Family Services

Behaviour Issues

Child and youth behaviour can be far from perfect – displays of temper, talking back, and disobedience are normal once in a while.

If behavior issues are more frequent it can be a sign that something more serious is going on with your child or youth. This could range from your child having difficulty in dealing with a social or emotional issue, to a reaction from other influences such as bullying or abuse, to a behavior disorder that requires professional help.

Behaviour disorders include Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder (CD).

  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder – occurs when the child is openly hostile, uncooperative and irritable, not just with teachers and parents but also with siblings and their peers.
  • Conduct Disorder – is an escalation of ODD when the child is aggressive most or all the time and may threaten to harm others or destroy property.

Many children who suffer with ODD and CD often have other mental health challenges like depression, anxiety or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

These children are more likely to have experienced a non-nurturing family environment, which could include behaviour and mood problems and/or substance abuse. If not treated, these children are more likely to have issues as adults, such as committing criminal acts and/or having trouble maintaining employment.

There are various effective treatments, depending on the nature of the behavior issue or disorder. You can learn more by checking out the resources and links on this site. If you think your child has a serious behavior problem, contact your local health care provider.

(Reference: Offord Centre for Child Studies – Behaviour Problems in Children and Adolescents)


Behaviour Problems in Children and Adolescents (Offord Centre PDF)

Behaviour Worksheets:


American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry – Understanding Violent Behavior in Children and Adolescents

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – Aggressive behaviour in children and youth: when is it something to be concerned about?

Centre of Knowledge on Healthy Child Development

Children’s Mental Health Ontario – Behaviour Problems in Children and Adolescents

Kelty Mental Health – Behavioural Disorders

Mental Health Canada – Children and Adolescents with Conduct Disorder

Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development

Books in Your Community

For Adults

Angry Children, Worried Parents: Seven Steps to Help Families Manage Anger, Sam Goldstein, Robert Brooks and Sharon Weiss.

The Defiant Child: A Parent’s Guide to Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Dr. Douglas A. Riley.

What Angry Kids Need: Parenting Your Angry Child Without Going Mad, Jennifer Anne Brown, and Pam Provonsha Hopkins.

Your Defiant Teen: 10 Steps to Resolving Conflict and Rebuilding Relationships, Russel A. Barkley and Arthur L. Robin.

For Children and Youth

104 Activities That Build: Self-Esteem, Teamwork, Communication, Anger Management, Self-Discovery and Coping Skills, Alanna Jones.

A Boy and A Bear: The Children’s Relaxation Book, Lori Lite.

A Volcano in My Tummy, Eliane Whitehouse.

Don’t Behave Like You Live in a Cave, Elizabeth Verdick.

Dude, That’s Rude: Get Some Manners, Pamela Espeland and Elizabeth Verdick.

Hot Stuff to Help Kids Chill Out: The Anger Management Book, Jerry Wilde.

How to Take the Grrr Out of Anger, Elizabeth Verdick and Marjorie Lisovskis.

My Book Full of Feelings: How to Control and React to the Size of Your Emotions, Amy Jaffe and Luci Gardner.

My Mouth is a Volcano, Julia Cook, National Centre for Youth Issues.

The Behaviour Survival Guide for Kids: How to Make Good Choices and Stay Out of Trouble, Thomas McIntyre.

What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kids Guide to Overcoming OCD, Dawn Huebner.

What to do When Your Temper Flares: A Kids Guide to Overcoming Problems with Anger, Dawn Huebner.

Words are Not for Hurting, Elizabeth Verdick and Marieka Heinlen.