Strategies for Dealing with Children’s Challenging Behaviours 

Strategies for Dealing with Children’s Challenging Behaviours 

Autism Related Disorders – An Overview | Prayatna Author

Written By

Aisha Hamna, Msc Psychology

Top Child Development Centre in Kochi - Minna Mathew

Clinically Reviewed By

Minna Mathew, MA, M Phil Clinical Psychology
Clinical Psychologist

It can be detrimental for the entire family when children struggle with their challenging behaviour. When a child behaves out repeatedly, and nothing appears to work, parents are often aware that they need to react but are unsure of the appropriate course of action. This blog offers in-depth information about problematic behaviour and strategies.

What are Challenging Behaviours?

A variety of behaviours that put the person exhibiting the behaviour or those nearby in danger are referred to as challenging behaviours. The risk of physical harm or the potential of exclusion from many facets of life, such as relationships, employment, and school, might both be present. Due to its severity and general lack of social acceptance, this behaviour presents difficulties for parents, carers, and educators. A few examples of challenging behaviours are:


Physical harm, such as head banging, spanking, biting, yanking hair, throwing objects, or spitting.


Verbal – abusive words, yelling, shouting, threatening, and repetitive speech.


Nonverbal behaviours include being destructive, rocking, pacing, stealing, withdrawing, and acting inappropriately sexualized. 

Challenging Behaviours

Understanding the root causes

Finding strategies to support children and control their behaviour begins with understanding the reasons behind challenging behaviours. There are several factors that contribute to challenging behaviour, most of which are particular to each person. Several factors, such as the following, have an impact on behaviour:

  • Lack of child’s social and emotional skills.
  • Children who live with Autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, and other mental health difficulties 
  • Being ill 
  • Getting too little sleep
  • Being exhausted from too much screen time 
  • Difficulties in processing information
  • A poor diet and feelings of hunger
  • A change in the family’s routine or environment (such as entering a new school)
  • Being harassed or experiencing challenges at school, as well as the emergence of mental health conditions (such as anxiety or depression)

Strategies for dealing with Children’s challenging behaviours

  • Creating a supportive environment 

The most effective way to ensure that kids learn positive behaviours and ways of self-regulation in terms of their own behaviour is to make sure that significant others like family members, teachers, and health and social care professionals build effective relationships with them, and this should start as early as possible. The best way to guarantee effective relationships and positive behaviour is believed to be through setting up and upholding secure boundaries, knowing what children’s needs are, expressing curiosity in a child’s home, exploring his/her abilities and goals, noticing the causes of challenging behaviours and facilitating the development of their self-management skills and assisting them in developing successful communication with important people. 

Building a healthy relationship with a child increases the likelihood that they will feel protected, heard, and respected while also giving them a sense of control over their environment.

  • Establishing clear expectations 

Assist your child in this process by establishing clear guidelines. Setting rules helps your child understand what behaviour is expected of them and what the repercussions will be if they choose to break the rules.

If your child disobeys the rules, tell them what they are doing is wrong and, if appropriate, give them another chance to behave properly. A rational, age-appropriate punishment that you are ready and able to follow through with should be in place if the negative behaviour persists. Immediate actions are more efficient and better than delayed repercussions.

  • Promoting positive reinforcement 

A positive and constructive approach will help you to guide your child’s behaviour effectively. Instead of focusing on your child’s negative behaviour, praise or reward positive behaviour frequently and emphasise the positive aspects of their actions.

In order to prevent negative behaviours from developing, reinforce positive ones. By praising your child’s good behaviour, you can encourage them without having to wait until they are acting unreasonably rough and then have to draw attention to that action.

  • Setting up structured routines

In a structured and predictable family environment, routines can help kids and teenagers feel safe, secure, and cared for. Routines aid in behaviour control because they teach kids what is expected of them. Routines can assist you in making plans for instances when kids may exhibit difficult behaviour. The rules of your family can be better understood and upheld by children if routines are discussed with them. Young children can have routines that revolve around play, eating, and sleep. Children are more likely to behave appropriately when they get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, and play a lot.

  • Effective communication 

The connections and development of children and infants depend on effective communication. Talking and listening in a way that children feel important and valued are key components of good communication and thus reduce the chances of problematic behaviours. Children learn communication skills when adults communicate effectively with them. When adults help children find positive ways to communicate their needs to others, children learn and develop important social, emotional and problem-solving skills that will help them throughout their life.

