Childhood Behavior Counseling

Discover Health

Integrative Family Medicine & Naturopathic Doctors located in North Beach, San Francisco, CA & San Mateo, CA

Children go through numerous stages as they grow and develop, and each one comes with its own unique set of challenges. If your child acts out, doesn’t listen, or misbehaves frequently, you may find yourself wondering whether it’s a phase or an indication of a more serious problem. At Discover Health in San Francisco, pediatricians Dr. Oded Herbsman and Dr. Jon-Michael Castelli provide childhood behavior counseling services to families in the North Beach area. To learn more, call or book an appointment online today.

Childhood Behavior Counseling Q & A

What is normal child behavior?

No definitive line marks the territory between normal and abnormal childhood behavior. A child’s behavior can be influenced by a wide range of factors, including their age and developmental stage.  

Even among children of the same age and general developmental ability, there can be a substantial difference in behavior. A three-year-old who throws a major temper tantrum every time they have to leave the park doesn’t necessarily have a behavioral problem, even if their three-year-old friend always leaves with a smile.

What are the three main types of behavior?

Children’s behavior usually falls into three categories:

Approved behaviors

Behaviors that are wanted or approved, such as following instructions, being polite, or doing homework, are welcome and usually receive compliments.

Tolerated behaviors

Behaviors that you normally wouldn’t allow, such as regressing into baby talk or not following through with personal responsibilities, may be tolerated under certain conditions. Such unsanctioned behaviors are usually tolerated during times of stress or illness.

Harmful behaviors

Any behaviors that are harmful to the physical, emotional, or social well-being of your child, anyone in your family, or others should not be tolerated or reinforced.

In addition to possibly interfering with your child’s intellectual development, such behaviors may be socially unacceptable, unlawful, or unethical. Harmful behaviors include:

  • Aggressiveness or destructiveness
  • Overt racism or prejudice
  • Stealing
  • Smoking or substance abuse
  • Truancy or school failure
  • An intense sibling rivalry

How can behavior counseling help?

The goal of seeking help for problematic childhood behavior is to determine whether that behavior is normal, and if so, how you can help change it.

Although you may be able to tolerate unsanctioned behaviors that aren’t deemed harmful, Dr. Herbsman or Dr. Castelli can give you the tools you need to influence those behaviors for the better. These include helping you understand how your reaction to the unwanted behaviors affects the situation.

When a behavior is deemed harmful or otherwise unhealthy, the team at Discover Health can offer comprehensive treatment and support. They can help diagnose and address a wide variety of problems, including:

  • Breath-holding spells
  • Violent temper tantrums
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Binge eating and compulsive exercise  
  • Obsessive-compulsive behaviors

If you believe your child needs help, call or book your appointment online today.