Behavior Management

Behavior Problems in Delayed Children

Intellectually Delayed Children

There is a wide range of intellectual delays in children that might contribute to behavioral problems. Children with a learning disability might experience academic delays and might become frustrated when they are unable to learn as fast as peers. Over time, their embarrassment and discouragement might cause them to act out in the classroom, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Children with more severe intellectual disabilities might struggle with learning “normal” behaviors and have trouble making friends and developing important social and life skills, KidsHealth reports. When children are frustrated with their continuing academic struggles, they might assume it is hopeless to try to succeed in the classroom. They might challenge teachers to avoid schoolwork, pick arguments with classmates or even skip classes or drop out when they are older.

Speech Delayed Children

Children with language delays might feel frustrated when they are unable to clearly communicate. They might lash out if others are unable to understand them or shut down and refuse to communicate at all. Even though speech delays are a fairly common occurrence in children, according to Medline Plus, it can be difficult for children who experience them to fit in with peers. Their speech delays might contribute to low-self esteem, which is often associated with a host of behavioral problems, according to Healthy Children.

Emotionally Delayed Children

Even though there is a wide range of normal behaviors for children of all ages, those with emotional delays often exhibit noticeable behavioral differences. Children who struggle to meet certain developmental milestones might have behavioral or emotional problems that are not common for children their age, according to the PACER Center, Minnesota’s Parent Training and Information Center. For instance, an eight-year-old boy might bite peers when angry, even though the behavior is more commonly seen among much younger children. An emotionally delayed teen might resort to childish name-calling when she feels left out of a social setting.

Physically Delayed Children

A physical delay might be one of the most easily diagnosed delays, but any resulting behavioral problems might be less noticeable at first. Parents might notice that their children are significantly smaller than others their age or a pediatrician might detect a slower than normal growth habit but not realize the effect it is having on their child's self-esteem. Some children with physical delays might enter puberty later than usual and struggle with teasing from other children their age, KidsHealth reports. This could lead to a variety of behavioral problems if they do not have the emotional confidence, reassurance or skills to handle looking and feeling different than their peers, including social isolation or confrontation.

Camps for Kids With Behavioral Issues

Similarities and Differences

Although on the surface, behavioral camps may look like any other summer camp -- with typical activities such as swimming, boating, arts and crafts, hiking and sports -- there are differences that make these programs ideal for kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, oppositional defiant disorder or other issues. These camps coach kids on coping strategies such as developing self-regulatory behaviors to use during school times, learning how to self-soothe during times of emotional frustration or gaining focus and attention abilities.

Social Skills

The camps can teach essential social skills to children who feel isolated or have problems making friends, resulting in their feeling left out or awkward at school. Some behavioral camps may focus specifically on this type of development, featuring activities that are designed to promote positive peer interactions such as group scavenger hunts, team boating, team sports and group bonfires. Camps without that social skills focus still have ways to help children develop those abilities. Such interactive and team-building activities can lead to new friendships.

Treatment Programs

Some behavioral camps are based on a summer treatment program model. This type of program concentrates on providing the child with strategies and techniques to cope and excel in a school or social setting. Unlike other behavioral camps, these programs typically focus on helping children with ADHD, or similar attention-focusing issues, through intensive therapy that can help the child's overall behaviors and emotional development, and may also address learning problems. Led by professional therapists and psychological or developmental paraprofessionals, these camps use a combination of therapeutic techniques and recreational activities to modify behavior and provide the child with the skills for success when it comes to integrating back into a mainstream school environment. For example, a summer treatment program camp may focus on improving attention or completing tasks to help the child to stay on track academically when the school year starts.

Life Skills

Children with behavioral issues can learn valuable life skills through a summer camp program. Camps may focus on day-to-day skills such as having the campers make their beds and keep their cabins -- or tents -- neat and tidy every day, or they may center on more challenging areas. For example, a behavioral camp for teens may take an adventure or outdoors skills approach, helping kids to achieve goals, work as a team or master tasks that they once thought were insurmountable, such as making it through white water river rapids or getting through a rope or obstacle course as a team. This can help the behaviorally challenged child to develop a sense of self-confidence, learn how to conquer fears or master new skills.

Disciplinary Strategies for Children With Emotional and Behavioral Issues


Time-out is a useful disciplinary technique to use for younger children with emotional and behavioral issues. Scholastic recommends that parents use time-out as a calming technique to allow an out-of-control toddler or preschooler a chance to regain some composure and think about ways he could have displayed better behavior. Scholastic states that it is not effective to use time-out as a punishment, for instance, when a parent is irritated by a child's behavior.

Removal of Privileges

Removing privileges is a viable, disciplinary strategy for older children, states counseling professionals with Associated Counselors and Therapists in California. Since discipline should naturally teach a child why a particular behavior is inappropriate, removing privileges should be directly tied to the undesirable behavior. For instance, if a child chooses to forgo completing his homework to play video games instead, he should have his video game privileges revoked until he improves any dropping grades.

