Ask an Expert
My 6-year-old son is in trouble for being defiant in school, but we don't see any of this behavior at home. What can I do?
First, you want to rule out learning issues that might be causing his behavior, then work with the teacher on a reward plan contingent on good behavior in school.- Matthew Rouse, PhD, MSW
My teen has ADHD and ODD. He refuses therapy. How can I help my son help himself?
He might be scared of feeling like he's failing in treatment, or he could have had a bad experience in previous therapy. The first step is focusing on his priorities, not yours.- David Anderson, PhD
My 4-year-old daughter acts like she doesn't want to be near her father when she visits him. We've never lived together. Advice?
Identifying what part of their relationship or his new family is bothering her is the first step to helping her.- Jamie Howard, PhD
My son needs extra time on the SAT. Does anyone test high schoolers?
Older kids can absolutely get tested, but getting a teenager accommodations for standardized tests can be tricky.- Dominick Auciello, PsyD
After being home sick for 4 days, my daughter, who loved school, now cries when I leave her. What can I do?
It's not unusual after an absence, and you can help her by encouraging her coping skills.- Rachel Busman, PsyD
My 13-year-old daughter is so anxious about her sexual orientation she is self-harming. What should we do?
Intrusive thoughts about sexuality and compulsions to reduce the anxiety are classic OCD. But she also sounds depressed. Behavioral therapy can address both.- Jerry Bubrick, PhD
My 5-year-old has trouble following instructions. He just doesn't listen. I do time outs and it's still the same. His teachers do too. I'm at a loss.
We suggest 'labeled praise,' or specifically rewarding desired behaviors and 'actively ignoring' others. And since the boy's father has ADHD an evaluation isn't a bad idea.- Mandi Levine, PsyD, MBA
My 12-year-old daughter acts much older than she is. How do I rein her in?
Being understanding, and talking openly about her feelings and ambitions, is the place to begin. And remember, all kids want to be older, and you can relate your own experience.- Stephanie Dowd, PsyD
My 4-year-old with a behavior disorder attends therapy but she can't compose sentences or express feelings. Am I doing enough for her?
Recognizing your emotions and expressing them requires higher order processing. This is one reason why some young children are oppositional.- Mandi Levine, PsyD, MBA
My 2-year-old daughter has a lot of fears and they are getting worse. Should I be worried?
Fears are typical at this age, but some kids are a little too reactive. To help your daughter, try to model distress tolerance and flexibility.- Laura Kirmayer, MA