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Does your child have ‘conduct disorder’?

Behavioural Psychology deals with different behaviour styles. It aims to provide therapy to correct any negative or destructive behaviour. Behavioural psychology focuses on people’s behaviour, actions and emotions, along with situations that lead to a change in the same.

What is Conduct Disorder?

Conduct Disorder deals with behavioural or emotional problems that are usually observed in children or adolescents when they have difficulty in following rules or behaving in a socially acceptable way. A child with this disorder may exhibit violent and disruptive behaviour for a prolonged period of time.

Symptoms of Conduct Disorder:

The symptoms of conduct disorder are as follows –


Children tend to be aggressive and/or destructive in nature. They exhibit behaviours that threaten or cause physical harm to others or animals around them. They also involve in destruction of property around them.


May exhibit a deceptive behaviour where they lie, shoplift or indulge in theft.

3.Violation of Rules

Children tend to violate rules and pay no heed to what the others say.


Tend to be irritable and throw frequent temper tantrums


Have low self-esteem and have little or no guilt about hurting others.

What causes Conduct Disorder?

The exact cause for conduct disorder is unknown, but there are certain factors to which the disorder has been attributed. They are:

1.Biological factors

Damage to the frontal lobe of the brain has been linked to conduct disorder. This impairment can also be genetically inherited.

2.Genetic factors

It has been observed that children with conduct disorder usually have a family member having the same disorder or some other kind of mental illness.

3.Environmental factors

If the child grows up in an environment that is not favourable, he/she tends to develop conduct disorder. Family plays a crucial role in the development of a child. If the child is a part of a dysfunctional family or faces abuse or has had a traumatic past, the child tends to be more violent and has difficulty in conducting himself/herself in the society.

4.Psychological factors

Some reports suggest that the disorder reflects the lack of moral values in the child. Moral values like honesty, ethical behaviour, empathy and care must be instilled in the child right from the beginning.

5.Social factors

Social factors like family status or not being accepted by people around may push a child to develop conduct disorder.

Strategies that schools can adopt:

Handling children with any kind of disorder requires utmost patience and determination. The same holds true for a child with conduct disorder.

Some strategies that can be taken up by the school/teacher are:

Aggression management sessions Sessions can be conducted where students are taught to manage their temper right from a very young age.

Skill development

Certain skills like attention, life skills, social skills can be developed through regular workshops.

Emotion management Children should be introduced to different emotions and should be taught to differentiate between positive and negative emotions.

Counselling sessions

Each school can set up a counselling cell and students showing indication of any psychological disorder can be counselled such that the disorder is curbed at its onset

Within the classroom

Within the classroom, a teacher can help students in identifying good action and bad action. Students should accept the teachers as their mentors and approach them whenever they have any issue so that it can be resolved at the earliest. The teachers have to be understanding and firm at the same time, to help the child develop a better attitude.

Strategies that parents can adopt:

Get help

Parents can approach a psychologist/therapist to help the child.

Having a positive attitude Having a positive attitude will help the child to start believing in himself/herself and will encourage him/her to turn a new leaf.


Determination and will power are the key to help a child overcome the disorder.

Strict Routine In order to overcome the disorder, a strict routine is a must. Parents must remain firm with the schedule and not give in to the child’s demands.

Parental training Parental training is designed to help parents develop the skills necessary to manage their child’s behaviour and development.

Conduct Disorder must be identified and curbed at the earliest. If a child is let to behave according to his/her own terms, without following certain norms, the child may grow up to become an anti-social element.


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