CONDUCT DISORDERS

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Dr Vihang N Vahia
Q. What are conduct disorders ?
Conduct disorders are a group of habitual, socially unacceptable behaviour patterns which lead to a breach of another person's rights or freedom.

Q. What are the

types of conduct disorders

?

Conduct disorders can be divided into various types: -
- Conduct disorders causing minor harm to others like lying, staying out after dark
- Moderate : Stealing without harming, vandalism
- Forced sex, Physical cruelty, using a weapon, robbing a victim, breaking and entering

Q. My 8 - year old child has started lying to me. What should I do ?
Most children experiment with various behaviour in their growing up period. It is advisable to respond appropriately to the child i.e. neither ignore nor overreact to the situation. When the child tells a lie, sit and explain to the child why lying doesn't help rather than being punitive about it.
Child should be rewarded for every good behaviour and punished for bad behaviour. This reward and In such situations, depending upon the age of the child, token economy can be tried. Here the punishment should be proportionate to the event and consistent over time.

Q. I have recently found my 10-year-old child

stealing a few things from the house

. How do I deal with it ?

First and foremost, you must understand that there are various reasons for stealing. The child may steal because his/her legitimate demands are not fulfilled. Another reason might be that he/she saw someone else doing it or may even steal to seek attention. The worst scenario would be when the child needs additional funds for drug abuse or sex.
One can deal with such a situation by use of token economy and a one - to - one discussion with the child. Parents should be persuasively firm and not aggressively firm.
It is also important to find out if your child has a nasty acquaintance that persuades or provokes the child to do such things. It is important to wean the child off this acquaintance instead of criticizing that nasty person by keeping the child busy in other activities. Parents should be vigilant and the parent - child bond has to be maintained strong.

Q. My child came home from school all hurt and bruised. On questioning him, I found out that some bully in school had beaten him up. What should I do ?
First step would be why your child was beaten up: -
- Did he instigate the bully? Did he instigate the bully?
- Who beat him up?
- How did your child react to the beating up?
Parenting involves preparing the child to accept defeats in life. In most instances, defeats are intellectual, financial or emotional. Prepare the child to fend for himself at school and inform the school authorities of suspicion of hooliganism.
In order to prevent such an incident from occurring again, tell your child to prepare a strategy where he doesn't encounter the bully and also to learn to fend for himself.

Q. I recently received a complaint from school that my child is

bullying everyone in school

. However, I find him to be very courteous at home. How do I prevent him from bullying others ?

Bullying can be a manifestation of various behaviours for e.g. attention - seeking behaviour, depression or other behavioural disorders . Bullying depends on the family upbringing and environment. If bullying is not properly treated, the child may become a dangerous person where it may ultimately lead to bullying of the parents. It needs to be treated with counseling or psychotherapy.

Q. Do conduct disorders run in families ?
Yes, conduct disorders tend to run in families. Conduct disorders can eventually develop into adult personality disorders.

Q. Is a
genetic workup required for children with conduct disorders
?

A genetic workup may be required if some abnormalities are seen on physical examination.

Q. How would children with conduct disorders behave in adulthood ?
Conduct disorders, if ignored, may lead to adult personality disorders. Early onset conduct disorders may have a worse prognosis. However, children when treated properly usually have no problems in adulthood.



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First Created : 12/23/2000
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