Rewards and Consequences

Rewards and consequence systems are often used to increase desirable behaviors while minimizing undesirable behaviors. Rewards such as extra play time, stickers and an extended curfew provide children with incentives to engage in more desirable behaviors. Consequences such as writing apology letters, for instance, can teach children how to take responsibility for wrongdoings. Any consequence that aims to teach a child the importance of engaging in appropriate behavior is useful as a disciplinary strategy.

Community Service Work

For older children who display destructive behaviors, such as vandalism and destruction of property, community service work may be a viable consequence. Public schools, colleges and universities employ community service as a disciplinary strategy to hold youth accountable for their behavior, and to teach children and teens how others are negatively affected by their destructive actions. Parents can also use these opportunities to inform their children about the community service work that many legal systems use to correct behavior, which may deter them from engaging in criminal acts.

Summer Camps for Kids With Behavior Problems in Florida

Camp Consequence

Located in Jacksonville, Camp Consequence uses a highly structured, closely monitored environment to help kids understand the consequences of negative behaviors and recognize the value in choosing more positive behaviors. The Parent Help Center, which runs Camp Consequence, emphasizes the importance of working with the parents as well as behaviorally challenged children. As a result, completion of the Empowered Parent Conference is a prerequisite for your child’s admission into Camp Consequence.

Center for Children and Families Summer Treatment Program

Located in Miami and operated by Florida International University, the Center for Children and Families’ Summer Treatment Program offers daytime activities specifically geared for children and adolescents with behavioral problems. The Summer Treatment Program focuses on teaching kids to build their academic abilities and enhance their problem-solving, organization, time management and social and leadership skills.

Social Skills Summer Camp

Located in Orlando and operated by Total Life Counseling Center, the Social Skills Summer Camp focuses on enhancing social and leadership skills in kids who have been diagnosed with a variety of developmental disorders, all of which tend to lead to behavioral problems. The camp accepts is designed to address the unique needs of kids with attention deficit hyperactive disorder, attention deficit disorder, Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism. Total Life Counseling Center offers a variety of summer programs that emphasize character development and social skills.

Camp Victory

Located in central Florida, Camp Victory markets itself as a military adventure camp for boys ages 7 to 17 who struggle with behavioral problems. Camp Victory is designed to provide ongoing opportunities for success that promote skill development and enhance self-esteem. While living in a wilderness environment, Camp Victory campers participate in a variety of activities aimed at improving their decision-making skills, peer relationships and development of positive habits.

Residential Behavioral Treatment Programs for Kids Near DC

The Sasha Bruce Youthwork: REACH

The Sasha Bruce Youthwork ( is an organization committed to meeting the needs of at-risk youth. One of its many programs is REACH, the Residential Empowerment Adolescent Community Home. REACH takes in teens that are in the custody of or referred by the juvenile justice system, offering a highly structured, service-oriented, home for teens 13- to 18-years-old. The typical length of stay for an individual is 30 days. While there, the teens participate in group, individual and family counseling, substance abuse counseling, life skills development and educational remediation.

The Psychiatric Institute of Washington

For children and adolescents whose behavioral problems are related to a mental illness, The Psychiatric Institute of Washington ( provides residential care. It serves children 5- to 12-years-old in a separate wing. The children are involved in a behavioral level system based on points. The staff gives each patient certain goals and measure and discuss their progress each day. The program for 13- to 17-year-olds provides onsite psychiatrists who evaluate and educate students in behavioral modification. Both programs provide a year round school for all grade levels in order to meet educational needs while a resident at the center.


Located 18 miles to the west of downtown D.C. in Great Falls, Virginia is Sagebrush ( This facility specializes in substance abuse treatment for adolescents in a residential program. It features a holistic philosophy of treatment combining the traditional 12-step model with delving into the root cause of addiction for each patient. The setting at Sagebrush is scenic, and it provides a nonjudgmental approach to recovering mentally, spiritually and physically. It boasts a private and individualized experience for each teen.

Phoenix House

The Phoenix House ( is another substance abuse treatment program that has a more traditional approach than that of Sagebrush. With a location five miles west of downtown D.C. in Arlington, Virginia, the Phoenix House provides adolescents with a residential recovery program. The program is gender-specific using a 12-step approach, guiding teens through the process of discovering mental health issues and behavioral patterns associated with substance abuse. Families are encouraged to be a part of the healing process, and the length of stay depends on each individual case.

Teen Behavioral Help in Waukegan, Illinois

Counseling Services

Arden Shore Child and Family Services ( offers counseling for teens facing a variety of behavioral problems. It sees teens with issues such as depression, separation and loss, suicidal thoughts, violent behavior, trauma, truancy and self-injury. Through individual and group sessions, Arden teaches anger management skills, builds self-esteem and helps families understand behavioral issues to better cope. The Lake County Health Department ( provides counseling services for teenagers both individually and with the family. An assessment for psychiatric hospitalization is given to youth living in Lake County.