  • Implementing Behaviour Management Strategies 

Parents can employ effective behaviour management techniques and assist their kids in learning appropriate behaviour, behaviour control, and appropriate emotional expression. There are alternatives to physical punishment that are effective at addressing children’s unwanted behaviour and carry a lower risk of having harmful effects on children. Certain strategies might be more effective for some children and their families than others or be more suited to certain situations. To find the one that works best for their child and their situation, parents may need to attempt a variety of tactics or different combinations of strategies. When a parent has a warm, caring relationship with their child and when they are not angry when they are disciplining them, behaviour management is typically most effective. Relationships between parents and children that are warm and affectionate are also associated with better results, such as less conduct and peer issues.

  • Consistency and Predictability

Children learn what to expect if they misbehave when parents use consistent behaviour management techniques. Parents should strive to be as consistent as possible in their responses to their child’s behaviour, even when it isn’t always possible or even appropriate to do so. Inconsistent parenting can be confusing for kids and result in behavioural issues like antisocial behaviour, hyperactivity, emotional challenges, and peer relationship issues. 

  • Positive Discipline Approach 

Parents that use the positive discipline method make it obvious to their children what actions are acceptable and unacceptable, as well as what rewards and consequences they expect of them. Yelling, spanking, or harsh punishment are not a part of positive discipline. Instead of employing or depending on punishment, parents should find alternatives to disciplining misbehaviours. The parents can encourage their children to make sensible decisions while maintaining an affectionate and firm tone. Always keep a good, respectful relationship with your child while disciplining them, whether you’re attempting to promote or decrease the likelihood of a behaviour. Children perform better when they perceive their parents’ firmness and kindness. Children are considerably less likely to engage in socially risky behaviours and achieve greater social and academic success when they see their parents as being both sensitive to their needs and feelings and having high yet realistic expectations.

  • Utilizing Rewards and Consequences

Managing behaviour involves both encouraging desired behaviour and discouraging undesirable behaviour. This can be accomplished by praising and rewarding children when they behave nicely.

By setting a good example for their children and mirroring the behaviours and emotional responses they want their kids to exhibit, parents can encourage desired behaviour. It may be possible to prevent undesired behaviours by responding to them in a composed, nonaggressive, and reasoned manner. This can entail applying a reasonable punishment that is in accordance with unacceptable behaviour.

  • Seeking Professional Support 

When challenging behaviour is severe and persistent, it may be an indication of a developmental disorder or a more serious social or emotional issue. If you are having a hard time managing your child’s behaviour on your own, consultation with a Clinical Psychologist can be very helpful. A clinician can perform a detailed evaluation to determine whether your child may have an undiagnosed mental health disorder that is contributing to his/her behaviour issues or recommend specific strategies or therapies that might be helpful.

  • Collaborating with Educators and Therapists

Together with therapists, parents, and teachers can support therapeutic techniques while also identifying areas where a kid needs to improve.

Usually, therapists work with parents and Educators to come up with a plan to support these children. This process should consist of identifying the possible causes or triggers of the behaviours of concern and addressing these wherever possible.

  • Individualised Behavior Intervention Plans 

A child’s requirements and behavioural data are taken into account when creating an individual behaviour plan, which is essentially a prescription of specific behavioural and other interventions. The purpose of the plan is to coordinate the efforts of the adults engaged in carrying out the plan by being clear about the specific interventions to be used on the child in order to improve that child’s behaviour. A child’s environment should be changed consistently as part of an individual behaviour plan in order to change their behaviour. Individual behaviour plans are prepared for each child based on their particular behavioural challenges. Though creating a successful individual behaviour plan requires a few common components, each unique behaviour plan will have a distinctive form.


Children have a wide range of emotions and ways of expressing themselves. While their social and emotional skills are developing, it’s common for children to act defiantly or occasionally lose control of their emotions. While your child is growing and learning to regulate their own emotions, parents and other carers must offer support. Parents’ guidance and support for their child’s good behaviour will aid in the development of socially acceptable behaviour. The best way to guide and strengthen your child’s behaviour is by reinforcing your child’s good behaviour.

Explore positive reinforcement, clear and consistent boundaries, proactive communication, and implementing behavior management techniques tailored to individual needs.

Encourage and reinforce positive behaviors through praise, rewards, and consistent modeling. Implement behavior charts or token systems to track progress and provide incentives.

Maintain open lines of communication, share observations and strategies, and work together to create a consistent approach across home and school environments. Regularly update and review progress.

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