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Children & Teens

Children’s Behaviour Problems

All children and adolescents have problem behaviours and all young people go through periods where their overall behaviour is more difficult than usual. Like us, their reactions to the stresses in their lives are reflected in their behaviour and in their interactions with others. Because their ability to understand their own behaviour and to apply healthy coping strategies is immature, they are more likely to act out their distress or confusion than are adults. If, however, your child demonstrates persistent problem behaviours that interfere with healthy functioning, it may be time to consult a psychologist.

What Will the Psychologist Do?

First, the psychologist will conduct an assessment, the purpose of which is to:

  • Develop an understanding of the young person and his or her family;
  • Get a picture of the presenting behaviours and their impact;
  • Explore possible origins of the difficulty; and
  • Evaluate factors which may be sustaining or exacerbating the problem.

Assessment may be informal, consisting primarily of interviews, but it may also involve formal tests, drawings, checklists or direct observation.

Based on the information gathered through assessment, the psychologist will determine how best to address the difficulty. The extent to which parents are directly involved in therapy depends on a number of factors, including the nature of the problem and the age and temperament of the young person. Sometimes, the emphasis is on one-to-one work with the youth, addressing underlying issues or developing strategies for behavior change. At other times, the child has minimal direct involvement and the therapist works most closely with parents, helping them to clarify issues, set goals and expectations, and develop behavior management skills. Often, parents and their children attend therapy together and the role of the therapist becomes that of a facilitator, helping families to communicate, mediating conflicts, and helping them to collaborate in the development of solutions.


Mission Bridge Psychological ServicesParenting can be the most rewarding and joyful experience, but it can also be the most stressful job of your life. We can all think of ways we’d do things differently from our own parents, and things we want to do similarly to our parents. Likely your children will find ways they will parent differently from you. Parenting matters!

The stress of caring for children can, at times, cause parents to feel anxious, angry or just plain ‘stressed out’. Parents can learn ways to cope so that they don’t feel overwhelmed by the demands of raising children. It is important to remember that there are no perfect children and no perfect parents. All children misbehave sometimes. Parents make mistakes, too.

As parents, we all learn about parenting as we go along. Learning how to be a parent continues until all your children are grown up, and beyond. Because each child is unique, what works with one will not necessarily work with another. Coping with the stress of parenting starts with understanding what causes you to feel stressed, learning to recognize the symptoms, understanding your unique children, and learning some new ways of handling parenting challenges.

Parenting is learned in childhood and repeated when children become parents. The experiences children have while growing up have significant impact on the attitudes, skills, and parenting practices they will use with their own children. What is learned can be unlearned and everyone can learn good parenting skills – even those who are overwhelmed, single or alone.

There is no more important job in any society than raising children and there is no more important influence on how children develop than parents.

- L. Steinberg

If you can relate to any of the following (or similar) statements, you may want to consider seeking help with your parenting issues.

  • “The way my kids carry on is just too much for me. I talk and they just don’t listen. “
  • “I get calls from the school about how badly my child behaves. The teacher asks me to do something with my kid.”
  • “I’m frustrated, I’m overwhelmed and I’m scared.”
  • “I’m at my wits end. I’ve tried everything to get my kids to behave. They still act up and talk back.”
  • “If you are really sorry for the divorce then you’d buy me the _____ that I want to make me happy.”
  • Your teenager has just gotten a tattoo and now wants to pierce “just one more body part.”
  • “My kid hates going to school and has started refusing to leave the house.”

It takes courage to seek support, as many people incorrectly believe that parenting skills shouldn’t have to be learned.  Parenting is the most important job many of us will over do, and sometimes we need more than “on-the-job-training.”


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Psychological Services
Mission Bridge Psychological Services

The partners at Mission Bridge Psychological Associates provide a comprehensive range of psychological services to individuals, couples, adolescents, and families. Together, we bring over 90 years of experience to our clients. Our collaboration both within our partnership and with other community resources increases the depth, range, and quality of our services.

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Call 403-228-5191
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