Contact us to inquire:

North Durham
Professional Counsellors

188 Mary Street, Unit B
Port Perry, ON, L9L 1B7
Tel: 905.985.1130
Fax: 905.985.6374

Behavioral Problems

It is not uncommon for any child to display behavioural issues that may simply be due to tiredness, hunger or inability to communicate what they need.  However, when behaviour is continuous and begins to cause problems at home and school, affects relationships with others, or impedes a child’s learning, a diagnosis of a behavioural disorder may be required.  Children diagnosed with a behavioural disorder may also suffer from depression, anxiety, learning disabilities or suicidal ideation.  Two of the more common types of behavioural disorders include:


Oppositional Defiant Disorder:  ODD is characterized by consistent demonstration of behaviours that fail to cooperate with others and are difficult, defiant or aggressive toward individuals in positions of authority.  Symptoms of ODD often last for at least six months, and may include:


  • Temper tantrums
  • Aggression toward authority figures
  • Failure to obey or questions rules
  • Deliberate effort to upset others
  • Frequent angry outbursts
  • Vengeful or spiteful attitude
  • Annoyed easily


It is highly recommended that children with ODD receive treatment interventions early, as children normally do not simply grow out of these behaviours.  Left untreated, children risk developing Conduct Disorder.


Conduct Disorder:  Conduct disorder is characterized by a consistent pattern of behaviours that negatively impact others, with a lack of concern for other people’s feelings and are aggressive toward others.   They may blame other people for their own misbehaviours, and often think negatively about themselves.  Some of the behaviours associated with CD include, but are not limited to:


  • Fighting
  • Bullying
  • Vandalism
  • Assault
  • Theft, break and enter and shoplifting
  • Failure to attend school
  • Starting fires
  • Substance Use
  • Sexual promiscuity


This disorder is more commonly found in boys, but is also diagnosed for girls, though the behaviours may change depending on gender.


Treatments for Behavioural Problems

Treatment for behavioural disorders, and possible related disorders, can include medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both.  Child psychologists may use standardized tests to determine whether a diagnosis of Opposition Defiant Disorder or Conduct Disorder may be appropriate, by examining various aspects of the child’s life, such as home or school.  Therapeutic approaches to behavioural problems include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and social skills training.


Additional Resources for Behavioural Problems

Children’s Mental Health Ontario:

Canadian Mental Health Association:

Mental Health Canada:

Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH):

Center for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH):