Yale Parenting Center
Making Families Stronger November 2016

From Alan Kazdin

Seeking Professional Help For Your Child

The decision to seek treatment for your child can be very stressful and a source of frustration and worry for parents.  First, you may feel pressured by the school to do something because they would like your child to be more controlled.  You are worried about your child being left behind or placed in a school or classroom you do not want.

Second, and often much worse, many parents blame themselves for problems their child may have.  Your child may be extremely anxious, hyperactive, or depressed.  For many parents, particularly mothers, the first thing they do is to blame themselves. You might feel you did something wrong to cause the problem and that if you only had done something different, the child would not have the problem.   

We know that parenting and child rearing can have a huge effect on development, but psychological problems and extremes in emotion, lack of attention, depression, and unusual thought processes have strong underlying genetic and brain influences.  It is not at all likely to be anything you have done or your parenting practices have caused.  Blaming yourself will only add stress and not help your child and family. 

The process to find the right treatment for your child may be a long and difficult road.  We hope that this newsletter provides helpful information and support for those who are considering seeking professional help for their child. 


For Parents

When Is More Needed to Help My Child?

There are a number of guidelines that may help you decide whether it is time to seek professional help for your child.  Here are some of those important points.

  • Impairment.  This means that the problems your child is experiencing are interfering with his or her day at home or at school.  Your child may be struggling with routine activities such as going to school, completing homework, or getting along with peers. 
  • Danger and Risk of Danger.  Is your child's behavior of any danger to himself or others?  Aggression towards family members or peers, fire setting, and talking about killing or hurting him or herself are all in this category and should be evaluated immediately.
  • Unusual Behaviors.  Look for the departure from everyday.  If a child reports hearing voices or seeing things that are not there, trust your suspicion and seek an evaluation.
  • Changes in Behavior.  A stark change in behavior is the criteria here.  An abrupt change in school performance, a change in eating or sleeping patterns, or a loss of pleasure in usual activities would be signs to seek treatment.
  • Distress.  If your child is showing signs of distress such as problems in sleeping, nausea, headaches, nightmares, anxiety that do not go away, consider seeking help. 
  • Unmanageable.  If the usual efforts are not working and your child is out of control, help is needed.


Where to Get Help

There are many treatments available including medication, evaluations, different forms of psychotherapy, and many recommendations online.  You should be careful when selecting services for your child.  Be skeptical of what you have heard about dietary components, effective medication, or a new therapy. 
Here are two things you can do:
  1. Go to a reliable source for information.  An online search will generate all sorts of treatment options without telling you which ones are effective.  Instead, go to a source that is based on the US Government evaluation of treatment or from a professional organization that focuses on mental health.  Here is one to try
  2. Be prepared with relevant questions before you place your child into treatment.  You should be ready with questions when you meet with a provider.  What is the treatment you provide for my child's problems?  How long have you been providing that treatment?  Has this treatment been studied and does it have scientific evidence in its favor? 

Get Help With The Yale Parenting Center

If your child has behavioral difficulties and is between the ages of 6 and 12, you may qualify for our FREE program.  This is a 6 week program that will help you change behaviors at home and at school.  
Call our office at 203-432-9993 or email at yaleparentingcenter@yale.edu to get more information and see if you qualify.

Click here for more information


Professional Interest

ANNOUNCEMENT:  We are now offering CE credits for Streaming Training Webinars for Professionals!

As of September 21, 2016, we are approved by APA to give CE credits for our pre-recorded webinar series.  What a convenient way to fulfill your requirement!

Get more information here

Working with Parents to Help the Child

Many professionals and parents believe that in order to change a child's behavior, the therapist has to work with the child directly in sessions.  Scientific evidence shows that this is not always the case.

Did you know?

Parent Management Training is a parent centered treatment which has proven to be most effective in changing behavioral problems of their child


Parents are the most influential people in their child's life and their responses to their child's behavior are the most powerful therapeutic tool.   Parent Management Training teaches the parent different ways to respond to their child in the face of both positive and negative behaviors.  Parents are learning to use these strategies in the moment, in the face of a crisis or success.

What's Happening at the Center


Did you see our new television commercial on NBC yet? 

Click here to watch

You also may have heard us on the radio at KC 101 and coming soon to NPR!

Dear YPC,

Please help me with my daughter, Evelyn!  She is 12 years old and we have noticed a change in her lately.  She used to love dancing and now she refuses to go to her dance classes that we have paid for.  She has been moody and and not listening to us.  We are really worried about her, but we just don't know if we should take the next step to getting her professional help.  We are wondering if could be changes in hormones or typical teenager behavior.  What do you recommend? Sincerely,  Carol

Dear Carol,

Thank you for writing us.  We are happy to try to help.  Although it is hard to make a recommendation without more information, it sounds like your worries should be investigated.  Stark changes from a child's usual behavior patterns is one indication that it may be time to seek professional help.  If the change in her behavior or mood has lasted more than a day or two, and cannot be easily explained by an event you know about, this should be explored.  Although it is often difficult to pick up on internal struggles your child may be having, you can trust your suspicions and worries to help in your decision.  We recommend that you seek an evaluation or intake session with a professional as soon as possible.  Good luck and please contact us if you need any assistance. 

Yale Yale Parenting Center
314 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
T 203 432.9993
F 203 432.5225
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