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Addressing Child Behavioral Issues.

Addressing Child Behavioral Issues.


Title: Addressing Behavioral Issues in Children: A Review of Literature, Ethical Considerations, and Recommendations for Social Work Practice


The field of social work plays a crucial role in addressing various concerns related to families and children. One significant concern frequently encountered in practice is behavioral issues in children. These issues encompass a wide range of disruptive behaviors that affect not only the child but also their family and community. This paper aims to provide a comprehensive review of the literature on behavioral issues in children, emphasizing theoretical frameworks and empirical evidence. Furthermore, ethical considerations surrounding the assessment and intervention of such issues will be explored. Ultimately, this paper will conclude with recommendations for social work practice in addressing behavioral issues in children and their families.

Literature Review

Behavioral issues in children represent a multifaceted challenge for social workers. It is imperative to comprehend the underlying causes, theoretical perspectives, and empirical findings to devise effective interventions. The literature offers several insights into this concern:

  1. Theoretical Frameworks: Understanding the theoretical underpinnings of behavioral issues is essential. Social learning theory, as proposed by Bandura (1977), highlights the role of observational learning and reinforcement in the development of behavior. It suggests that children may model disruptive behaviors they witness in their environment. Attachment theory, developed by Bowlby (1969), emphasizes the significance of early caregiver-child relationships in shaping behavior. Secure attachment can lead to better emotional regulation in children, while insecure attachment may contribute to behavioral problems (Sroufe, 2005).
  2. Risk Factors: Extensive research has identified various risk factors associated with behavioral issues in children. These include exposure to domestic violence, parental substance abuse, neglect, trauma, and poverty (Evans et al., 2013; Herrenkohl et al., 2013). Understanding these risk factors is crucial for assessment and intervention.
  3. Interventions: The literature highlights a range of interventions for addressing behavioral issues in children. Evidence-based approaches such as Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) have demonstrated effectiveness in improving child behavior (Eyberg et al., 2008; Reyno & McGrath, 2006). School-based interventions and community support programs also play a vital role (Farmer et al., 2019).

Ethical Issues

When working with families and children facing behavioral issues, social workers must navigate ethical considerations. Some key ethical issues include:

  1. Confidentiality: Maintaining the confidentiality of clients, especially children, while ensuring their safety, can be challenging. Social workers must balance the need to protect children from harm with the legal and ethical obligations of confidentiality (NASW, 2017).
  2. Informed Consent: Obtaining informed consent from parents or guardians and assent from children, when appropriate, is essential. Children should be provided with age-appropriate information about the intervention process (NASW, 2017).

Conclusion and Recommendations

In conclusion, addressing behavioral issues in children is a complex task that requires a thorough understanding of theoretical frameworks, risk factors, and evidence-based interventions. Social workers play a pivotal role in supporting families facing these challenges. To enhance practice in this field, the following recommendations are offered:

  1. Holistic Assessment: Conduct comprehensive assessments that consider family dynamics, socio-economic factors, and potential trauma experiences to identify the root causes of behavioral issues.
  2. Collaboration: Collaborate with other professionals, such as psychologists, educators, and medical practitioners, to develop a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to intervention.
  3. Cultural Competence: Recognize and respect cultural diversity, as cultural factors may influence the expression and interpretation of behavioral issues.
  4. Ongoing Training: Social workers should engage in continuous professional development to stay updated on the latest research, interventions, and ethical guidelines related to behavioral issues in children.
  5. Ethical Reflection: Regularly reflect on ethical dilemmas and seek supervision or consultation when faced with challenging ethical decisions in practice.

By adhering to these recommendations and staying informed about the evolving field of child behavior, social workers can better serve children and families, ultimately promoting the well-being of the most vulnerable members of our society.


Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. Prentice-Hall. Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and Loss: Attachment (Vol. 1). Basic Books. Evans, G. W., Li, D., & Whipple, S. S. (2013). Cumulative risk and child development. Psychological Bulletin, 139(6), 1342–1396. Eyberg, S. M., Nelson, M. M., & Boggs, S. R. (2008). Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for children and adolescents with disruptive behavior. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 37(1), 215–237. Farmer, E. M., Burns, B. J., Dubs, M. S., & Thompson, S. (2019). Assessing the wraparound process in school-based teams. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 28(5), 1180–1193. Herrenkohl, T. I., Hong, S., Klika, J. B., Herrenkohl, R. C., & Russo, M. J. (2013). Developmental impacts of child abuse and neglect related to adult mental health, substance use, and physical health. Journal of Family Violence, 28(2), 191–199. NASW (National Association of Social Workers). (2017). Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. NASW. Reyno, S. M., & McGrath, P. J. (2006). Predictors of parent training efficacy for child externalizing behavior problems – A meta-analytic review. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(1), 99–111. Sroufe, L. A. (2005). Attachment and development: A prospective, longitudinal study from birth to adulthood. Attachment & Human Development, 7(4), 349–367.

Addressing Child Behavioral Issues.



NOTE: Students have the option to complete this assignment in pairs, with a fellow classmate*.

In this scholarly paper, you are to review a major issue in the field of practice with families and children. Your paper is to have a beginning (with a clear purpose or rationale), middle (with a solid review of the body of literature), and an end that sums up what you have tried to accomplish and should include some clear implications/recommendations for the field of social work. Ethical issues must also be considered. A minimum of 3 outside references is required. The textbook may also be used as a references, but are not included in the minimum requirement.

A student’s grade may be negatively affected by a high percentage of Unicheck, which looks for phrases and statements that are taken from another source (e.g., a previous paper by the student, another student’s paper, a reference source, etc.). Students who overuse direct quotations will also receive a grade reduction.

1) Choose a particular parent/child “concern” you might see in practice. For example, behavioral issues, abuse, drug misuse, death of parent, etc.

2) Review the literature (scholarly journals, textbooks, professional literature) that has a focus on theory and evidence to address the concern.

3) Address ethical issues.

4) Arrive at a conclusion, including recommendations.

5) Review the grading rubric.

6) Upload to Module 10.

This paper is worth 30 points of your final grade.

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