The Difficult Child

Behavioral therapies can be seductive, especially to parents who want a quick fix for a difficult child. The danger of behavioral therapy, however, lies in its failure to recognize the importance of the mind, even in a young child. Granted, a five-year-old mind is a rather unsophisticated one. But it doesn’t change the fact that a child has the capacity to reason. To emphasize reward and punishment in the absence of attempting to reason with the child on his or her own level is to ignore a critical aspect of human psychology. It sends the message, however unintentionally, that rules and authority are all that matter in life. Independent thought and logic are downplayed or even condemned.

from Dr. Michael Hurd’s forthcoming book, “Bad Therapy Good Therapy: And How to Tell the Difference” (a re-release of his previous book, “Effective Therapy” with expanded, new sections)