Are You Struggling To Manage Your Child’s Behavior?

Little girl in a red dress sitting on a boardwalk hugging teddybear, view from behind

Are you worried about your child’s developmental and what will happen if his or her behavioral issues become more problematic? Do you feel too embarrassed by your child’s behavior to invite people into your home or to take him or her with you to work or social events? Maybe your child throws temper tantrums or argues with you about every instruction you give. Or perhaps he or she doesn’t know how else to behave, and your disciplinary response or his or her environment may be unintentionally encouraging the behavior. Have the challenges of managing your child’s behavior problems led to increased stress or arguments with your partner? Have you almost given up trying to connect with and support your child, perhaps even believing that you have failed as a parent? Do you wish you had the skills and resources needed to know how to pick your battles and productively manage your child’s behavior?

Almost All Parents Deal With Behavior Challenges

Many parents have normal and valid questions, doubts and concerns about how to build a healthy, respectful and productive relationship with their child. Whether they are arguing, lying or using physical aggression, there are a variety of reasons why children develop inappropriate patterns of behavior. Difficult behavior is often reinforced by other children or adults, and a lack of consistency can make it hard for children to know how to behave. And, many children between 2 and 8-years-old are very aware of their environment, decisions and the reactions of adults, and anger or disobedience may be a way to test the limits of what is appropriate. Countless struggling parents turn to books, blogs and other resources, searching for parenting skills and techniques in a scattered fashion and failing to see any improvements. The good news is that there are steps you can take to manage difficult behavior and connect with your child.

What is Parent-Child Interaction Therapy?

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an evidence based dyadic behavioral intervention for children (ages 2.0 – 7.0 years) and their parents or caregivers that focuses on decreasing externalizing child behavior problems (e.g., defiance, aggression), increasing child social skills and cooperation, and improving the parent-child relationship.

How Does PCIT Work?


One-Way Mirror. Parent-Child. Dyad. Play. Materials. Table. Therapist. Sound.

PCIT uses non-judgmental live coaching and positive, constructive feedback to help parents address the challenges in parent-child relationship. Instead of giving parents techniques to try at home, PCIT offer direct coaching and immediate feedback so you can practice communication and parenting skills in a safe environment. During sessions, you and your child will interact while your therapist observes from a separate room. Using a one-way-radio called a “bug-in-the-ear,” your therapist will coach you and provide feedback as you learn new, more effective parenting skills that work for you.PCIT is conducted in two phases. The first phase focuses on creating or strengthening a positive and mutually rewarding relationship between the parent and child. The second phase focuses on learning and using effective behavior management strategies to improve compliance and decrease disruptive behavior.In addition to providing collaborative coaching and immediate feedback, we collect data during every session and use progress monitoring to review and revise our treatment plan as needed. By understanding how you and your child interact and identifying what approaches do or don’t work and when, you can take strategic steps to improve behavior and feel more confident in your parenting skills. As a part of PCIT, and with your permission, we can work with your school or other providers to ensure your child receives the support and reinforcement he or she needs outside of sessions.

How long is PCIT treatment?

PCIT is time-unlimited; families remain in treatment until parents have demonstrated mastery of the treatment skills and rate their child’s behavior as within normal limits on a standardized measure of child behavior. Therefore treatment length varies but averages about 14 weeks, with hour-long weekly sessions.

Does PCIT have homework?

Yes. Caregivers in PCIT practice the special communication skills at home with the child every day for five minutes.

Is PCIT effective?

PCIT is an exceptionally effective treatment for young children with behavior problems. Research shows that PCIT helps children to obey rules, reduces their aggressive and destructive behavior, improves their social skills, and strengthens the parent-child relationship. PCIT has been identified as an evidence-based program by the Substance Abuse Mental Health and Services Administration (SAMHSA) and by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) http://nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/pcit_general.pdf

Information on the efficacy of PCIT is also available on the PCIT International website at http://www.pcit.org/

Will PCIT be effective for my child?

We are committed to working collaboratively with you to maximize treatment benefits for your child and family. Together we develop specific treatment goals, monitor your child’s progress on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, and tailor the intervention to your child’s specific needs, your parenting style, and your family’s cultural beliefs and values.

How do I find out if my child is eligible for PCIT?

To find out if PCIT is the right treatment for your child, we will meet for initial consultation that includes an interview with you, completion of questionnaires about your child’s behavior, and an observation of you and your child playing together. The consultation usually takes two sessions.

Whom do I contact?

If you are interested in PCIT services please contact Chupik Counseling main office at: 512-201-4006, ext. 0 (Austin Area), 254-773-4022, ext. 0 (Temple and Killeen). An intake specialist will answer any questions you might have and can help you schedule an initial consultation if you decide to move forward.