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Resources to Help Kids Thrive Newsletter

What is Conduct Disorder?

September 28, 2021

Most kids act out, break rules or cause trouble from time to time. But children who have a pattern of doing things that harm other people, and seem to be doing them on purpose, may get a diagnosis of conduct disorder (CD).

Kids with CD hurt people or animals, steal things and break rules intentionally. And a small group of children who fit the criteria for CD also have something called callous-unemotional traits, more commonly known as psychopathy. That means that they lack empathy and don’t feel remorse about hurting others.

This week on childmind.org we take a look at conduct disorder — what is CD and what isn’t — and psychopathy in particular. How do these kids look when they’re young? How are they different from kids who cause harm because they’re impulsive or anxious or frustrated? And how can we help them become healthy adults?

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And what is CD with callous-unemotional traits? Also called psychopathy, it’s a diagnosis for kids who harm others and don’t seem to have empathy.

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