Behaviour of Concern

Experiencing different emotions at a time that are strong and overwhelming is very confusing for a young person and may lead to unpredictable or changeable behaviour. The factors that influence how a child or young person may behave include:

  • Pressure and expectations (both real or perceived) or demands (especially being asked to do something they don’t want or feel able to do)
  • Hormone fluctuations and developmental changes (going from a baby to infant to child to teenager)
  • Pain or feeling unwell (physically or emotionally)
  • Unpredictability, uncertainty or change
  • Strong emotional states (especially fear, anger or sadness)
  • Interactions with others (such as friends, family, teachers or even strangers)
  • Significant life events (such as bereavement/ loss, bullying, illness/ accident/ injury, trauma)

If a child or young person is behaving in a way that is concerning or that places themselves or others at risk, it can be worrying and difficult to know how best to support them.

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 concerning behaviour and how to find other ways of achieving the same function without needing to use concerning behaviour.

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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