Negative feelings, stress, and relational problems can sometimes be manifested in how a child or teen behaves. This may be due to a lack of communication or problem-solving skills, or sometimes children have difficulty controlling their impulses and act out in angry or aggressive ways. Some common behavioral issues include: defiance; verbal or physical aggression; lying; experimentation with alcohol or other drugs; property destruction; running away and breaking rules.
The counselor will help the child and family identify the problem behavior, what triggers it, what the motivation is to continue the behavior, and the usual outcome. From there, the client and family can begin to develop a behavior plan that includes more helpful replacement behaviors, coping strategies, and problem-solving and communication skills. Often the client will even practice the new behavior or coping skill in the session. Parents may also develop a parenting plan which makes use of natural and logical consequences to problem behaviors.