What is Classified as Anti-Social Behavior That Needs to Be Monitored?

Are there behaviors that adolescent’s exhibit that will predict their chance of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol? As it turns out, there are. Aggression towards animals and people is one of those ‘anti-social behaviors’ that can predict alcohol abuse or drug abuse in adolescents. Serious rule violations are other behaviors to watch out for. These behaviors would be property damage, theft and deceitfulness. Looking at what to watch for in each of these behaviors may allow parents to seek help for their child before the situation is out of control.

Aggression towards animals and people would include harming or being physically cruel to animals. Is that child someone who bullies others? Does the child initiate fights? Any use of a weapon that has been used to harm someone is a big warning sign. Stealing something while confronting someone is an anti-social behavior. So is forcing someone into sexual activity. Destruction of property includes deliberately damaging property, as well as setting fires to property. Watch for any time the child has broken into a car or house to steal something. Does that child also lie to avoid obligations or obtain favors? If any of these behaviors last for a 12 month period, they are incidents that predict the chance of that child becoming an addict.

Every child has a period of rebellion. Staying out past curfew is something nearly every adult has done. Most have probably skipped school a time or two as well. And there likely isn’t anyone that didn’t threaten to run away from home when they didn’t get everything their way. However, these rebellious acts, when started before age 13 and continuing for a period of at least 12 months, is another predictor of substance abuse in your child.

Monitor your child, and if these behaviors are present, seek counseling.


N.A. “Childhood Antisocial Behavior and Adolescent Alcohol Use Disorders.” Pubs.niaaa.nih.gov (Website). (2015).
  • 10 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • Monitoring your child is a good idea. I wonder if in this day and age if there is not the tendency to be to quick to put a label on what might otherwise have been considered normal behavior. I by no means mean to suggest that torturing animals or starting fires is normal, you should probably seek advice from a professional immediately for that stuff.

    I am glad to see that you say things like cutting school and staying out late is something that everyone does at some point. Lying is the thing I have never really understood. I have known otherwise normal seeming people that will just lie right between their teeth as if everything is fine. I admit it is baffling to me, In fact I have found myself of late thinking about this and wondering with lying when the line is crossed that someone has a mental issue. is it the lie itself? the fact that the person believes the lie as the true event? or the easy and lack of guilt over a mistrust that will happen?
  • I never thought that the term Anti-Social Personality Disorder should have been applied to people who are diagnosed psychopaths - it's very misleading. In the UK there is such a thing as an ASBO (Anti Social Behavioural Order) which is given to bothersome people who breach the peace but most of the time they are not people who would be diagnosed with Anti-Social Personality Disorder (i.e. they are not psychopaths). Animal cruelty during young age is indeed a sign of psychopathy but anti-social behaviour should not be linked too closely to Anti-Social Personality Disorder. APD is about a lack of conscience, guilt and remorse.
  • @androl I may be wrong, but I think psychopath is just the old term for anti-social PD. So if you are a 'psychopath' that would mean you have antisocial PD, to put it politically correctly.

    I think monitoring children for these aggressive behaviors especially towards animals is a great marker for noticing the development of antisocial PD.  Unfortunately it would usually be the parent who could monitor this, and the child is most likely growing up in a less than ideal environment for this to be developing in the first place. It is a shame, because for this disorder I truly feel that it can be caught and prevented at a young age, just with love, attention, and proper nurturing and guidance.
  • I think that the term "anti-social personality disorder" makes the condition seem a lot less erious than it actually can be, 

    @Diane I wonder about the parenting too. Whilst there's no denying that such disorders can be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, there are certainly other factors at play too. 
  • @Diane
    Yes, you are correct. Pyshcopath is indeed the old term for someone with Anti-Social Personality Disorder, that's what I was trying to say. I also agree that upbringing and nurturing can make a difference. I do also believe there may be a genetic component to it or perhaps, as @missbishi said, a chemical imbalance in the brain (or inactivity). I have actually known someone with ASPD for over 20 years, we were  both children when we met and are both adults now. He's diagnosed with it but in general, he's actually not that bad person at all and I have always gotten along fine with him.
  • @Diane I think you made a good point that the adults monitoring for these behaviors are most likely going to be the parents. Often times, children who exhibit these types of behaviors are being raised in less than ideal households. I have experience working in the homes of children with behavioral disorders and most times my referrals come from the schools. The teachers are the first-line of adults recognizing that these students' behaviors may be indicitive of deeper issues. Once a therapist is in the home, much of the time spent is working wth the parents.
  • A good friend of mine has 9kids, and they're all great, super nice. The one who is less than 10 years old likes to kill small animals. I asked him why and he said its just fun. But he isn't a bully or mean at all. What do you think?
  • I think I can relate to it a lot and I've seen it happen in a lot of people before and it may be caused by chemical imbalances or what not I'm not sure and I'm not a doctor to decide but I would say that people need to be careful when it comes to dealing with people who are suffering with it around them.
  • Uhm, I showed some antisocial behaviors when I was younger, and yes, I ended up using drugs.  I don't think that is a coincidence at all.  I don't think it's also a coincidence the fact that I also have a mental illness. All those things can't just be a coincidence. People needs to be very alert to any kind of odd behavior and act on it.  Do follow up, you can't take those things lightly, specially hurting innocent animals... a lot serial killers start that way. 
  • @kana_marie
    When children are prone to hurting animals it's usually because they lack empathy, guilty, shame and/or remorse. They are entertained by it and some of them may be sadistic about it. When they do this, it's a sign that they may have Conduct Disorder which is a precursor to Anti-Social Personality Disorder (psychopathy).
Sign In or Register to comment.