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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?

Related Resources

What is Conduct Disorder?

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.


Common Causes of Behavior Problems in Kids

Knowing what makes kids act out is the first step to finding solutions.


Teenagers and Anger

How parents can encourage, and model, healthy way to handle strong feelings.


What Is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

When disruptive behavior drives a wedge between parents and children.


ADHD and Behavior Problems

Why are tantrums, outbursts and defiance so common in kids with the disorder? And how can we help them behave better?


Choosing a Parent Training Program

How to tell which one is right for you.