Behaviour of Concern

Sometimes, children and young people show concerning behaviour when they are trying to communicate something important about the way they are feeling, but cannot find the words. Over time, behaviour can become 'learnt' because of the preditable reactions of others. At the most simple and common level, for example, if a parent gives in to a young child crying for a toy, the child will soon learn that the behaviour of crying will get the result they want and they will transfer the behaviour to other situations.

At a more challenging level, a child or young person may show self-injury or violence to express what they cannot with words. It is usually fear or anger that causes this behaviour. It is important to understand what feeling is driving the behaviour. The behaviour can be made worse by other factors, such as the level of demand, hunger, pain, personal loss or trauma, for example. 

We have put together a download of top tips that you might find helpful as well as video of a workshop on how to manage concerning behaviour.

There are a number of resources that may also be helpful to you and your child in better understanding the function of the behaviour and how to support them to find better alternatives.

CAMHS Behaviour of Concern Referral Guidance

 What we do, what we don’t do and what you can do if you are worried about your child

All behaviour has meaning. Children and young people communicate through their behaviour, especially those who have not acquired language and vocabulary skills to tell the adult what the problem is. A young person’s behaviour can be made stronger and more likely by how it is responded to. Here’s a guide to help you know how best to support your young person if they are behaving in a way that is concerning. This is not an exhaustive list; there may be other behaviour and responses to this which have not been included:

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