See Inside Scientific American Mind Volume 25, Issue 2

Parent Training Can Improve Kids' Behavior

An interactive parent-training programcan stamp out behavior problemsin kids—and abuse from parents

When a parent repeats what her child says, she lets the child lead, encourages conversation, and shows she is engaged. Such mimicry improves the parent-child relationship—and, ultimately, the child's behavior.


On a Thursday in early August, psychologist Steven Kurtz is preparing one of his clients, Maria, for a therapy session. A calm, cheerful woman with long, dark hair, Maria has been in training at the Child Mind Institute in New York City with her six-year-old son, Ryan (not his real name), for months to ready him for this day. Her goal seems simple: to coax Ryan to obey a simple command. But Ryan does not take direction well.

Maria and Ryan are undertaking a brand of parent training called Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) designed to correct oppositional behavior in children. Until now, Maria has let Ryan pick their activities. Today, for the first time, Maria will choose something to do.

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content

It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Scientific American Mind Digital

Get 6 bi-monthly digital issues
+ 1yr of archive access for just $9.99

Hurry this offer ends soon! >


Email this Article


Next Article