When is challenging behaviour a sign of something serious?

This article was originally published on Facebook as part of PCC's 2014 Children's Mental Health Week campaign. We also published articles about child and youth anxiety and depression, which are available to read on our website. 

Challenging behaviour is a common issue that many parents face. It’s normal for a child to struggle with managing their behaviour, such as when they’re stressed, hungry or tired. Irritability and tantrums are ways for younger children to let you know that they don’t feel well or are frustrated. But what if your child frequently hits others, lies or steals despite your best efforts to help them stop? 

There are many factors that can contribute to a child struggling to manage their behaviour, either for a short or ongoing period of time. Sometimes a child may feel frustrated, angry or sad because they have difficulty understanding and communicating with others, or they may act impulsively without thinking or because they’re anxious or depressed. For older children, bullying, deliberately annoying or hurting others, breaking things, lying and frequent tantrums are some of the signs that your child may need help. 

Counselling and social skills training can help a child learn how to understand, manage and control his or her thoughts and behaviour. Programs that involve the entire family are often the most effective at helping a child and his or her family to address and manage behaviour. As a parent, you are in the best position to know, understand and support your child. 

If you think your child could benefit from learning how to manage their behaviour more successfully, Peel Children’s Centre offers a range of programs and services that can help you with your child. To access these services, call Mental Health Services for Children and Youth at 905-451-4655. Free walk-in counselling is also available throughout the week in Peel Region – learn more by visiting http://tangerinewalkin.com. In a crisis, you can call our Crisis Response Line at 416-410-8615 – this service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days year. 

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