“My son is a monster.”
“Everywhere we go we are the talk of the town. ‘The circus act.’”
“I need advice on how to keep our family [safe] when [our] son wakes up at 2 AM.”
Did you ever imagine being a parent and believing one of the above statements about your child? Parents of children with conduct disorder have. According to Mental Health America, “Conduct disorder is a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in children and adolescents in which the rights of others or basic social rules are violated.” Conduct disorder is characterized by aggressive behavior that can cause harm to other people or animals; non-aggressive but destructive behaviors such as arson or deliberate damage of property; deceitfulness or theft; and serious rule violations that usually require some sort of action to be taken.
Conductdisorders.com is an online support forum for parents of children with conduct disorder. User InTheMoment shares that their son, who is currently in a mental health facility, went around punching other children and the police had to get involved. User Lost in Parenthood shares that their son has been kicked out of various programs because of his behavior problems. They write that their son “curses like a sailor” even though neither parent uses language like that. User Pixie Dusted is a target for their son, he tells them he hates them. He also steals, hurts his siblings, and breaks things. Sail 24 talks about their 15-year-old son who has gotten in trouble with the police for stealing, has been evicted from boarding schools, and abuses drugs and alcohol. They talk about how different their life was when their child was not home, “…I could relax, we could breathe again…We did the things we always wanted to do all those times we’d say, ‘If only he was different.’”
Caring for a child with conduct disorder is extremely taxing on the parents. Feelings similar to those of the parents in the forum are common. However, this does not mean that the parents love their children any less. Support groups, online forums, and family therapy can be very helpful for parents. Forums and support groups lets these parents know that they aren’t alone. They can ask each other for advice or just talk about challenging moments they have had. Lost in Parenthood says that deep down, their son “is the sweetest boy a mom can ask for” and they “cry just seeing how people treat him because they do not know” of his disorder. These parents would do anything for their child, like every other parent. But parents are humans too; they have feelings like every one of us. What makes it even more difficult for the parents of children with conduct disorder is that ultimately they hold themselves responsible for their children’s actions and behaviors. They can feel like they are held captive by their child’s disorder, and it hinders them from living their own lives.
In The Moment. (2019, March 31). I need advise on how to keep our family save when son wakes up at 2 AM. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://www.conductdisorders.com/community/threads/i-need-advise-on-how-to-keep-our-family-save-when-son-wakes-up-at-2-am.66156/
Lost in Parenthood. (2019, March 22). My son is a monster. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://www.conductdisorders.com/community/threads/my-son-is-a-monster.66127/
Mental Health America. (2013, October 14). Conduct Disorder. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/conduct-disorder
Pixie Dusted. (2019, March 23). What do I do? Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://www.conductdisorders.com/community/threads/what-do-i-do.66132/
Quintana, I. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2019, from http://www.citationmachine.net/bibliographies/433956074?new=true
Sail24. (2018, March 12). 15 year old with conduct disorder needs to leave our home. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://www.conductdisorders.com/community/threads/15-year-old-with-conduct-disorder-needs-to-leave-our-home.64966/