By Fiona Baker, expert
Dealing with behavioural problems early pays dividends later in life
Teaching mums and dads how to deal with difficult kids is one of the most powerful ways to stop naughty children becoming antisocial adults with mental disorders, says a Sydney child psychology expert.
Professor Mark Dadds, director of the Child Behaviour Research Clinic at the University of NSW, describes programs that teach parents how to deal with their kids conduct problems as "one of the major achievements of the mental health sciences ¯.
"Evidence from our own clinic shows when parents of kids with [clinical] conduct problems are taught these strategies, about 60 per cent of kids move into a non-clinical range pretty quickly, ¯ Dadds says.
Phases vs problems
Conduct problems, he says, are ongoing and repetitive difficult behaviours. They can range from aggressive behaviours, tantrums and acting out violently to eating non-foods and not following instructions.
"Every child will go through?phases where they?display conduct problems " but if the phase?doesnt stop intervention is probably needed. See your GP and get a referral to a child psychologist, ¯ Dadds says.