ADHD And Disruptive Behavior

What are disruptive behavioral disorders (DBD)?

Disruptive behavior disorders is a broad term for several diagnoses in which a main component is the disruption of others, whether at home or school. Regardless of the specific diagnosis, the main focus is reducing the child’s problematic behaviors.

Behaviors that disrupt school and home life can be a significant challenge to manage.

Some examples of these disruptive disorders are Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder  (ADHD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).

What is the impact of a DBD?

Disruptive behavioral disorders can result in some major challenges at home. A child with DBD often doesn’t listen, does not follow through with daily routines, and can be bossy, disrespectful and aggressive. Life at home is stressful and often results in strained family relationships.

Often children with disruptive behaviors learn to dread school. They struggle with self-esteem challenges due to their negative interactions with adults and peers in a variety of settings. Sometimes kids who have disruptive behaviors also end up getting behind in school work. They may miss certain academic skills as a result of disciplinary action or being absent from the classroom due to being disruptive.

Parents are usually exhausted and dread calls from the school, worrying about how their child is behaving. A lot of times parents feel defensive about their kids with disruptive behaviors; sometimes it can feel as if the child’s behavior is being chalked up to “bad parenting,” or that others may not see the wonderful traits of the child, aside from his/her disruption.

How are DBDs Treated?

The Center for CBT teams up with children, parents and school staff to focus on specific ways to manage disruptive behaviors.

Our work starts with a thorough assessment to determine what is going on for the child and the causes of the behavioral disruption, since not all disruptive behavior has the same root cause. Our assessment helps determine why certain behaviors keep happening and offers strategies for reversing the disruptive behaviors.

Another important aspect of our work is classroom observations and devising a plan specific to the needs of the child. If the main behavioral disruptions are home-based we may recommend a different type of treatment than if the behaviors are mostly school-based. In both cases we devise a practical plan with child, parent and school staff to meet a child’s specific needs.

If a child is struggling with organization or social skills, we would focus a portion of our work on improving those outcomes; a behavioral support plan is developed with team members to support these goals.

Parenting is hard. When kids are struggling with a disruptive behavioral disorder it is even more difficult.  Behavioral Parent Training is a learning tool that we offer as a way of supporting and informing parents about helpful techniques to manage children with these challenging disorders. We understand that you are doing your best and we are not here to judge you. Behavioral Parent Training is not about blaming or shaming; it is about learning and practicing strategies that others have found useful in dealing with the specific needs of kids with DBDs.

Other interventions for treating disruptive behaviors include increasing behavior-specific praise and giving effective instructions. Validating children’s feelings (especially frustration and disappointment) is an important way to help kids feel understood and to know that their feelings are recognized. Another helpful intervention technique is providing clear instructions and consequences; sometimes this means using charts and rewards programs. Kids with disruptive behavioral disorders respond well to an increase in consistent follow through and rely on this external accountability as part of changing and managing behaviors over time.

We can work together to make things better for you and your child.