A Mother's Behavior Could Make Her Child Into a Bully
Bullying, a major component of conduct disorder, is a grave problem teachers and authorities are taking a rigid stance against. The truth, however, is that curbing such antisocial behavior falls on a mother's shoulders.
Think of this scenario:
Jaxon was a 12 year old boy. Every morning as he woke up, his mother was in a grumpy mood. He left the house often angry and confused, though the years had begun to cloud the latter emotion. Every day it is the same story. So he walked to school, anger simmering beneath the surface, with coal added to fire every time another child kissed his or her mother goodbye. When was the last time Jaxon had been so warmly embraced? Probably not even on the day of his birth, if you ask him. The anger mixed with jealousy, demanding release. A sardonic smile graced his lips and his eyes flashed. How dare anyone else have something he himself lacked, he thought. And so he grabbed the boy he say and stole his lunch. He pulled on the girl's braid and called her names. It was not because he didn't like those children. On the contrary, it was because he didn't know how to react to the envy coursing through his veins. He cursed at the teacher, refused to do his work, made paper airplanes to distract the others and threw spitballs at the little boy with the pimples and freckles who was too small for his age.
He thought the pain would satisfy him and in many ways it did. It was only fleeting, however, and then it was back to a cold loveless home. Perhaps there was food on the table or maybe he had to order pizza again. His mother greeted him with anger, having heard about his antics at school. She called him useless and he cursed her out as well before stomping into his room, slamming the door and shutting out the world. He heard her demanding he come down, demanding he take out the trash, to do something of use around the house for a change. He had bought cigarettes from a "friend" at school and was thinking about grabbing some drugs as soon as he could get his hands on them. He fell asleep after having a few fights on the internet and thinking about ways to torture that shy little girl who came to school in her father's car and got a kiss and a ruffling of her hair every morning and every afternoon. This was his life, sad and full of negative emotions.
How can someone who has never seen love in the home know how to show love and respect for another? Conduct disorder embodies a multitude of behavioral and emotional problems in a child, often brought about by abuse, neglect, genetics, school failures and specific traumas. While genetics most definitely comes into play, environmental factors trump the deck. In other words, a recent study published in the October issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry has found that where mothers are controlling but lack warmth in their interactions, environmental factors come into play when considering why a child is diagnosed with conduct disorder. However, in a home full of warmth and where the mother takes an authoritative stance, keeping her control without becoming abusively controlling, a diagnosis of of CD is blamed on genetic influence. If the father had similar problems, as well as his father before that, one need not look too far to understand the root of the disorder.
What exactly characterizes Conduct Disorder though? Is it just any "bad" child on the street or in your class? When do you know it is a mental illness you are dealing with and not simply a behavior issue?