|Credit: Mindaugus Danys on Flickr|
Preschool children whose behavior is inconsiderate and apathetic are at risk for later behavioral problems, according to researchers from the University of Michigan. Young children who show a lot of oppositional behavior, ADHD like behavior or “callous and unemotional behavior” are most likely to display this behavior at the beginning of primary school.
If this type of behavior goes unchecked, the child may become aggressive or violent as an adult. “Adults who are aggressive or violent have often shown early-starting behavior problems as young children, said Rebecca Waller, the study’s lead author. Thus, a focus on understanding the emergence and development of behavior problems before they become severe is important for creating new treatments that could help prevent children following a lifetime of violence or crime.”
This antisocial behavior can be corrected with appropriate interventions. “The good news is that we know from other work that early interventions are very successful and helpful with early child behavior problems,” said Luke Hyde, the study’s co-author. “If parents or teachers are concerned about a child’s behavior, they should seek out a mental health provider such as a clinical psychologist, who is trained in a treatment called Parent Management Training. This treatment is very effective and can help a child learn better behavior, particularly early in childhood.”
The study “Differential associations of early callous-unemotional, oppositional, and ADHD behaviors: multiple domains within early-starting conduct problems?” is published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.