Conduct Disorder in Children

Conduct disorder is a physical and emotional disorder seen in children and teens. Children suffering from this disorder may show anti-social and destructive behavior. Teens generally show behavioral problem, but in conduct disorder, he/she may show behavioral problems for more than 6 months. The child may exhibit problems such as bullying, fights,theft, arson, not following the rules and other behavioral problems.

About 2 t0 16 percent of children in US suffer from conduct disorder. Conduct disorder in children can lead to further problems such as criminal activity, depression, poor relationships etc. Hence, early detection followed by family support and therapy can help in the child to grow up in a normal way.

Signs of Conduct Disorder in Children?

Following are the signs of conduct disorder:

  • Aggressive behavior – bullying, fights, using weapons, forcing someone into sexual activity
  • Destructive behavior – destruction property, arson
  • Deceitfulness- stealing, lying, shoplifting
  • Not following the rules – running away from home, skipping school

What Causes Conduct Disorder?

  • Injury or defects of the brain
  • Environmental factors such as family neglect, maternal rejection, abuse
  • Genetic causes – family members with mood disorder can increase the risk of conduct disorder
  • Poor relationship with others and peers
  • Poverty

Conduct Disorder Treatment:

Conduct disorder in children has the following treatment options:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy – which focuses on improving communication skills, anger-management skills etc.
  • Family therapy – making changes in the family environment, improving family interactions
  • Peer group therapy – focuses on developing social skills
  • Medications

How To Prevent Conduct Disorder?

  • Parents can pay attention to the signs and symptoms and try to improve to conditions
  • Consult a psychologist or psychotherapist at early signs of conduct disorder
  • Minimizing distress to the child
  • Providing a supportive home environment
  • Balancing both discipline and affection

Parents can take up parent management training (PMT) which involves teaching parents to behave positively to the behavior of the child.

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