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Disruptive Behavior Disorders

It's normal for children to occasionally not listen to their parents. But a pattern of consistent defiance, arguing, and anger is a sign of a Disruptive Behavior Disorder. Having a child with disruptive behavior can be incredibly stressful and challenging. Adding to the difficulty is that most typical parenting techniques are not very effective with children with disruptive behavior. Most parents report that they find themselves in frequent conflict with their disruptive child, repeating themselves multiple times to get their child to do something, yelling or raising their voice, and struggling to get along.

Signs of child disruptive behavior include:

  • Noncompliance
  • Breaking rules
  • Argumentativeness
  • Frequent anger
  • Physical aggression
  • Destroying belongings
  • Disrespectful talk
  • Frequent whining
  • Parent-child conflict

Although some parents believe that children will eventually “outgrow” these disruptive behavior problems, this pattern of behavior often worsens over time, interfering with socialization, academic functioning, and the parent-child relationship. Additionally, there is also a common link between disruptive behavior and ADHD in children. Therefore, it is strongly encouraged to seek early intervention for children with disruptive behavior, as treatment is most effective with younger children, particularly those under the age of 8.

At CUCARD, we treat children with disruptive behavior by:

  1. Collaborating with parents to implement more effective positive parenting and disciple techniques that have been shown to be effective with children with disruptive behavior disorders. Treatments such as Parent-Child Interaction Therapy have been shown to successfully treat children with disruptive behavior.
  2. Working individually with the child to develop new coping skills to better deal with anger, aggression, frustration, and conflict with others.

If these symptoms seem relevant to you or your child, we can help. Feel free to contact us by calling our main desk at (212) 246-5740.



The Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CUCARD) provides evidence-based treatments for all of the anxiety disorders that can afflict children, including: