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Robert Bloomfield

Challenging Behaviour at home

Parenting is an incredibly rewarding and challenging experience.

At times, it can feel like a real rollercoaster of emotions – particularly when your child is behaving in ways that are difficult to manage and understand.

Children’s behaviour can be challenging in different ways at different stages. Often, this behaviour is developmentally ‘normal’, which means it fits with the age they have reached. Sometimes, however, a child’s challenging behaviour becomes more frequent and difficult to manage. When this is the case, daily life can become exhausting for you as a parent.

Remember it is possible to come through this – with support, your child can find healthier ways to express and manage their feelings, and both of you can experience a more positive family life.

Just like us, children behave differently at different times. Feeling upset, sad, cross, frustrated and lots of other kinds of emotions is a normal and healthy part of their life. Many children go through phases of testing boundaries, and they are likely to behave in ways that are harder to manage when they are tired, ill or stressed. It is normal for younger children to have tantrums sometimes, while older children may sometimes shout, storm out or lash out.

When we talk about ‘challenging behaviour’, we mean behaviours that are persistent and difficult for both you and your child to manage. This includes things like:

  • having lots of angry outbursts
  • regularly shouting, swearing and being very argumentative
  • frequently hitting, biting or kicking others
  • kicking, smashing or damaging things in their home or school
  • being unkind or bullying towards other family members or children
  • persistently getting into trouble at school

Your child's behaviour is a means of communicating how they’re feeling. When your child is acting out, it can be useful to think of an iceberg. The difficult behaviour is the tip, but there are likely to be a range of emotions hidden under the surface.

By opening up a conversation with your child, you can find out more about how they’re feeling and what’s going on for them.