New guidelines issued on spotting problem behaviour in children

How to tell if your child is just being naughty, or has a conduct disorder


New guidelines have been released for parents to help them spot and cope with problem behaviour in children.


The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued tips on distinguishing between normal misbehaviour in children and more worrying signs, which could indicate conduct disorders.

The guidelines also offer tips on how to handle problem behaviours, recommending that punishment and saying ‘no’ should be replaced by positive reinforcement.

The distinction between children indulging in naughty behaviours and those who may have behavioural disorders is identifyable, according to Professor Steven Pilling, director of National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health.

“Children with conduct disorders are different. It’s not a bit of tantruming or getting into trouble now and then. It’s picking up the 14inch TV and throwing it through the window.”

Experts recommend parents take a measured approach to dealing with their child’s behaviour problems, with Pilling saying, “Firmness and saying ‘No’ is not the solution for these children. We need to get parents to switch the focus from being controlling and punitive to encouraging positive behaviour.”


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