Concerned about my child’s behaviour at home
It can be very worrying if your child’s behaviour becomes challenging, or if they are withdrawn from their surroundings, unhappy or isolating themselves from those around them.
If you have any questions or concerns at all about your child, contact your local Health Visitor service. Your local Health Visitor service offers support for parents of all children (from pregnancy to age five), whatever their circumstances.
Visit the Community Children’s Health Partnership website to find out how to contact your local Health Visitor.
Some of the concerns that families have may include:
- My child seems unhappy
- My child has high levels of anxiety
- My child has behaviour problems
- I think my child may be being bullied
My child seems unhappy
If your child seems anxious, sad or withdrawn then it’s important to talk with them to find out why.
Some children will talk freely, and problems can be identified quickly. Others may need more time to feel they are able to share what is bothering them.
If your child doesn’t want to talk to you about what is worrying them, try asking them whilst doing an activity together as they may feel more able to talk if they feel relaxed.
You could also talk through their day, asking what their favourite time of the day is and what they dislike, to try and find out where the problem lies.
Reading books that encourage them to share their worries can also help.
Once you have found out what is troubling them you can discuss with them ways in which you may be able to support them.
Problems at school can affect behaviour at home so if you think the issue relates to school you can read our article, I’m worried about my child’s behaviour at school for further information.
My child has high levels of anxiety
Nearly one in five young people will experience high levels of anxiety.
There are many things that may trigger anxiety such as:
school transitions from one school to another
school demands and pressures
peers or friendships groups
worrying about, or caring for, a loved one
bullying, or fear of being bullied
The council have a series of toolkits to help children and young people, their parents/carers and education professionals with managing anxiety.
Off the Record provides mental health support to children in South Gloucestershire.
If your child is a teenager, encourage them to visit our Mind You website. A national charity Young Minds also have information on problems at school and a crisis messenger service.
If your child is having difficulties sleeping there Sleep Toolkits that may help:
- Early Years 0 – 5 years
- Childhood 5 – 13 years
- Adolescence 13 – 18 years
- Special Educational Needs and Disability
My child is showing behaviour problems
All children go through phases of showing behaviour that parents may find difficult to see. This may be due to a change such as a new baby in the house, moving home or starting school.
If your child’s behavioural problems go on for a prolonged period, you may want to speak to your GP or education setting It is useful to keep a behaviour diary before meeting with any professionals.
Keep a note of:
when and timings to help see if there is a pattern
what happened before the behaviour change?
how you addressed it
how your child felt after, such as were they sorry, withdrawn or overwhelmed
Make sure you share any strategies you use with anyone else who is looking after your child. It is important that behaviour is dealt with in a consistent way.
Find out from school if they are seeing any changes in your child. It might be that something at school is upsetting them, and this is the reason they are displaying their behaviour at home where they feel safe.
Talk to your school they may suggest different services that can help and support.
Your child may benefit from a Early Help Assessment and Plan (EHAP). The EHAP assessment is designed to support families and professionals to work together to achieve the best possible future for your child.
By searching our online directory, you can find details of groups and services with a range of information about parenting and parenting support available in South Gloucestershire
If one or more of your children have, or you think they may have special educational needs or a disability (SEND), remember that discipline strategies that work with your other children may not work with them. You may find it helpful to visit our SEND Local Offer website.
I think my child may be being bullied
Children who are being bullied may:
come home with dirty or damaged clothes and lost or damaged belongings
have unexplained bruises or scratches
seem to have money missing or ask for money
arrive at school or get home late because they have changed their route to or from school
be afraid or refuse to go to school
be unhappy, depressed or unwell
have lost confidence or appear nervous or distressed
have problems with eating or sleeping
If you think your child is being bullied, you should talk to them to find out more. Make sure they know that it is not their fault and that they are not alone. You could try keeping a diary of bullying events, recording what happened, where it happened and who was involved.
If your child is being bullied by someone from school, you may wish to meet with your child’s teacher or tutor.
Be available for your child to talk to you about their worries and make sure they know where they can go to for support. This could be yourself or a teacher they trust. Your child may wish to contact Childline either via the telephone or to chat online to talk about their worries.
You can read more about bullying on the NSPCC website or the Anti-bullying Alliance website
Further information on bullying is available to read on the South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board website
Many children now have access to the internet and social media. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that takes place online.
Recognising the signs of cyberbullying can be difficult and you may be unable to monitor your child’s use of the internet or their mobile phone.
Changes in your child's behaviour, such as not using their phone, computer or tablet as much as they did could be because they have been bullied online.
You could try to make things safer by:
getting to know more about the technology and social media they use
understanding the risks and taking an interest in how they are interacting with others
discussing with your child how to keep themselves safe online
A national charity “Internet Matters” provide guides on using parental controls and privacy settings.
Further details are available on the Council’s safeguarding website which explains the importance of keeping children safe online.
You can read more about cyberbullying on the NSPCC website or the Bullying UK website.