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Conduct Disorder in Children

Conduct disorder can also be referred as ‘disruptive behavioral disorder’. Children suffering from this disorder have trouble following the social codes of conduct. The lack of social development in children inclines them towards violating laws and behaving in an anti-social manner. This condition mostly affects children in the age group of 9 to 17 years.

Boys are more likely to suffer from this disorder than girls. Similarly, this disorder is more prevalent in cities than in rural areas. It diagnosis can be done when the child shows the symptoms for 6 months or more. A child suffering from conduct disorder can be a threat to other children, animals as well as society. Since the child has a disregard for rules, he may prove to be a nuisance when he grows up.

Although, conduct disorder is reported amongst children within the age group of 9 to 14, the signs of conduct disorder can be picked as early as few months of age. Babies who tend to fuss a lot or are aggressive are at a risk of conduct disorder. Mostly, the seeds of conduct disorder are sown in early childhood. If the child suffers trauma in the form of physical abuse in childhood, he is more likely to become a bully, later in his life. Similarly, children of parents with mental illnesses are also at a risk of conduct disorder. Marital discord, maternal rejection, separation with parents in early childhood, early institutionalization can also elevate the risk of this disorder. Children who are deprived of proper care and attention in childhood are also prone to becoming a victim. This is especially true in case of large families with many children where parents tend to neglect their children. Often poverty forces children to indulge in illicit activities.

Children with conduct disorder have a serious problem with law. They cannot abide by the school rules and regulations. As a result they are often detained or expelled from school. They often show poor academic performance with high percentage of truancy. Aggressive behavior in children with conduct disorder leads to petty thefts, shoplifting, incidences of break-ins, damage to property, etc. Often these children also fall prey to addictions such as tobacco, drugs, alcohol, etc. Early substance abuse and indulgence in premature sexual activities endanger the lives of these children. They become vulnerable to many sexually transmitted diseases. The children usually find it very difficult to establish and maintain friendly relationships with their peers or other adults.

Unfortunately, conduct disorder is one of the most difficult behavior disorders to treat. Nonetheless, there are certain support groups and services which aim to help families with children suffering from conduct disorder. Counseling, family therapies are some of the ways of correcting such behavior. Parents of such children are provided with special training in order to handle the problematic behavior of their child. Oftentimes, families are advised to seek the help of a behavioral psychologist for their children. Conduct disorder can be better corrected if it has been diagnosed during early stages. Children who have become used to such reckless behavior are least likely to respond to any kind of treatment. Hence, if your child exhibits any of the above mentioned symptoms, it is important that you start seeking help for him. Contacting the families of children with similar problem may help you to form a support group and thus you will be able to address the issue collectively.

Conduct disorder in children often paves way for a criminal career. Hence, it is necessary to address this issue as soon as it is diagnosed. Also, make sure to offer a conducive environment for the sound growth of your children to protect them from such disorders.

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