Why Does My Child Have Behavioral Problems?

Why Does My Child Have Behavioral Problems

Brian, age 6, was very excited the day he lost his first tooth and even more thrilled when he found a dollar under his pillow the next morning from the tooth fairy. He was so happy he secretly pulled out another tooth after school. Two days later, he tried to pull out a third tooth. Over the next month, Brian pulled out three more teeth. His mother was worried about why her boy was pulling out his teeth.

Denise was 13 when she pulled a knife on her mother. The teen had been having problems with her temper for a while, but this latest incident had escalated to a whole new level. Her mother was starting to feel afraid of her own daughter.

Bonnie, age 15, seemed to go out of her way to irritate her parents and teachers. She knew how to push all their buttons with her bad behavior and managed to get them to yell at her. It’s like she wanted to pick a fight. “I just start screaming at her because she says terrible things,” her dad says.

Why did these kids have behavioral problems? They all came from loving homes, and the parents were doing their best to find solutions.

You may be dealing with behavior issues in your own children—impulsivity, compulsive behaviors, anger or aggression issues, negativity, nervousness, disruptive talking, inappropriate actions, manipulation, or others. The answers, as these parents discovered, lie in the brain.

Behavior Problems are Brain Problems

Each of the parents in the examples above was so concerned they took their children for an evaluation that included brain SPECT imaging. SPECT measures blood flow and activity in the brain and shows three things: healthy activity, areas with too much activity, and areas with decreased activity. The results for these children showed abnormal activity.

Brian’s brain scan revealed marked increased activity in his frontal lobes. When this part of the brain is overactive, people may end up getting “stuck” on certain thoughts and behaviors. In Brian’s case, it was compulsively pulling out his teeth.

Brian’s Scan:

Denise had two SPECT studies—one at rest and the other during concentration. At rest, her brain showed mild decreased activity in the back half of her left temporal lobe. When she tried to concentrate, the activity in her left temporal lobe completely shut down. The temporal lobe is involved in emotional stability, and problems in this area are associated with anger and aggression issues.

Bonnie’s brain scan at rest showed normal activity, but during concentration, there was a decrease in activity in her prefrontal cortex, which is a sign of ADD/ADHD. This area of the brain is associated with impulse control, forethought, and judgment. When the activity is low here, children may be conflict-seeking as a way to stimulate the brain. Playing “I Bet I Can Get You to Yell at Me” is like an adrenaline rush for them.

Getting Help for Your Child’s Troubled Behavior

Many parents simply hope their children will “grow out of” their problem behaviors. But left untreated, these issues can cause lasting consequences that continue or even worsen in adulthood. For example, children who don’t get the help they need are more likely to drop out of school and to abuse drugs and alcohol. They also tend to have trouble getting a job and earn less money in their lifetime. The costs are emotional, physical, and financial.

Getting the right treatment is critical. As you have learned from the brain scan results of these three children, behavioral problems are not all the same. They are associated with different brain patterns, which means they have different treatment needs. Understanding what is happening in your child’s brain is the first step to finding the most effective treatment to improve their behavior. Amen Clinics has helped thousands of children—including Brian, Denise, and Bonnie—overcome a variety of behavioral problems to improve their success in school, enhance their ability to make friends, and create a happier family life. We use brain SPECT imaging to help find targeted solutions as part of a brain-body approach to healing. If you’re concerned about your child’s behavior, speak with a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit online.


  1. Does Medicare help pay for a brain scan?

    Comment by Gina williams — June 9, 2019 @ 7:13 AM

  2. I’d like to know if Medicare covers it too.

    Comment by Gabrielle — June 17, 2019 @ 2:27 AM

  3. ARE you guys in Australia

    Comment by Jules Southcombe — June 17, 2019 @ 3:22 AM

  4. Once you’ve ruled out mental and physical issues/problems, there really is ONLY one other place to look for the explanation…

    ” Y O U ” aren’t doing your parenting job correctly… This “parenting” business is a major big deal, and you really only get one shot at it… Do it ‘half-baked’, and you will get a ‘half-baked’ kid… Plain and simple…

