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Behavior Problems

Types of Behavioral Problems :

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) :

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a type of behavior problem in which children are openly hostile, uncooperative, and irritable. They lose their tempers and are mean and spiteful towards others. They often do things to deliberately annoy other people. Most of their defiant behaviour is directed at authority figures, but they also sometimes behave the same way towards their siblings, playmates, or classmates. Their home life, school life, and peer relationships are seriously negatively affected because of the way they think and behave.

Conduct Disorder (CD) :

Conduct Disorder (CD) is sometimes a later, more serious, phase of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). A child with CD is not just a child being "bad"; CD is a serious psychiatric disorder that requires professional help.

Children with this condition are aggressive all the time in a way that causes problems for them and their family. They may threaten or actually harm people or animals, or they may damage or destroy property. They may steal or shoplift, or even be involved in breaking and entering. They often lie or try to "con" other people. They frequently skip school.

Causes of Behavioral Problems :

Many children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) have other mental health problems like depression, anxiety, or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD). Their difficult behaviours are often a reaction to the symptoms of these conditions.

Children with ODD are more likely than other children to have a family history of behavior problems, mood problems, or substance abuse. Sometimes if caregiving is poor, supervision is lacking, or there is family discord or exposure to violence, children will respond by developing the symptoms of ODD. Having a mother with untreated depression also makes children more likely to have ODD. Both ODD and CD are associated with harsh parenting practices.

Treatment for Behavioral Problem :

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) improve their mood and control their anger. CBT works by making the child aware of the thinking patterns that fuel their behaviour, and teaching them ways of counteracting that thinking.

Social skills training may also be helpful to the child with ODD. Family therapy that helps change how the family functions can also help.

Many parents of children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder (CD) punish their children harshly and are very critical of them, usually because of their own life experience and because they suffer from depression. Changing these parenting practices can help the child and benefit the family as a whole. If the parents, particularly the mothers, are unable to develop new ways of parenting, their children may go on to develop the more serious condition of Conduct Disorder (CD).

In treatment, it is very important to focus on other conditions the child may have. Children who have AD/HD, depression, or anxiety tend to lose symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) when their other problems are successfully treated. These are often easier to treat than ODD.

Conduct Disorder (CD) is harder to treat than Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and becomes worse as a child gets older. This makes early intervention extremely important. Programs that can be effective include parent training, family therapy, and Multisystemic Therapy (MST), an intensive program that treats the whole family and also involves school and community. Programs that are punitive or threatening in nature are not shown to be effective and may even cause more harm than good.