Conduct Disorder

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Conduct Disorder: A Challenging Mental Disorder

Conduct disorder is a mental disorder, group of behavioral and emotional problems which is commonly diagnosed in early childhood years or early adolescence. This challenge is the most stressful issue being faced by most of the parents and most schools today as they strive to provide appropriate educational programs to them. It usually manifests itself through consistent and persistent patterns of antisocial behaviors in which basic rights of others are being violated by the child. Symptoms of such behaviors include aggressive behavior, a child develop a habit of threatening others that he or she can cause harm to them, they are also fond of bullying others and causing them to feel intimidated. Such children involved in the regular physical fight with others and can also show signs of cruelty to animals. Children and adolescents with the disorder find it difficult in adhering to rules and behaving in a socially accepted ways.

The Misunderstood Disorder

These antisocial behavior may them be perceived as delinquent or bad and commonly not referred as mental illness, the reason being most of the people do not understand how the disorder manifests itself. Such children normally often feel insecure and they believe that people are treating them badly and they are threatening towards them. There are however many types of disorders depending on the age, children between 3-6 years with this problem are taken to be undergoing childhood-onset disorder (Blair, & Pine, 2014). Though it is common for a child to sometimes behave in some violent behavior, if the behavior is long lasting then and found to be violating the rights of others or goes against the accepted norms and behavior and disrupt the child’s and the family daily life then it shows that the child is undergoing challenges in building his social and emotional life.

Behavioral Disorder and Psychology

Conduct disorder is mostly manifested through a child developing the various behavioral disorder, this disorders can be seen in various aspects which enhance child’s holistic growth. Child’s behavior is affected by psychology when child experience psychological disorder behavior is likely to be majorly affected.  Children always behave in ways which are usually described as tension-reducing habits. Some children can have a habit of sucking their thumbs, nail biting, hair pulling, head banging, hitting and biting themselves some even manipulate some of their body parts. Some of this behaviors depend on the frequency and persistence and the effect on their physical, emotional and social functioning, since some children are just aggressive in nature but not repetitively seen (Silberg & Rutter, 2015). The disorder can cause anxiety in children, children with anxiety problems they can have problems in socializing with others and they can shy away from others. This will subject children too hard situation especially when they are with others in play or in social places. Conduct disorder is common in boys than girls, these are also most common to be experienced by children who are from families with regular domestic violence, parental alcoholism a family with a history of personality disorder (Noordermeer & Oosterlaan, 2016). Most common behavioral disorders associated with conduct disorder is ODD, PTSD, ADHD a hyperactivity in behavior, mood swing disorder.

Challenges in Learning

Children with conduct disorder undergo many challenges in their learning, difficulty in schools is an early sign of potential conduct disorder problems. While the IQ of a child might be normal they may have difficulty with abstract reasoning and verbal skills. Due to their antisocial behavior, such children have no concentration and find the classroom to be a hostile environment. They have a bad attitude toward teachers as they feel that they are aggressive to them and therefore they retaliate by their antisocial behavior. They find it difficult to concentrate in class and some can even make a random movement when in class, special attention needs to be given to such children and the teachers with their caregivers should look for appropriate ways to handle them. Most children with conduct disorder therefore have poor performance in school due to truancy, this may make a child lag behind from his classmates. This academic failure and social inadequacy can trigger the development of the conduct disorder. These children are also very physically destructive, they can vandalize property due to anger, such actions, however, can harm them (Northover & Van Goozen, 2016).  

The Importance of Support and Intervention

Persistence of this disorder can cause serious problems at home, school, or child’s relationship with their peers. Such children are likely to be defiant around people and sometimes the caregivers and the teachers find it hard it handling the child. More attention and intervention need to be made to the children who have a CD to avoid them disrupting others in the class. Due to child’s negative perception of a school environment, they tend to behave badly when they are in such situation to ensure they are safe. Though it may be difficult to handle such children in a classroom, a teacher has to provide the supportive environment. A Proper curriculum that fosters all the needs that enhance learning of a child, a good environment allows children to express their emotions freely because they feel they are supported by the people around him. A teacher should also try to be friendly to the children through modeling empathy and be emotionally supportive of the children.

