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Types of Child Disruptive Mood and Behavior




Temper tantrums are violent emotional outbursts, usually in response to frustration. Frustration, tiredness, and hunger are the most common causes. Children may scream, cry, thrash, roll on the floor, throw things, and stomp their feet during a tantrum. Temper tantrums range from whining and crying to screaming, kicking, hitting, and holding the breath. They’re equally common in boys and girls and usually happen between the ages of 1 to 3.


Some kids may have tantrums often, and others have them rarely. Tantrums are a normal part of child development. They’re how young children show that they’re upset or frustrated. But tantrums that are either more intense than what may be considered normal or are occurring too frequently and causing a disruption for the family may be a sign that professional help is needed.



Negative Attention-seeking


Children seek out the attention of their parents. They might try a positive behavior to get attention or if a parent does not notice and praise the positive behavior, the child might try a negative approach next. If a child is repeating negative behaviors to get noticed it may be a behavior pattern that you as a parent have been reinforcing. This can become a negative tug-of-war with the child, resulting in punishments, cursing, criticisms, angry tone, and a general unhappiness with the child. This pattern can repeat and can come to dominate the relationship which eventually takes a toll on the emotional bond. It can also lead to an increase of non-compliance by the child to the parent’s everyday commands.


Some Facts on Child Disruptive Mood and Behavior

A relatively new disorder, DMDD describes kids who may be chronically irritable and who have frequent explosive, severe temper outbursts that seem out of proportion with the situation. Some of these children may have previously been diagnosed with bipolar, but they do not experience the episodic mania or hypomania characteristics.

Children with DMDD are at elevated risk for anxiety and depression as adults and “unlike pediatric bipolar disorder, DMDD is thought to occur more often in boys than girls.” Symptoms of DMDD usually start before the age of 10, however a diagnosis is not usually given to children under the age of 6 or teens over 18.

Children with DMDD can be characterized by frequent and severe temper outbursts (verbal or behavioral) i.e. three or more times per week that are inconsistent with the situation. Aside from the pattern of outbursts, the key to the disorder is the child’s mood in between these tantrums i.e being consistently irritable or angry for most of the day while at home, with peers and at school. The child must have symptoms steadily for 12 or more months to be diagnosed.

Having a family member with a psychiatric condition may increase risk for DMDD. Male children are more likely to present with DMDD. Also, children with DMDD are more likely to experience family conflict, social difficulties, school suspensions, and live in settings of economic stress.

Other Types of Child Disruptive Mood and Behavior



Many children are irritable, upset, or moody from time to time. Occasional temper tantrums are also a normal part of growing up. However, when children are usually irritable or angry or when temper tantrums are frequent, intense, and ongoing, it may be signs of a mood disorder such as DMDD. Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is a childhood condition of extreme irritability, anger, and frequent, intense temper outbursts. DMDD symptoms go beyond a being a “moody” child—children with DMDD experience severe impairment that requires clinical attention.


Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD) is a mental disorder in children and adolescents characterized by a persistently irritable or angry mood and frequent temper outbursts that are disproportionate to the situation and significantly more severe than the typical reaction of same-aged peers.


DMDD symptoms typically begin before the age of 10, but the diagnosis is not given to children under 6 or adolescents over 18. A child with DMDD experiences:


  • Irritable or angry mood most of the day, nearly every day
  • Severe temper outbursts (verbal or behavioral) at an average of three or more times per week that are out of keeping with the situation and the child’s developmental level
  • Trouble functioning due to irritability in more than one place (e.g., home, school, with peers)


Some of the symptoms associated with DMDD are also present in other child psychiatric disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder. Some children with DMDD also have a second disorder, such as problems with attention or anxiety. It is important to get a comprehensive evaluation by a trained and qualified mental health professional.


If you think your child has DMDD, it is important to seek treatment. DMDD can impair a child’s quality of life and school performance and disrupt relationships with his or her family and peers. Children with DMDD may find it hard to participate in activities or make friends. Having DMDD also increases the risk of developing depression or anxiety disorders in adulthood.
While researchers are still determining which treatments work best, two major types of treatment are currently used to treat DMDD symptoms:


  • Medication
  • Psychological treatments
    • Psychotherapy
    • Parent training
    • Computer based training


Psychological treatments should be considered first, with medication added later if necessary, or psychological treatments can be provided along with medication from the beginning.




Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a childhood disorder that is defined by a pattern of hostile, disobedient, and defiant behaviors directed at adults or other authority figures. ODD is also characterized by children displaying angry and irritable moods, as well as argumentative and vindictive behaviors.


