Is Your Child’s Behavior Out of Control?

Have you Gotten Calls From Your Child’s School? Are You Tearing your Hair Out? Is Your Child’s Behavior is Out of Control? What do You Do?
The struggles parents endure as they desperately want their child to calm down, follow directions, interact positively with other children and adults. Parents read books on parenting articles even share them with trusted friends. What do I do to change this behavior?  

While getting behavior under control, sometimes parents, teachers, and other adults forget a crucial part of the problem.


How to Find Out! and What to do!

1. Investigate

Observe, Explore,  Ask Yourself and your Child, and Experts 

Find out what precedes your child’s behavior! Remember, there is usually cause and effect. Some of the causes can include the need for attention, feeling jealous of another child, feeling left out, as well as your child not feeling seen, heard, or understood.

Other issues can be problems related to school. Think about how well does your child fits into their school environment. Talk with the teacher about how your child is doing academically, socially, and behaviorally. Your child may be bored in the classroom or have some learning or social challenges. There are so many possibilities, and there are answers.

2. Talk to your child with Understanding and Empathy!

Look at the above picture. We assume that the child who is about to hit the other is out of control. However, we have not seen what happened in the scene before. There is usually cause and effect. Punching the other child is inappropriate. However, this child is angry. Why? Many adults view this scene and react with Anger admonishing the aggressive child. However, you might constructively talk to your child.

 You must be angry to react in such a powerful way!


Acknowledging the feeling that led to the behavior ” That must have made you so angry,” The child will usually go on and tell you all about the situation. Talk to your child about coping with the experience of Anger and methods to release the charge because punching the other child is not acceptable. Continue to note when the precipitating events leading to your child’s inappropriate behavior. There are probably specific themes.

3. Talk to your Child’s Teacher

Find out how your child is doing academically. Are there particular areas of study that are harder than others? School may be undermining self-esteem.  For example, a child’s behavior is related to low self-esteem. Does your child understand the school work? Parents are often at a loss as to what to do! Does s/he need extra help or have a learning challenge or disability. Parents can ask the school for an evaluation for an In1dividualized Educational Plan. Perhaps your child is gifted and is bored in the classroom.

2. Talk to your Child’s Pediatrician

Talk to your child’s pediatrician. The doctor can look at your child’s behavior to observe developmental milestones and evaluate your child’s social and emotional growth. If the pediatrician has some concerns, s/he may send you and your child to a developmental pediatrician. If your child is diagnosed with learning disabilities or has autism spectrum disorder, the pediatrician can give you resources to aid your child.

4. Consult A Child Psychotherapist

A child therapist can evaluate to help to find out what is bothering your child. There can be biological, psychological, or social reasons your child is experiencing that are expressed through unruly behavior


Feelings and Dealings is an award-winning game that teaches emotional and social skills through play. Some children’s behavior becomes out of control because children can find the word to express the intense emotions they are experiencing. Unfortunately, that is when they resort to violent behavior. Take a look to see if it might help your child.


The Whole-Brain Child:12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind

The Whole-Brain Child is a valuable reference to assist parents in learning skills to encourage emotional intelligence through daily interactions. This book is a delightful read filled with humor with novel concepts based on the most recent neurobiological research foundation.
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind

As a psychotherapist for over thirty years, Dr. Daniel Siegel’s research has been the most fascinating in many years. I highly recommend these books for dealing with your children. His research has shown that mindfulness. Focusing on internal and external situations leads to neuroplasticity which is real brain-changing through focus. This is so exciting because research is currently being done to explore how the brain changes. Their brain chemicals change in psychotherapy as well as in other situations.


No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind

An easy, enjoyable read for parents. They are filled with beneficial information written in an authentic, humorous manner. Helping parents deal with tantrums and meltdowns in a style that is easy to be successful. Based soundly on the neurobiology of the developing child helps parents understand the basis of the frustrating behavior and gives parents the skills to cope with the most challenging behavior.

The Authors

Both of these books are highly rated by the author of this blog. Karen Chambre, LCSW, Psy.D. Candidate found the research of Dr. Daniel Siegal M.D. fascinating, and she is studying Neuroplasticity and Psychotherapy. Daniel Siegal has been studying actual changes in the brain during psychotherapy as well as other circumstances. This is an exciting time.

Daniel Siegel MD.  Highly regarded as a professor of psychiatry at UCLA, School of Medicine. Director of co-director of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center and executive director of the Mindsight Institute.  Highly respected in the child development and mental health communities.

Tina Payne Bryson PH.D. Psychotherapist and the Executive Director of The Center for Connection in Pasadena, California, where she offers parenting consultations and therapy to children and adolescents.
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind is a help to parents, teachers, and anyone who works with the kids. It is an easy read.

How to Talk, So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

How to Talk, So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

How to talk to so Kids will Listen and Listen so that Kids will Talkback is an excellent way to get out of power struggles with children. So often, power struggles without leverage end up with the child getting their way and the parent frustrated. The beauty of this book helps the mother learn ways to de-escalate power struggles and allow children to feel you are on their side. Most of us need to feel seen, heard, and understood even if we can’t have what we want. Empathy is such an essential part of the connection between children and adults. This book helps calm smooth and open dialogue rather than shut down problems that trigger exchanges of rage.

Book Reviews for Children

I Can Handle It (Mindful Mantras) (Volume 1)

As a psychotherapist, I was looking for a book to help a child I am working with. I came across  I Can Handle it, and I thought this was great. Written by teacher Laurie Wright, this book allows children to become aware of explosive emotions. Helping children identify their feelings and reinforcing the idea that they can handle and keep themselves regulated gives them a sense of self-confidence. Amazon customers gave the book 4.6 stars. Parents, teachers, and therapists have found it helpful in helping children identify emotions. Some have used it with children to write about their feelings which is a manner of discharging their feelings. The only criticism I have about the book is that it does not give children a non-destructive way to release the charge of emotion.


What Were You Thinking?: Learning to Control Your Impulses (Executive Function)

What were you thinking is a beautiful book for children and parents. The book gives four steps to controlling impulses which are very difficult for children because of the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for judgment and impulse control—written by an educator, Bryan Smith. The story of Braden, a third-grader, who uses poor judgment and impulse control and at his wit’s end as to how to change. Children who read this book laugh because they identify with the struggles of Braden. The humor engages children and gives them simple solutions. Consumers have given it five stars—Rave reviews from parents who have bought the book on Amazon. Help for kids with ADHD, help kids pause and think before they act. I highly recommend this book.

Comments 3

  • If you have any questions about your child or how to handle a particular behavior I will be happy to help. Karen Chambre, LCSW. Psy.D. Candidate. You can contact me on this website or if you like you can also go to my practice website http://www.karenchambrepsychotherapy.com Thank You

  • Hi Karen,
    I personally have had (and still do) serious problems with my youngest son and his “out of control” behaviour. We all know that it has to be something to be dealt with patiente, understanding, etc., but the problem is that sometimes we arrive from work very tired or just not in the best mood, and it is not easy to deal with this problems. It is always good to have this kind of websites where you can read about people with similar problems.

  • Thanks for your kind comments. It is so stressful for parents who are trying to cope with kids struggling with behavioral issues. Depending on the diagnosis some states have programs where they do offer respite for parents. It is a very challenging job but hopefully rewarding at times. If I can offer any help do not hesitate to ask. Karen

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