What are conduct disorders?
They are behavioral problems that occur in children and teenagers. These young people have a hard time following rules and behaving in socially acceptable ways. Because they are often viewed as “bad” or “delinquent,” they receive a negative reaction from others and will often behave even worse. Causes of these conduct disorders are unknown but may include brain damage, child abuse, growth defects, negative family and social experiences, and failure in school. Some children with a conduct disorder also have an attention deficit disorder or depression.
What to look for…
Children with conduct disorders will often pick a fight or argument with other children and adults. They often bully, threaten and intimidate others, and are sometimes cruel to animals. They have a major problem with appropriately expressing anger. They often lie, steal, destroy property, violate rules, try to “con” others, and exhibit sexual misbehavior. The future of these youngsters is likely to be unhappy unless they and their families can receive early, ongoing and comprehensive treatment. Without treatment, many are unable to adapt to the demands of adulthood and continue to have problems with relationships and holding a job as they grow older. They will also often break the law and may continue to behave in an antisocial manner.
What can you do?
Treating children with conduct disorders is difficult because the illness is complex and each child is unique. Fear and distrust of adults and an uncooperative attitude add to the treatment challenge. Counseling geared towards changing behavior and thinking patterns is usually needed to help the child learn how to appropriately express an control their anger. Youngsters with learning disabilities may require remedial education, and parents may need expert assistance with special behavior management and education programs at home and school. Medication may be used, especially with children who have difficulty paying attention and controlling themselves or those with depression. Because new attitudes and behavior patterns take time, treatment is rarely brief. However, treatment does offer a good chance for improvement in the present and hope for a more successful and happy life in the future.
Diana Smith, PhD, LPC-MH owns and operates Serenity Mental Health Services and is licensed by the National Board of Certified Counselors. License number is LPC-MH2025 and she follows the ethical guidelines described by the NBCC found at their web site www.nbcc.org/webethics2. Diana is a member of the National Board for Certified Counselors, Certification Number 43911. In addition, she is also a member of the American Counseling Association, Member ID# 5140627. Online counseling can help you right now. Research has made it clear that this manner of offering therapy is effective and those who’ve experienced it have said they would seek it out again.