Conduct Disorder in children

A psychiatric condition which has been on the increase for the last few years is conduct disorder in children. This is a mental disorder in which the child has a tendency towards extremely violent behavior. There is no single set of signs or symptoms rather it is a group of behavioral and emotional problems that children may face.

The treatment of this disorder is best carried out as soon as the telltale symptoms appear in the behavior of the child. Behavior deviations that can be seen in conduct disorder in children are outlined here.


Conduct disorder in children can manifest as aggression towards people or animals. The child may be prone to kicking, biting, pinching or yelling.

These children can be bullies who enjoy threatening other children who are smaller or weaker than they are. There is a tendency to start fights by continuously goading a classmate.

They relish the opportunity of a physical fight. Using fists and feet to hurt someone smaller than them is common. They can even be unbelievably cruel to small animals that they have managed to catch. Things like mutilating the animal have also been done by children suffering from this disorder.


Conduct disorder in children is also characterized by destruction of property. There is little or no respect for property be it their own or someone else’s. They can be involved in arson. That is the deliberate act of setting fire to property with the intention of causing damage and harm. They actually get a kick out of destroying someone else’s property. Vandalizing property of others such as tearing up a classmate’s notebook, or using a knife to threaten someone is also possible.

They may not be too concerned about their own safety as well. Criminal activity is seen at a young age with children who are suffering from this mental disease.


Conduct disorder in children often manifests as lying or stealing. The deceitfulness is another symptom that can be seen in the behavior of the child. They do not respond well to rules. There is a tendency to skip school and not like some teenagers do. The natural rebel period of truancy starts after 13 and is considered normal. However in the case of a child with conduct disorder the truancy begins much before the age of 13.

There is also a tendency to break rules just because they can. They avoid obligations and not respond well to parental restrictions. They also tell lies to avoid doing something that they find distasteful or to obtain a favor.


The child may steal from fellow classmates whom he is bullying, or even from the wallet of the father at home. They have a habit of sweeping up any money that is left lying around in the house, or may even dig into where they know the household money is kept. They can indulge in shoplifting outside the home as well. The child may even break and enter into someone else’s property to steal something that caught the child’s fancy.