Behaviours that challenge

As children start to develop and grow, they can often go through phases of displaying behaviours that we as adults find challenging to address or manage. 

Teen age boy sat with head in hands

Younger children often explore, test and push boundaries as they try to work out where they fit in with their peers and also to work out what they can and can't get away with, whilst building their own coping mechanisms and developing resilience. Behaviours can range from crying at the simplest of things through to full blown physical outbursts, all of which can be tiring for parents who are trying to support them.  This is a normal developmental stage and to explore this further, we would suggest speaking with your health visitor.

Some behaviours may be a response to something specific that has happened in their life such as separation, bereavement or bullying and often have specific triggers whilst other behaviours may be linked to a medical or neurodevelopmental condition such as autism or ADHD and can be anxiety led, sensory triggered or due to the child's inability to articulate their frustrations.

What can you do?

There are lots of strategies out there for supporting behaviours that you may find challenging whether these are typical toddler type behaviours, autism related, demand avoidance or behaviours linked to emotional wellbeing. The section below will help you to identify courses, resources and information about services that may be able to help you on your journey to supporting these difficulties. 

Courses such as the Webster Stratton Programme are a good starting point as they help to understand and support behaviours, emotional control and improved interactions. These courses are often pre-requisites for accessing other services.

Support and advice


Webster Stratton Incredible Years Programme
This programme runs over a number of weeks and looks at behaviours in children and what we can do to support these including the use of boundaries, positive play and relationships. You can speak to your school SENDCo or the local Family Information Service who will be able to you find your local course providers.

Talking Teens
Talking Teens looks at the changes that our teenagers go through and gives advice and strategies to support these.

For more information on these courses, and others, please visit the Barnsley Family Hubs website

Autism specific courses
For autism specific courses and programmes, please visit the Autism section of this Support Hub

Where to find help

0-19 Public Health Nursing Service
01226 774411

Barnsley Family Hubs and Start for Life
Family hubs are ‘one-stop-shops’ where families can access services in their community.They support families from pregnancy through early years and later childhood, up to the age of 19 (or 25 for young people with special educational needs and disabilities).

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation
The Family Support Service can provide information and support about the needs of your family member with a severe learning disability. Their support is confidential, they won’t judge you or tell you what to do.
Email:   |   Telephone: 0300 666 0126

Young Minds: A parents guide to challenging behaviour
If you are experiencing challenging behaviour from your child or young person, Young Minds have tips for what you can do and where to get help.


Downloads and Resources

Recommended reading list

100 Strategies to support children's behaviour and emotional wellbeing
by Cath Hunter  ISBN: 1032460237

Be Calm: A child's guide to feeling relaxed and happy
by Summersdale  ISBN: 1800077114

The Behaviour Matter Collections (10 books)
by Franklin Watts

What makes me do the things I do?
by Molly Potter and Sara Jennings ISBN: 1472973984

Understanding children's behaviours
by Penny Tassoni  ISBN:1472952677

Did this information help you?

  • Page last reviewed: 8 January 2024
  • Next review due: 6 January 2025