Children often act out in inappropriate ways, however these irritations do not connote “troublesome” behavior (Wright, Tibbetts, and Daigle, 2008). Troublesome behavior describes age-inappropriate behaviors that continue into future years and inhibit healthy growth of the child. For example, a temper tantrum might be normal behavior for a young child, however it would be deemed inappropriate when the child reaches school age. When unseemly behaviors multiply to a certain level the child is considered behaviorally disordered. The criteria for such a diagnosis includes patterned symptoms that show at least short-term stability, symptoms that are present when around other adults besides their parents, severe symptoms, and symptoms that harm the child’s ability to handle developmental problems.
These behaviors do not affect a large proportion of the population. One study showed about ten to fifteen percent of preschoolers demonstrates mild or moderate behavioral disorders (Campbell, 1995 as cited in Wright et al., 2008). Another study of three-year-olds found that severe behavior disorder afflicted 11 percent of the sample (Cornely and Bromet, 1986 as cited in Wright et al., 2008). Furthermore, in a study of parental reports of their 17-month-old children it was found that only 7.6 percent thought of their children as bullies and only 3.3 percent considered their children as cruel (Tremblay, 1999 as cited in Wright et al., 2008). In fact, only 1.5 to 3.4 percent of children are diagnosed with conduct disorder (Steiner and Dunne, 1997 as cited in Wright et al., 2008). However, other studies show that conduct disorder is found in five percent of ten-year-olds and ten percent of 12-year-olds (Wright et al., 2008).
Also, these behaviors decrease between the ages of seven and eleven (Wright et al., 2008). However, the larger issue at hand is for children who persist in deviancy and then become criminals as adults. There is a moderate to high degree of continuity with early behavioral problems, which make a child at a higher risk for activity, learning, and behavioral disorders. For example, one study showed that infants who were overly burdensome were much more likely to be hyperactive and aggressive at age 17 (Olson, Bates, Sandy, and Lanthier, 2000 as cited in Wright et al., 2008). In turn, these disorders can play a factor in peer rejection and school failure (Wright et al., 2008). These troubled children and youth can turn into pathological adults (Wright et al., 2008). Moreover, these problems are interrelated. In other words, tendencies for childhood aggression could cause school failure, which could cause a lack of occupational opportunity and relationship problems.
Also, parenting has an influence on crime and delinquency (Wright et al., 2008). Social learning theorists believe children copy the behaviors stylized in their parents. Social control theories recommend that parents must set limits for their children with...