    There really is only one reason you raised a “Brat”… THAT IS because YOU raised a Brat… One quick TIP – HAVE RULES, A N D ENFORCE THEM… (The “rules” need to have ‘common sense’ behind them, AND THEY NEED TO BE ADJUSTED FOR AGE APPROPRIATENESS as TIME goes by… 10 year-olds and 16 year-olds obviously get different bedtimes, for example, and should have age appropriate chores as well…

    It’s likely YOU won’t have a more demanding Responsibility in your life than the one you have as a parent, and if YOU don’t do it reasonably well, you have made the world worse… Plain and simple…


    Comment by Bud Donahue — June 17, 2019 @ 4:51 AM

  5. Love the case study examples you share regularly. You talk a lot about case studies and their problems but never discuss the solutions. At the end of the day most parents have been trying the solutions already. Medication typically is involved in some form or fashion. There is a list of medicines and most likely they are already trying them. How does the Scan assist with finding solutions? Because the case studies don’t list solutions we are left with never understanding the full picture.

    Do you have patients or parents that we could contact as references?

    Where is the medical data that supports each area of problem? Having. Done the genetic testing (genesighht) we have narrowed a list of medicines for my son that is struggling. I’m not sure what value the scan provides? Theses scan have been done for many many years. They don’t give you real detailed input?

    Thank you for any additional information.


    Comment by Susan Owen — June 17, 2019 @ 5:32 AM

  6. Hello Jules, currently we only have clinics located in the United States – https://amenclinics.com/locations/. We’ll have one our Care Coordinators reach out to you to discuss further and help in any way we can.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — June 17, 2019 @ 3:15 PM

  7. Hello Gabrielle, thank you for reaching out. We are a fee-for-service outpatient mental health clinic and we don’t accept insurance. We do work with our patients to collect reimbursement where possible. We also offer financing options through Care Credit. We’d be happy to reach out to you to explain further and explore your specific needs.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — June 17, 2019 @ 3:16 PM

  8. Hi Susan, I am currently a patient at Amen here in Atlanta, also my 18 year old daughter is a current patient there. I am 61 and have had health issues since 2003. The reason they are not sharing how, is because the HOW is different with each person. I did my evaluation back in Sept of 2017. They give each person a complete circle of evals. They start with giving a plan of action and you begin with one step at a time. I had to have specific blood tests. They found I was low in specific supplements. I started those and once my body was no longer deficient, I stopped those. I am taking specific meds and they monitor my results each visit. We visit every area of our life, not just medical. All I can say is, they have helped me feel like getting out of bed each day. And my 18 year old was found to be ADHD and Bi-polar. She was extremely low on her body’s needs for a 2nd med that helped her mood. The ADHD med alone made her feel mean. It is very comprehensive and different for each person. I only touched on 1 or 2 areas of their action plans for us, we both have a list of items. And as we address each item, we feel better and different. They could not possibly lists pages of action plans. Believe me when I say, my money was well spent. I had a child die of suicide that refused to be evaluated. Had she chose this treatment, I believe she would be alive today. She was 22 and felt she could never feel better. I did the evaluation after her death, to see if my genetics helped create her death. I found help for myself, and her plan might have been the same or different. I feel guilty to this day, for not finding a way to make her do the eval. They would have found why she was having such negative life threatening issues, and she would have discovered she wasn’t crazy, she just needed to address each issue one day at a time. I cannot guarantee results, but Amen is helping me with my depression/anxiety issues and my 18 year old is totally feeling better and getting ready to start college this August with a smile on her face. Hope this helps.

    Comment by Constance H. Hober — June 28, 2019 @ 7:23 AM

  9. Please resend your email regarding the importance of Father/Daughter relationships. Your email referred to your podcasts. I tried to forward it, but LOST it.
    Thank you, Judy

    Comment by Judy Dismuke — July 1, 2019 @ 7:36 PM

  10. Here is the link to that content: https://amenclinics.com/blog/daddy-issues-how-can-they-affect-a-child/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — July 2, 2019 @ 8:07 AM

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