As you think about these signs of serious behavior problems, do not overlook the good news. Most children do not have serious behavior problems. They have better days and worse days; but on the whole, they are growing and learning fine. Importantly, they are learning to cooperate and get along without the use of tough guy approaches.
Some children do have serious behavior problems; and for the most part, these children also have other serious difficulties. The most common additional difficulty is a serious learning problem. In fact, it is unusual to see a serious behavior problem in a child who does not have learning difficulties. If you answer Yes to any of the following questions, your child has or is developing serious behavior problems. He likely also has other problems needing careful professional attention. It is unlikely you can help him with his behavior problems without working on the other difficulties too. This work always needs to include the participation of a behavior specialist.
Does your child
Frequently pout and become very difficult to live with?
Become nasty and hateful?
Get extremely angry when things do not go his way?
Often scream and yell at people?
Break or damage things?
Intentionally hit or hurt people (or animals)?
Start or get into fights?
Bully and pick on others?
Treat people cruelly?
Refuse to follow parental rules or behave like parents expect?
Refuse to accept the authority of parents, teachers, or other adults in charge?
Often behave in socially inappropriate ways?
Use or have other involvements with illegal drugs, including alcohol? (Keep in mind alcohol is an illegal drug where children are concerned.)
Have friends who often get into trouble?
Have a reputation for not being someone others can depend on or trust?
Seem not to care if he upsets or hurts people?
Repeatedly get into trouble with the police or courts?