All children are sometimes unrestrained and aggressive. This behavior is caused by unsatisfied desires, a growing up crisis, family conflicts, misunderstanding on the part of parents. However, parents need to be aware that it can also be caused not only by character traits, but be a persistent symptom of a behavioral disorder, which is called oppositional defiant disorder. A child who suffers from his manifestations is distinguished by hostility, disobedience, the fact that he constantly ignores requests and rules. How can adults distinguish behavioral deviations from a child’s bad mood, righteous anger? What treatment is indicated for children with conduct disorder? Read this article.
Conduct disorder in a child
Experts say that this type of behavior disorder does not occur in adolescent children, but is inherent in toddlers and preschoolers. Oppositional defiant disorder can appear in a child at 3 years old, 4-6 years old. It is worth remembering that children’s irascibility and incontinence are not yet reasons for parental concerns. Oppositional conduct disorder can only be diagnosed by a specialist. He does this by taking a history of the child’s character, diseases, characteristics and observation.
How to distinguish a diagnosis from a crisis?
Almost all parents know that a child experiencing an age crisis has an unstable behavior – he breaks down on the people around him, rebel, it is difficult for him to give instructions, as if he deliberately does the opposite or “out of spite”. The difference between the diagnosis and the behavioral characteristics differs, first of all, in that the disease is always in a progressive state. The child’s usual irascibility is replaced by periods of calm and calm, having received an external stimulus, it can appear again.
Signs of the disorder:
- loss of composure;
- irritation, outbursts of anger;
- manifestation of anger and resentment;
- the habit of arguing on any occasion, even if he does not understand the subject of the dispute at all;
- demonstrative refusal of requests from adults – parents, relatives, teachers, regardless of whether they ask for something friendly, affectionate or demand;
- a conscious desire to do things that cause irritation and anger on the part of other people;
- the habit of being in the role of a victim – so, the child is inclined to blame others for his problems, difficulties, avoids responsibility;
- a tendency to vindictive behavior.
Oppositional defiant disorder is always at its peak. Experts note that a child can behave angry, rude, irritable for several months. The duration of aggressive behavior is the main difference between the disease and age-related manifestations, such as negativism and stubbornness at the age of three, adaptation to schooling, and a difficult adolescence.
Psychologists distinguish 3 degrees of conduct disorder.
- Weak. Aggressive signs appear in a child in one area of life, for example, only at home or at school.
- Middle. The negative symptoms are active in several areas.
- Strong. The child behaves unrestrained and angry almost always, in any situation with different people.
It should be noted that behavioral deviations such as violations of the law, physical aggression, antisocial behavior such as theft and cruelty preclude this diagnosis and speak of other behavioral and personality disorders.
Causes of the disorder in children
Psychologists and other professionals who study behavioral disorders in children say that there are no obvious reasons that could cause this disorder. They appear as a complex of factors causing the onset of the disorder. Among them are genetic characteristics, the temperament of the child, and the characteristics of the nervous system. The upbringing factor also plays an important role. Pedagogical neglect, emotional, physical violence in the family, excessively rigid discipline, ignorance of children’s needs, lack of intimacy between children and parents provoke the development of a behavioral disorder.
Prevention of behavioral disorders
Oppositional defiant disorder is treatable, however, parents should be aware that they can keep a child from developing if they recognize the factors that threaten his personality in time. For example, children who grow up in the following conditions are prone to the formation of a behavioral disorder:
- adult abuse;
- lack of parental control, when children are left to themselves and do what they want;
- neglect of children’s feelings, emotional detachment;
- discipline in the family, which has no consistency – the parent, depending on his mood, first allows the child to do everything, and then, suddenly, severely begins to restrict him, without explaining, at the same time, the reasons for the prohibitions;
- one of the parents has a mental illness, alcohol, drug addiction.
Not only the mother and father can, by their interaction with the child, provoke the formation of a personality disorder in him, also, any authority figures – teachers, relatives, older brothers, sisters – can do this.
All these conditions are dangerous for the child’s psyche and provoke the formation of a defiant oppositional disorder. Realizing this, it is in the power of parents and specialists to change the conditions in which the child lives; otherwise, he will need long-term psychotherapeutic and, possibly, drug treatment.
If you do not turn to a specialist in time, then the behavior of children can have complications. Among them – a decline in school performance, behavior that cannot be called socially acceptable, loss of control over their feelings, suicidal attempts, alcohol and drug abuse.
In addition, oppositional behavioral disorder can be exacerbated by disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depressive manifestations, anxiety, communication difficulties, and learning disabilities.
If the child is not treated, all of these disorders reinforce each other’s effects.
The best prevention of the disease is the absence of any risk factors for the normal functioning of the child’s psyche, full-fledged communication and development, early access to a doctor.