Children with problems or problem children?

A recent article has been discussing how can we tell if the child is just “being naughty” or whether mental ill health is the root cause? It is hard to gauge whether this is on the increase or not.

“Severe and persistent behavioural problems – usually known as conduct disorders – are our most common childhood mental health issue.”

Signs a child has a conduct disorder include:

  • being argumentative, angry, uncooperative or irritable
  • having frequent tantrums and outbursts
  • being constantly defiant or blaming others for things that go wrong.

Dr Antonis Kousoulis, director of the Mental Health Foundation, says young people struggling with unaddressed mental health problems are often labelled as problem children rather than children with problems.

So how can parents and teachers know when a child’s poor behaviour crosses the line into poor mental health?


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