Strategies for Behavioral Regulation

Most teachers and caregivers do not differentiate actions from emotions, it is okay to be angry but a child should be regulated not to hit others when they are angry. A teacher should try set clear expectation and limits to children this is explaining to the child the goodness of good behaviors and the importance of behaving in acceptable ways. An example is explaining to the child that people in a family are one and they do not hurt each other and others are their friends and it is good to love them. As a teacher, engaging a child with the conduct disorder with others in a play and leading them plays a major role in taming the behavior of the child. A teacher should reinforce social skills such as greeting others and taking turns. The classroom should be well designed, it should be placed in areas away from noisy places, they are more likely to learn well in an environment that is interesting.  A boring environment will make children frustrated, availability of interesting and plentiful materials will reduce many opportunities for children to argue. The teacher should provide positive behavior support which implements a plan of intensive individualized intervention, this helps the child in developing new skills (Schoorl & Swaab, 2016).

Promoting Social Development

Children with conduct disorders need to be handled properly to enhance their social developmental growth. The health of a child greatly adds to the holistic development of a child, therefore provide them with lunch that is nutritious will also help the children with this disorder. Sometimes children behave badly when they are hungry just to pass the information on them being hungry which most might not understand. Ensuring lunch is provided at the right time and the food is delicious will lessen the chances of the child behaving weirdly. Children always enjoy snacks and it gives them happiness, snacks can, therefore, be provided to the children to swing their moods when they are not in good moods. Most preschools children are required to have a nap after the half day learning (Silberg & Rutter, 2015). This is essential to allow the children to rest, sleeping is known to moderate the child’s emotions. Free play assists a child to develop a good relationship with other peers, engaging them in a play will help the child with the disorder to develop new skills such as turn taking. Through this, the child can develop good social behaviors and learn to respect other rights.

In Conclusion

Conduct disorder is currently experienced by many children in their early years. The disorder can be caused by the environment where the child is being raised and it can also be acquired genetically. Most children who are exposed to domestic violence or raised by alcoholic parents tend to develop antisocial behaviors and mental illness. This disorder subject the child to many difficulties both socially, emotionally, physically and even cognitively. Teachers, parents, and teachers are therefore required to offer special attention to the children, this is through creating a supportive environment which makes the child feel safe to express their emotions. A teacher should make the learning class attractive and interesting to avoid boredom in children. Children know that their adults are the authoritative figures and tend to have respect towards them, however, the adults need to behave friendly to the children and not be seen as a threat. A safe environment enhances proper development of a child in all aspects.


Blair, R. J. R., Leibenluft, E., & Pine, D. S. (2014). Conduct disorder and callous–unemotional traits in youth. New England Journal of Medicine, 371(23), 2207-2216.

Noordermeer, S. D., Luman, M., & Oosterlaan, J. (2016). A systematic review and meta-analysis of neuroimaging in oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD) taking attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) into account. Neuropsychology review, 26(1), 44-72.

Northover, C., Thapar, A., Langley, K., Fairchild, G., & Van Goozen, S. H. (2016). Cortisol levels at baseline and under stress in adolescent males with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, with or without comorbid conduct disorder. Psychiatry research, 242, 130-136.

Schoorl, J., Van Rijn, S., De Wied, M., Van Goozen, S. H., & Swaab, H. (2016). Variability in emotional/behavioral problems in boys with oppositional defiant disorder or conduct     disorder: the role of arousal. European child & adolescent psychiatry, 25(8), 821-830.

Silberg, J., Moore, A. A., & Rutter, M. (2015). Age of onset and the subclassification of conduct/dissocial disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 56(7), 826-833.

June 07, 2022
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