It is thought that around one child in 20 aged between five and 16 suffers from a conduct disorder, which results in persistent and often extreme misbehaviour. The new guidelines have been created by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) to help parents spot these conditions in their children.
All children misbehave from time to time, but the way children with conduct disorders act is very different.
The main difference is that children with conduct disorders misbehave persistently at school and at home. Their actions are usually more extreme as well – they may steal, fight, vandalise property or even hurt people and animals.
Prof Steven Pilling helped to develop the guidelines and believes it is important for parents to not only be taught the difference between being naughty and having a conduct disorder, but also how to deal with this type of behaviour.
The guidelines advise parents to encourage positive behaviour rather than administering harsh punishments. Roughly half of those suffering from an antisocial behaviour issue will miss out on important parts of their childhood as well as going on to suffer from mental health issues as adults. Some get into trouble with the law and go on to be repeat offenders.
NICE and SCIE believe early intervention is key to breaking this chain. Prof Peter Fongy, professor of psychoanalysis at University College London, has said:
“Recognising and accurately diagnosing a conduct disorder is vital to ensuring children and their families are able to access the treatment and support they need to manage the condition.”
If you are struggling to cope with your child’s behaviour it may benefit you to speak to a counsellor. For more information, please see our Child Related Issues page.
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