Child behaviour training

Parents of children with conduct disorders are to be trained on how to manage anti-social behaviour under guidance published today by health officials.

Training for parents: How will it work?

  • Classes for parents will be offered where the child is three to 11 years old
  • Local authorities should offer older children from nine to 14 years old their own group social and cognitive problem-solving classes
  • Children aged 11 to 17 should be offered a "multimodal intervention", where one case manager will look at the conditions affecting the child across all settings, including home, school, social and criminal justice

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Expert: Treating conduct disorders could save money

Prof Pilling, who worked on the guidance suggesting classes for parents of children with conduct disorders, said treating the disorder would save money that would otherwise be spent in the criminal justice system.

By any standard that Nice operates, these treatments are clearly cost effective.

If you put in criminal justice costs, these interventions are dominant. It's actually cheaper to provide them than not to provide them, they're saving money.

The cost of not treating a 10-year-old with a conduct disorder for the next eight years, over the rest of their childhood, are in the £80,000 to £100,000 range.

– Professor Stephen Pilling, director of National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health

What is a conduct disorder?

Training is to be offered to parents of children with conduct disorders.

According to NICE, such a disorder can be identified by persistent and severe anti-social behaviour across different contexts, including:

  • Home
  • School
  • Social settings

Conduct disorders develop in children as they get older, affecting seven per cent of boys and three per cent of girls aged five to ten years old.

Source: National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice)

Professor: Parents should avoid using the word 'no'

Professor Peter Fonagy, who worked on the guidance, suggesting parents of children with conduct disorders should be trained on behavioural approach said, parents should avoid using the word "no".

He said that if children misbehave, the parents response is not always the most rational, most reasonable or most effective.

Words like 'no, don't do that' can appear to be the best possible intervention, except that for a kid where the word 'no' triggers misbehaviour, there needs to be alternative strategies to help them reinforce good behaviour.

In some parent training programmes the first few sessions are all about learning to play with your kid, learning to do something positive, getting money into the bank so the kid finds something really rewarding in being with you as a parent.

– Professor Peter Fonagy, chief executive of the Anna Freud centre

Training for parents on managing anti-social behaviour

Classes are to be given to parents of children with conduct disorders on how to manage anti-social behaviour, under guidance published today by health officials.

Parents advised to avoid the word "no" Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

Experts said the training will teach parents to encourage positive behaviour instead of focusing on punishment and simply telling them "no".

A raft of recommendations have been drawn up by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), to help parents deal with children demonstrating repeated behavioural problems.

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