Child and Adolescent Negative Behaviour

Managing children’s and adolescents difficult and negative behaviour can at the best times be very tough, but when things get out of control, it can be especially exhausting and difficult for most to cope. Worst of all, it can often leave parents and other members of the family feeling like there is no end to the situation and conflict, and it doesn’t take long for parent’s confusion to set in about how to manage very difficult behaviours.


When children exhibit negative behaviours, the children can sometimes act in ways that can sometimes appear bewildering, and parents are often left wondering where that behavior came from?? Even when parents try to address it, the children themselves find it hard to understand what it is they are doing wrong and worse still struggle to express how they are truly feeling, and thus negative patterns just don’t change.


Unfortunately, this is because the younger the child, the more difficult it is for them to express and articulate verbally exactly what is going on for them inside, so the only language they really have is through their behavior – referred to as nonverbal means of expression. This can come in many forms:

  • Temper tantrums

  • Rebellion,

  • Underachievement (especially in school),

  • Not wanting to get on with anyone at school

  • Delinquency

  • Fighting and or arguing with siblings

  • Unusual silliness

  • Excessive crying

  • Dawdling, or zoning out

  • Not listening and ignoring instructions,

  • Out of character shouting, screaming, and hitting other children, and

  • Other negative attention-seeking behavior, which is actually a way or means of children non-verbally trying to express negative                 emotions they don’t know how else to express.


What Now? - Well, all is not lost! Managing the behaviour and NOT blaming the child is the most important thing to do, but often when parents feel at a loss of what to do next, doing this can be extremely difficult!!


Child and Adolescent or Family Counselling

Can support and teach the child to express the negative feelings and emotions they are experiencing more effectively.


Child and Adolescent Psychology or Counselling

Can support and teach the child to express the negative feelings and emotions they are experiencing more effectively. If you are a parent and would like better understanding of how to manage and cope with difficult behaviours and negative emotions, please feel free to make and appointment for yourself and or child and we can discuss in the ‘treatment plan’ on how to go forward from here.

Michelle Barratt Psychology - Brisbane Child Clinical Psychologists


Child and Adolescent Negative Behaviour


35 Wondall Road


Qld 4178

Tel: 0401 924 331 

Fax:  (07) 3009 0553


Suite 37, Level 1 Benson House,

No. 2 Benson Street, TOOWONG,

Qld 4066.

Tel: 0411 731 516

Fax: (07) 3009 0075


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Michelle Barratt is a Fellow of the Clinical College at the Australian Psychological Society.