What is a Child Behaviour Specialist?
Parenting is easily one of the most important jobs in the world. Unfortunately, it is also one of the toughest. Children are always growing and learning how to deal with the world around them. They experience a whole range of emotions in their own unique ways, which can be a real challenge for some parents to handle.
It’s not a secret that kids can be a handful. However, there may be times when their behaviour could be a sign that they need a little more support. This doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with your child, and it definitely doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing well as a parent. It’s just that some kids need a little extra help to reach their full potential.
A child behaviour specialist is a professional that understands how children and adolescents behave. We are here to act as pillars of support and sources of advice as you go on your parenting journey. We understand that you know your kids best – we are simply here to help you on your way when a child is experiencing behaviour issues that can be a little tougher to handle.
How can a child behaviour specialist help?
There are times when the behaviour problems of children or adolescents become quite severe. Our child behaviour specialists first and foremost make an evaluation of whether or not your child is experiencing something we need to be concerned about. They conduct a careful assessment of the child’s behaviour, which is a complicated process that requires a lot of care.
The most important part of this process is that our specialist will make a judgment about whether or not your child is experiencing any mental health issues. Excessively disruptive behaviour could be a sign of things like conduct disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), or others.
They also evaluate for childhood / adolescent depression, anxiety, and trauma. They check if there were any significant life events that could have affected the child’s psychological disposition, such as bullying or a change in family circumstances. In cases where a child is experiencing any of these things, getting the right treatment usually leads to very good behavioural improvements.
Depending on the results of their evaluation, our child behaviour specialist can refer you to another professional and administer an intervention plan. A lot of this actually involves suggestions for how to handle your child’s behaviour in ways that will help them outgrow their bad habits. There is no one fix that fits any situation – every person is unique, so any solutions that we provide will be tailor-made to fit the difficulties that your child is having.
How do I know if my child needs help from a child behaviour specialist?
Just like every adult, all children have good days and bad days. There will really be times when your child will act out – this is usually normal. A great skill to learn for you as a parent is knowing when your child’s behaviour is a normal part of their development, or when it should raise some eyebrows.
Even if there are signs that are considered worrisome, you always have to take your child’s behaviour in context. One factor is how old they are – is their behaviour normal for their age? Another thing to consider is how they have developed so far – is there any sharp change in their behaviour? How have they adjusted to their home and school settings so far? Big life changes or painful experiences can have an impact on your child, so it’s good to consider that their behaviour could be responses to these things.
Some of the signs that your child may benefit from seeing one of our child behaviour specialists include instances when your child:
- Has behaviour that is negatively impacting their school life or their relationships with family and friends
- Has behaviour isn’t appropriate for their age or developmental stage, such as if they still throw tantrums or get violent at 8-10 years old
- Is not responding to the discipline that you give them
- Is displaying aggressive or destructive behaviour
- Is having a very hard time in school
- Is seeing or hearing things
- Lies a lot or refuses to follow the rules
- Has trouble relating to or showing concern for others
- Is injuring themselves
- Is experiencing mood swings
- Is showing signs of anxiety or depression
- Has unhealthy sleeping or eating habits
- Gets into conflicts very frequently
- Is engaging in sexual behaviour or substance abuse
Frequently Asked Questions about Child Behaviour Specialists
How much does a child behaviour specialist cost?
Sessions with our child behaviour specialist can cost $200 or more depending on the specific individual services we will be providing to you. You may consult your individual specialists about Medicare rebates, which may have to include a referral from your GP.
When should I worry about my child’s behaviour?
Although you can find the warning signs above, you can consider bringing your child to see one of our child behaviour specialists when their behaviour becomes significantly disruptive to their lives or the lives of others. Examples include when their behaviour interferes with their normal functioning, is hurting their relationships at home or in school, or when it is dangerous to themselves or the people around them.
What are the most common behavioural disorders in children?
Some of the most common behavioural disorders in children include:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): children with ADHD have trouble focusing and sitting still.
- Conduct Disorder: children that suffer from conduct disorder tend to lie often, be aggressive or disruptive, and have a hard time following rules.
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): children with ODD take action against authority figures, question the rules, and tend to be stubborn or argumentative.
What can I do for my child?
We understand that the idea of seeing a professional about your child’s behaviour can be worrisome. We have encountered many parents that feel that they might have gone wrong at some point, or that there is something wrong with their child. We assure you that this is not the case.
There are simply times when a child needs a little more support with the problems they are currently facing. If you suspect that your child might be going through something or that their behaviour is not normal, we encourage you to contact us.
With a little help from our child behaviour specialists, we can work together towards helping your child overcome their challenges and reach their full potential.
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