Angry and irritable mood:

  • Often and easily loses temper
  • Is frequently touchy and easily annoyed by others
  • Is often angry and resentful


Argumentative and defiant behavior:

  • Often argues with adults or people in authority
  • Often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ requests or rules
  • Often deliberately annoys or upsets people
  • Often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior



  • Is often spiteful or vindictive
  • Has shown spiteful or vindictive behavior at least twice in the past six months


Left untreated, children and teens who struggle with Oppositional Defiant Disorder may develop additional conduct disorders, may be at increased risk for developing antisocial personality disorder, and are also at risk for depression, substance abuse, and a host of additional unhealthy behaviors.

Professional Therapy with a Client Focus

There are times in life when we can feel off balance and can’t seem to snap out of it. When our own natural support system just isn’t enough, it may be time to reach out to a professional counselor to start the process of therapy. We have created a safe, comfortable and professional environment to discuss the issues in your life. We recognize the importance of a good therapeutic relationship and strive to build a positive rapport. We treat each client with respect and dignity.


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Your child isn’t likely to see his or her behavior as a problem. Instead, he or she will probably complain about unreasonable demands or blame others for problems. If your child shows signs that may indicate ODD or other disruptive behavior, or you’re concerned about your ability to parent a challenging child, seek help from a Mental Health Provider with expertise in disruptive behavior problems.


Evidenced-Based Therapy


Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an effective evidenced-based therapy for parents and children as young as age 2 years old to address correcting a negative attention-seeking relationship.

  • Positive changes in child disruptive behavior problems
  • Increases in parents’ use of positive parenting skills
  • Decreases in parents’ use of negative parenting behaviors
  • Decreases in child noncompliance
  • Improvement in school behavior
  • Reductions in maternal depression
  • Improvements in parent-child attachment
  • Continued maintenance of behavior for 3-6 years


Our Team

Our mission is to improve the quality of lives for individuals with behavioral and emotional challenges by providing exceptional mental health services using the most up-to-date, evidence-based practices helping our clients to become more active and productive members of the community.
Adrianne Pixley

Associate MFT

Valerie Lamke


Rachel Mitchell

MS, Associate MFT

Eric Garcia

MA, Registered Associate PCC

About us

Abalance Client-Centered Counseling Modesto California - General 7

Why choose a therapist at Abalance Client-Centered Counseling?

Our office is dedicated to providing the best mental health services to ALL people in our community regardless of income.

We have a team of professionals that are continually sharpening their skills as mental health providers and attend regular training from the Clinical Director. Having a competent and knowledgeable therapist is only part of it.

We are also a group of caring and compassionate people that strive to make your time with us a safe, comfortable and rewarding experience.

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Depression Disorders
  • Grief And Loss Issues
  • Child Disruptive Behavior
  • Childhood Trauma

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. ABALANCE CLIENT-CENTERED COUNSELING is accepting new clients age 12 and older. We are only offering Teletherapy Sessions to people in the Central Valley.

No. You can contact us directly and we will get your insurance eligibility established and schedule your first appointment. Your Health Plan may require an additional call to get a registration number after you have already established as a client in our office. We have a team here to help guide you through these things if you need assistance.

Yes, we currently accept HPSJ and CCAH MediCal Insurances only. For other insurances, we provide an out-of-network option for you to bill your insurance and get reimbursed for up to 80% of your therapy costs in our offices.

No, we treat mild/moderate symptoms for a variety of issues, but not alcohol and drug issues. If you have an addiction or are seeking sobriety, we refer out to a professional that treats substance abuse.

Weekly sessions are the best care option for mental health outcomes, but we also provide an every other week option, or Teletherapy if you have a hectic schedule.

We treat children ages 12 and older. We are only providing Teletherapy at this time, using Zoom. We have great results with older kids using interactive screen formats online with Zoom. However, we recommend in-person play therapy for children younger than 12, and we do not have that service at Abalance Counseling.

The Best Thing In Play Therapy

We have advanced training in play therapy and utilize several treatment options to best fit the needs of our youngest clients. We have specially designed Play Therapy Rooms at each office, dedicated to enriching the therapy experience and reaching our goals.

why choose us

Abalance Client-Centered Counseling is dedicated to providing effective mental health counseling to our community in the Central Valley.


We have over 15 years of clinical experience to provide the most effective treatment options. Our team of therapists have specialized training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

About Us


We recognize the importance of a good therapeutic relationship and strive to build a positive rapport with each client. And we treat each client with respect and dignity.

Well Counseling

You will learn skills of mindfulness and how to balance thoughts and feelings; and begin to build insight into your issues and have a plan to reinforce your goals.


Teletherapy is provided by using long-distance technologies so that clients and therapists do not have to be in the same place at the same time.

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Our office is dedicated to providing the best mental health services to ALL people in our community regardless of income.

Abalance Client-Centered Counseling
Provides Convenient and Effective Teletherapy in The Central Valley California

Phone: (209) 262-4387


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