Sometimes teens with behavioral issues are placed in alternative schools that are better equipped to help them. The AOEC/Stephens Center ( is a school program meant to assist students who have not found success in a regular school setting because of their disruptive behavioral issues or academic struggles. The school is a smaller, more supportive environment that will help students succeed academically and socially. Ombudsman ( is another alternative school in the area for at-risk teens who are have either dropped out of regular high school or are struggling to stay in school.

Community Centers

Teens who need help correcting certain behaviors or need to stay away from influences that could lead to behavior problems would benefit from getting involved in a community center. The Boys and Girls Club of Lake County ( offers courses for teens and parents of teens that aim to nurture well-being and positive behavior. One of the classes offered is called SMART Moves and SMART Girls -- SMART is an acronym for Skills Mastery and Resistance Training. It is a prevention education program for teens addressing drugs, alcohol and premature sexual activity. The Family First Center ( is a faith-based organization offering health and awareness programs for teenagers.

Substance Abuse Programs

Teens who are struggling with addiction can find help through the Lake County Health Department. It has an outpatient substance abuse program providing group counseling, 12-step programs and continual assessments. Nicasa Behavioral Health Services ( is a substance abuse prevention and treatment agency. It provides comprehensive assessments for teenagers and then makes recommendations to the family for the appropriate services. Intensive outpatient programs, early intervention classes and life skills education are available.

Emotional & Behavioral Problems of Young Children


Symptoms of autism usually appear before age 3. Autism spectrum disorders range from mild to severe, but all forms of autism interfere with a child's ability to communicate and interact socially. Early intervention is extremely important when treating autism. Treatment does not cure autism, but services such as speech therapy or occupational therapy treat many of the symptoms. Parents can benefit by learning parenting techniques that manage emotional and behavioral issues effectively.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

By nature, young kids are energetic and have short attention spans. However, kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder struggle to complete simple tasks. A child with ADHD may not ever get his toys picked up because he's distracted by a noise in another room or because he's literally climbing the walls. The American Psychological Association says ADHD can be diagnosed in children as young as 3 and can be treated with medication or parent training in behavioral interventions.

Anxiety Disorders

Although it's normal for young children to be afraid of the dark or monsters hiding under the bed, some kids develop full-blown anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder or specific phobias. Where normal anxiety may be slightly problematic, an anxiety disorder will interfere with a child's daily life. A child who checks under his bed for monsters before going to sleep may have normal amounts of anxiety, while a child whose fear of insects prevents him from playing outside may have an anxiety disorder.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Before you decide your child's refusal to pick up his toys must mean he has oppositional defiant disorder, keep in mind that young children are supposed to test limits. However, kids with ODD are much more uncooperative than the average little one. ODD can lead to aggression, frequent tantrums, deliberate attempts to annoy others, vengeful behaviors and excessive arguing. ODD can be treated with parent training to help parents learn skills to help their child as well as social skills training for children.

Behavior Management for Middle Aged Children

Routines and Structure

Oftentimes, providing simple structure will prevent a host of behavioral issues. Establish a schedule for your child, and be clear with your expectations. A regular routine can reduce noncompliance and arguments over homework, chores and electronics. Structure can also teach good habits as kids become used to doing what is expected of them. Create a clear list of rules and review the rules with your child. As your child grows and matures, adjust the rules to reflect age-appropriate responsiblities.

Praise and Attention

Although middle-aged children can be rebellious, they tend to also seek approval. The American Academy of Pediatrics' "Guide to Effective Discipline" suggests providing attention to increase positive behavior and "ignoring, removing, or withholding parent attention to decrease the frequency or intensity of undesirable behaviors." Ignoring mild misbehaviors, such as whining, can be effective as long as there is not an underlying cause that is impacting your child's behavior. If you suspect that your child is responding to a stressor in his life, do not ignore his behavior. Instead, seek out the root of the behavior. Your child should also receive positive attention for good behaviors. Praise your child's efforts, positive attitudes and compliance, and he will naturally be motivated to repeat those behaviors.


Rewards provide middle-aged children with an incentive to manage their behaviors. Provide your child with a small allowance for completing his chores, and he'll be motivated to do them again. Offer small rewards to address behavioral issues. A child who struggles to get his homework done each night might need some external motivation. Allowing him to earn time to play his favorite video game for completing his homework might just be the incentive he needs.

Natural and Logical Consequences

Breaking the rules should result in clear consequences. Logical consequences should be clearly related to the offense. If a child refuses to get out of bed on time, a logical consequence would be an earlier bedtime. Middle-aged kids can also benefit from natural consequences. If a child refuses to wear boots on a rainy day, the natural consequence is that his feet will get wet. Monitor natural consequences to ensure that such events become learning experiences.