Ability to Love, Impulse Control, Moral Reasoning

If you think your child has CD please seek a mental health evaluation by a competent professional. CD is the most direct precurser to adult antisocial personality disorder. You cannot conquer this alone!

Children with CD are very hard to live with! There are numerous web sites and parenting programs that claim to be able to help parents with CD kids turn them into compliant, rule-abiding children. Remember that children with CD likely have a certain temperament that may get easier with the right parenting, but is unlikely to totally transform.

Just what is the right parenting approach to use with a child with CD? First, consider the inner triangle. If you work on increasing your child's enjoyment of love and his ability to love, he will naturally become more respectful and less aggressive. Teach your child to love by spending lots of quality time with him. Try to find constructive activities he likes that you can do together. It is very important to keep kids and teens with CD away from peers with the same disorder. Do not allow violent videogames or violent television in your home!

Do not keep alcohol in your home if your child has CD. Do not allow your child with CD to attend unsupervised parties. The younger a child with CD starts drinking, the more likely he is to become an alcoholic. The combination of CD and addiction is very hard to treat.

Find ways to redirect your child's energy into something constructive. The best outlet for this need for power is to become good at doing things or to develop competency. Have your child participate in athletics, learn music, enjoy art or some other hobby.

If you respond to your child's rule-breaking and challenges to your authority by becoming aggressive (using yelling and spanking) his drive for social dominance will likely be further stimulated. He will become more aggressive and defiant the more you try to directly assert power over him. To put it bluntly, beating him will not improve his behavior. These kids have a hard time learning from punishment. Assuming the role of teacher is the best way to correct a child or teen with CD.

Children with CD do need firm limits, enforced through consequences. The purpose of these limits is to teach impulse control. If children are able to develop better impulse control they will be less overcome by their aggressive drives.

Kids with CD also have a problem with moral reasoning. These kids need adults to model and teach moral lessons and behavior.

Genetic Connection Between ADHD, Addiction and Antisocial Behavior

Just Like His Father? will help you understand and cope with your child's conduct disorder $14.95.

Conduct Disorder and the Inner Triangle

Children with conduct disorder (CD) have problems with all three sides of the Inner Triangle. Ability to Love, Impulse Control and Moral Reasoning are all severely impaired in kids with CD. About a quarter of boys with ADHD can also be diagnosed with CD. The condition is thought to affect 6% to 16% of boys and 2% to 9% of girls.

Conduct disorder is diagnosed when children show a pattern of violating rules. The rule-breaking behaviors of these children fall into four categories:

1. Aggression to people and animals

3. Deceitfulness or theft

4. Serious violations of rules

often bullies, threatens, or intimidates others

often initiates physical fights

has used a weapon that can cause serious physical harm to others (e.g., a bat, brick, broken bottle, knife, gun)

has been physically cruel to people

has been physically cruel to animals

has stolen while confronting a victim (e.g., mugging, purse snatching, extortion, armed robbery)

has forced someone into sexual activity

2. Destruction of property

has deliberately engaged in fire setting with the intention of causing serious damage

has deliberately destroyed others' property (other than by fire setting)

has broken into someone else's house, building, or car

often lies to obtain goods or favors or to avoid obligations (i.e., "cons" others)

has stolen items of nontrivial value without confronting a victim (e.g., shoplifting, but without breaking and entering; forgery)

often stays out at night despite parental prohibitions, beginning before age 13 years

has run away from home overnight at least twice while living in parental or parental surrogate home (or once without returning for a lengthy period)

is often truant from school, beginning before age 13 years

There are two groups of kids with CD, those who begin these behaviors prior to age 10, and those who begin these behaviors after age 10. The earlier the disorder shows its full form, the harder it is to reverse. About half of kids with CD will go on to antisocial personality disorder as adults. Many more will develop substance abuse issues and addiction.

In order to reduce the number of adults with antisocial personality disorder and addiction we have to start early treating conduct disorder in kids.

Visit the Forum to share your experiences, joys and sorrows with other parents of at-risk children.


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