Children and Adolescents Acting Out

 Labels do violence to people. You can’t treat the label; you have to treat the person behind the label.
― Irvin D. Yalom, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Stanford University, Lying on the Couch

Acting out is your child’s way of trying to communicate or express something through action that is impossible to communicate through words; their unique way of trying to cope with thoughts, feelings or experiences that are overwhelming to them.I agree with Dr. Yalom when he says that therapists need to look beyond the labels of diagnosis in order to provide quality psychotherapy to their clients. It is precisely for that reason that I am listing challenging behaviors that your child or adolescent may be struggling with at home rather than diagnostic categories.

  • behavioral difficulties
  • disobedience
  • physical aggression
  • unmanageable tantrums
  • yelling and screaming
  • difficulties in mood regulation
  • excessive crying
  • substance use
  • risky behavior
  • inattention problems
  • self injurious behavior 
  • decrease in grades and school performance
  • frequent and unmanegaeable arguments at home

To learn more about how acting out manifests itself in everyday life, read my blog post on What does acting out mean and what can you do to help, here.
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