If your child has difficult behaviour

All children can be naughty at times. This is a normal part of growing up. Some children have difficult and challenging behaviours that are not normal for their age.

These behaviours include things that might cause harm to themselves or to others, like:

  • fighting
  • making threats
  • throwing furniture
  • hitting
  • biting.

You might find these behaviours upsetting and difficult to deal with. It's important you understand the behaviours and why your child might be acting out.

Work with your child’s school

Contact the school if you have concerns about your child’s behaviour. You should ask to speak to your child’s teacher, year level coordinator or a wellbeing staff member.

The school will suggest a plan to address your child’s behaviour. This is called a behaviour support plan. It will include things you, your child and the school can do to help your child.

The plan might include help from staff in school. For example, from school nurses, speech pathologists or psychologists.

It's important to let your school know if your child has a:

  • medical condition
  • mental health issue
  • disability.

The school might ask for your consent to speak to your child’s doctor or health professionals. This is so the school can give your child the right support.

Things you can do at home

Talk to your child at the end of the school day. This will help you find out what they have done at school, what was good about their day and what wasn't. It's important that you:

  • do not criticise or lecture
  • do not overreact. Listen and share your ideas instead.
  • treat them with the same courtesy and respect that you show adults.

Talk to your doctor. They can rule out any medical causes for the behaviour. They can also make referrals to other professionals like psychologists.

You can also contact Headspace if you're worried about your child’s mental health.

Students with a disability

If your child’s behaviour is related to a disability, you may be eligible for support. Contact:

  • DHHS - the disability intake and response service on 1800 783 783, or
  • NDIS on 1800 800 110

Get help

Parentline can offer you support and advice.