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4 Ways Parents Can Help Kids Who Act Out

How to change the family environment to improve problem behavior

Clinical Expert: Mary McKernan Mckay, PhD

Mary McKernan McKay, MSW, PhD, a social worker, researcher, and director of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at NYU, gives advice on managing problem behaviors and aggression in children. In particular, she says, parents need to understand why kids might act out, and how putting thought and effort into a few specific areas of family life can have transformative effects. And the benefits aren’t just for children, but for the whole family.

Dr. McKay urges both caregivers and clinicians to visit the Clinic Technical Assistance Center for information on community-based interventions.

This article was last reviewed or updated on December 5, 2023.