chapter  Six
24 Pages

Behaviour problems

WithQuentin Spender, Niki Salt, Judith Dawkins, Tony Kendrick, Peter Hill, David Hall, Jackie Carnell

Behaviour problems are the bete noire of child psychiatry, at any level of service provision, as they are such a common presenting complaint, and they may appear to defy easy remedies. The pre-schooler who tantrums and refuses to comply may become the disruptive primary school child with academic failure, the teenager whose behaviour breaks the law, and the adult with an antisocial personality and continuing criminal behaviour. Antisocial behaviour is clearly linked to five factors: lack of positive reinforcement and warmth, lack of parental involvement, poor parental supervision and monitoring of the child's behavior, harsh or inconsistent discipline, or hostility directed at the child and defective problem-solving. In the UK, it is currently difficult to obtain effective help for adolescents who present with behaviour as their main problem. Adolescent mental health services and Social Services have patchy provision, and in many parts of the country they provide little of substance for this group.