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Tips for Coping with Conduct Disorder

If you believe your child is either moving into conduct disorder or appears to already be there, use the Heads Up Checkup symptom checker to verify your observations. Then check out the five tips below:

Acknowledge the situation.

As parents, we never expect to be faced with our own child’s intimidation or illegal behavior(s).  It’s tempting to rationalize or make excuses for our children’s behaviors. However, by doing so, we may be making things worse.  Accepting the reality of our situation certainly does not mean we are accepting our child’s behaviors. Rather, it means we are acknowledging the situation and are more likely to seek the help needed. It also gives you, as the parent, a starting point for how to respond to the behaviors displayed.

Safety for you, your child, and other family members should be your number one priority.

As much as possible, avoid putting yourself in situations where your child can physically intimidate you. This may sound like you are allowing your child to control you and your home, but instead, it simply means that you are acknowledging the situation for what it is, not what you would like it to be. Moreover, you are avoiding escalating the situation. Often times, the physical intimidation is an attempt to control you through fear. The moment your child recognizes that you are afraid of him or her is the moment the power in the relationship shifts to your child. It’s important to reiterate that safety is difficult to achieve if you have not acknowledged the situation for what it is.

Avoid blame.

Placing the blame for your child’s behavior will not do anything to help. Blaming yourself, your child’s other parent, friends/peers, or even your child is a waste of time. It’s important to hold your child accountable, but blaming him or her will only leave you feeling angry and resentful; which in turn may keep you from responding effectively to the negative behaviors. Children and adolescents with conduct disorder typically strive to manipulate others. Getting you to take responsibility for negative behavior can be a form of your child’s manipulation.

Control what you can.

Although it may seem nearly impossible to control a child with conduct disorder, it is important to keep in mind that you do still have some areas of control. For instance, if your child is cutting class do not buy him or her all the clothes and shoes they want. Simply put, a child who chooses not to attend class does not need new clothes for class. If you feel that your child or adolescent is being violent toward you or another family member, call the police. Yes, this sounds very harsh.  However, by doing so, you are showing that there are consequences for violating the rights of others.

Get help.

A behavioral health professional can help you deal effectively with conduct disorder. Getting the support you need will you help bring control back in your life and ease the stress in parenting a child with conduct disorder. Don’t try to do it on your own! The support you need and deserve is available to you.

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