Bad Children Can Happen To Good Parents

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When a child demonstrates unhealthy behavior, the root of the problem is due to actions of the parents.Some children have a genetic predisposition to bad behavior and are more difficult to raise than others. The notion of 'there are no bad children, only bad parents' has been the cross parents have had to bear for decades, placing guilt for difficult children squarely on them. For years, classical and modern psychology suggested that when a child demonstrates unhealthy behavior, the root of the problem is due to actions of the parents.

Even parents who believe they have done everything possible are either labeled by others -- or themselves -- as failures as parents.

However, Norman E. Hoffman, Ph.D. firmly disagrees and makes a strong case for why bad children often happen despite the best efforts of parents. His new book, Bad Children Can Happen to Good Parents: A Survival Manual for Parents of Difficult Children, makes the case that sometimes, despite good parenting, a child may go astray. Hoffman introduces readers to a concept some parents and mental health professionals may find surprising: "Uncaring Child Syndrome." Children who suffer from this syndrome lack a sense of guilt and remorse and often blame others for their problems and behavior.

Hoffman delves into not only how to identify this problem, but also the best course of action once a child is diagnosed with "Uncaring Child Syndrome." He wrote the book to aid both parents and professionals.

"I wanted to help parents recognize the early warning signs of uncaring antisocial behavior and eliminate the paralyzing parental 'guilt' and to also help therapists identify, screen and diagnose, and develop appropriate treatment plan for the child with uncaring antisocial behavior," says Hoffman.

The book has been favorably reviewed on Amazon.com by Thomas H. Harrell, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Florida Institute of Technology, and Dr. Phil Sinaikin, psychiatrist and member of The American Board of Psychology and Neurology.

Hoffman said his pro bono service, like his book, is intended to help get families back on track.

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Hoffman, an expert court witness in forensic mental health evaluations, says recognition of the reality of why some children are 'bad' can lead to answers and effective treatment.

"Once parents understand and recognize the problem, the children themselves can also take steps to improving their situation," notes Hoffman. "I want to help children gain feelings of responsibility and accountability as a doorway to improved behavior."

Dr. Norman E. Hoffman, a licensed mental health counselor and marriage and family therapist, specialized in therapy for children at the world-renowned Devereux Foundation. He also completed a one-year clinical internship at the Menninger Memorial Hospital. He conducts workshops which enhance the skills of mental health professionals and is an expert court witness in forensic mental health evaluations.

He is also the founder of The Hoffman Institute (HI) in Daytona Beach. HI was developed to serve families by providing specialized assessments and treatment plans for parents of difficult children. His second book, Bad Children Can Happen to Good Parents, has already resulted in national media appearances including FOX News Live.

Hoffman also has recently established a new program -- the Pro Bono Forensic mental Health Evaluation Program. This is a free mental health evaluation program for parents of difficult children in low to moderate income families. The offer includes the assessment, a report and a treatment plan that might be sufficient to help solve some problems, since not all children need counseling or psychological help, Hoffman said.

An arm of the institute includes the National Board of Forensic Evaluators, an agency endorsed and recognized by the American Counseling Association and the American Mental Health Counselors Association for national certification of forensic mental health expert court evaluators.

Released by The Hoffman Institute

This page is updated on March 15, 2013

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