelines when trying to respond to problem behaviors in a child or youth:

  • What has happened to him?
  • What has he learned about other people?
  • What biological changes has he experienced?
  • What skills has he learned to survive?
  • What skills does he need to learn?

When supporting parents or treaters in understanding behavior and responding to crisis:

    • Ask how we understand the behavior using our formulation
    • Relate to experiences in the child’s past
    • Look for patterns
    • Look for problem child is solving
    • Consider fear and confusion
    • Consider feeling overwhelmed

How can we help the child solve his problems in more positive ways?

In responding to a crisis:

  • Validate both adult and child
  • If possible connect the child’s behavior to behaviors the adult has experienced in their own life
  • Look for ways to make amends and reconnect

What do we want the child to learn from his or her mistakes?

  1. Patterns that will reveal what leads up to an episode of dysregulation, times when he is most vulnerable, pre-disposing factors
  2. Skills that would help him not do the same thing again
  3. How to recognize emotions when they are small and he has more options as to what to do about them
  4. How to meet his needs in more positive ways

Therefore, it is important to think about what needs the child was meeting, what problem he was trying to solve. How was this behavior adaptive for him?

Click here for a useful tool to help design your response to the problem behaviors of a child.


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