Behavioural Difficulties in Children

behavioural difficulties in children

Behavioural difficulties in children are common, but some don’t go away by themselves or that you cannot solve on your own.

If your child has behaviour issues that you find difficult to manage, you are not alone.  Child behaviour issues come in many forms. Here we outline what they are, the signs to look out for, and how we can support you.

What are child behavioural difficulties in children?

To help your child overcome behaviour issues, let’s first take a look at what they actually are. Parents often face challenging behaviours as their children grow. It can happen at all ages, from toddlers through to adolescence. A child’s desires and emotions guide their actions both inside and outside the home. When a child’s temperament is not compatible with the setting and people around them, this is what we may call ‘behaviour problems’.

Children go through periods of misbehaviour and it’s only natural. It’s often helpful to think about the developmental stage of the young person and consider what is ‘typical and functional’ for that age. For example, a toddler demands a specific toy or type of food and has a tantrum. This is likely to be a normal stage of development. But a seven-year-old who keeps exhibiting the same behaviour is something we may call ‘difficult’.

Symptoms of child behavioural difficulties.

There is a broad range of symptoms of child behaviour disorders. In general, the child may show signs of aggression or difficulties with social interactions.

Examples include:



Ignoring requests

Throwing, kicking, biting or hitting

Not listening

Shouting or constantly arguing

Behaviour issues significantly affect the lives of children and of those who care for them.

It’s useful to realise that any behaviour that a parent finds hard to manage is an opportunity to seek guidance with their parenting skills. It does not necessarily mean that the child has a psychiatric disorder.

When a parent feels like they are not in control, they may be more likely to use physical punishments or other severe forms of discipline. Studies show that these methods have a negative impact on children. Harsh discipline also has a knock-on effect on their personal relationships in adulthood.

Diagnosing child behavioural difficulties.

When your child is dealing with behaviour issues, it’s easy for everyone to get upset. We all want to find ways to help our children – and keeping your composure is key. It’s important to get in touch with a mental health professional if you feel that you can’t manage. A good test is to be aware of your levels of stress and frustration as a parent. Ask yourself – on a 10-point scale – how many times this week has my temper gone over six? If the answer to this is ‘frequently’, then get in touch for a chat so we can work out how to lend you a hand.

Helping children and teenagers overcome problematic behaviour starts with an accurate diagnosis. Our assessment may include:

An interview with your child

Standardised assessment tools

An interview with you as a parent

Observing your child’s behaviour

Completing questionnaires

After a diagnosis, our therapist will recommend a treatment plan to help the young person manage their symptoms.


Helping your child with behavioural difficulties on your own can become a complicated process that’s hard to navigate.

So, finding a solution to these disruptive behaviours is essential for a harmonious relationship within the household. We understand these issues can be extremely difficult for the child and a touchy subject for most parents. We tailor our treatments for behavioural disorders in children and adolescents specifically to the individual. All treatments are evidence-based to ensure we use up-to-date research and follow the best practice when working with children.

A good child psychologist or therapist will:

Spend time with you and your child to create a trusting relationship

Resolve your family’s issues together

Consider the dynamics of the family when developing an approach

Provide sessions for you to learn how to best support your child at home

Providing a space for you to voice your concerns

Check in with parents every week to see if incidents have decreased

4 common FAQs regarding Behavioural Difficulties in Children

What are the common signs of behavioral difficulties in children?

Parents often look for signs such as frequent tantrums, aggression, excessive defiance, withdrawal, or sudden changes in behavior as indicators of behavioural difficulties in children.

What can cause behavioral difficulties in children?

Behavioural difficulties can result from various factors, including underlying medical conditions, emotional stress, trauma, family issues, or neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD or autism.

When should I seek professional help for my child’s behavioural difficulties?

If your child’s behaviour is significantly impacting their daily life, relationships, or schooling, it’s advisable to seek professional help. Early intervention can be vital in addressing and managing behavioral issues.

What can I do at home to support a child with behavioural difficulties?

At home, you can establish clear routines, offer positive reinforcement, practice open communication, and provide a safe and nurturing environment. However, it’s essential to consult with a professional for a comprehensive plan tailored to your child’s specific needs.


Book a Consultation

If you’re worried that your child has behaviour issues and you’d like support with this, we can help. Please get in touch for an initial discussion, and we can explore ways we can help you and your child.

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