How to Explain and Reduce Anti-Social Behavior in a Child

By Erin Schreiner
Anti-social children often act out destructively.
Anti-social children often act out destructively.

To some children, the proper procedures for appropriate interaction appear mysterious. These children demonstrate neither the ability nor the desire to interact properly with others. They fail to exhibit an understanding of right and wrong and often act out destructively. Children who fit this description can be described as anti-social. In many cases, anti-social behaviors result from inherited tendencies, states the Mayo Clinic. If your child exhibits anti-social behaviors, explaining these behaviors to others and helping your child overcome them will prove challenging.

Provide a cursory explanation if you feel it necessary. You don’t have to justify your child’s behavior to anyone, but if your child’s anti-social behavior is noticeable, you may wish to comment on it. Keep it short though, as it isn’t important to explain the exact details of your child’s personality disorder, if he struggles with one, to random strangers.

Give a detailed explanation to people who watch or educate your child. If you skimp on the details you provide, you limit these individuals’ abilities to help your child. When speaking with people that fall into this category, outline the specifics of your child’s struggles and explain the steps you have taken to help him cope so they can mirror these supports when he is left in their charge.

Try parent management training. This technique, suggested by Alan E. Karzdin, Ph.D., of Yale University, involves modifying the way in which the parent communicates with the child. The theory supporting this treatment suggests that if parents model social behaviors when interacting with their children, they can help them learn these behaviors. Parents and their children must work closely with a psychologist when using this method.

Work with your child’s teacher and special education support staff to create a plan for assisting your child while he is in school if he has a diagnosed disorder. A plan of this type ensures that your child receives assistance from trained staff. It also protects him from some disciplinary sanctions to which he may otherwise be subjected if his struggles result in him acting out.

About the Author

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.