WCD guidelines to detect symptoms of delinquent behaviour
If a child is hurting animals, lying frequently and using weapons that can cause serious injuries, these are indications of delinquent behaviour, says a manual for parents prepared by the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry.
If a child is hurting animals, lying frequently and using weapons that can cause serious injuries, these are indications of delinquent behaviour, says a manual for parents prepared by the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry. Instructing parents on how to spot such behaviour and deal with them, the manual titled 'Raising Happy Children and Providing Safe Childhoods' was uploaded on the ministry's website recently.
Quoting the International Classification of Disease which outlines 15 behaviours that are listed to be considered for a diagnosis of conduct disorder, the ministry's manual states that it usually applies to older children and young people. "For these aggressive behaviours to be classified as delinquent they must be present for at least six months in a child/person," the manual states.
The ministry's document classifies such behaviour into four groups - aggression towards people and animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness or theft or a tendency to violate rules. When a child is overtly aggressive, the document states, parents should look out for telltale signs is he/she frequently lying, breaking promises to obtain goods or favours, frequently initiating physical fights (this does not include fights with siblings), using weapons that can cause serious physical harm to others, often stays out after dark despite parental prohibition (beginning before 13 years of age) and exhibits physical cruelty to other people.
If so, these could be signs of delinquent behaviour. If the child is frequently destructive towards both his/her own property or of others, has the tendency to set things on fire or hurt animals, it should be an indication for parents to know that their child could be delinquent. If children frequently play truant from school, beginning before 13 years of age, have run away from their parental home at least twice and are persistently intimidating and tormenting others, these are signs that they need more attention from parents.
"Besides these signs, another common yet very important sign of aggressive behaviour is a child throwing temper tantrums, using aggression to seek attention or to get their demands fulfilled. Reinforcing such behaviour by giving in to the child's demands can strengthen temper tantrums and aggressive behaviour in children," said the manual. It recommends that parents spend quality time with their children, refrain from scolding them too much and praise and reward them for sociable behaviour while dealing with such aggressive behaviour. "Commands need to be firm and brief.
Thus, shouting at a child to stop being naughty does not tell him what he should do, whereas, for example, telling him to play quietly gives a clear instruction which makes compliance easier," the document states.