SYDNEY, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Children with a "callous-unemotional" temperament tend to show a lack of empathy and guilt about the impact of their actions, say Australian researchers.
"Behavioral problems are often more extreme among children who have CU traits, which can include deliberate or predatory aggression, deliberate rule-breaking, stealing, lying and disobedience," says study co-author psychologist David Hawes, of the University of New South Wales.
"They exhibit a low level of emotionality and are unresponsive to emotions in others, especially when it comes to aggression. The finding means that these children may require different approaches to discipline than those that work for most children."
Parents who punish children with CU temperament could be just punishing themselves, because these children appear to respond poorly to punishment, however, they do respond well to incentives and rewards for good behavior, such as praise and quality-time with parents, according to Hawes.
"Our research reveals for the first time that these child-characteristics appear to limit the extent to which behavior can be changed, even when parents develop the appropriate child management skills," says Hawes.