The Causes of Child Behaviour

Ever felt useless because a child is misbehaving? What causes this behaviour? I deal daily with young people facing the challenge of controlling their behaviour. After every incident, I evaluate what caused that behaviour?

On many occasions, these are not ‘naughty’ children. They are children battling through an emotional time.


It is important to notice that not everyone’s perception of events and incidents are the same. What one person thinks is acceptable, others may not. This can lead the child to become confused and agitated.

What is your perception of these pictures?

How many legs does the elephant have?

Everybody’s perception is different. As parents or teachers, you need to have a clear guideline about what is acceptable and what is not.

Learnt Behaviour

I fostered a young man who showed behaviour that challenges. He had learnt this behaviour from his older brother. His older brother had a brain injury. As a young boy, he saw his brother challenge and get rewards for it. The attention came from medical appointments and other factors from his injury. My young man saw the attention his brother got and decided that this was how he should get attention.

Learning Problems

25% of young people have been diagnosed with dyslexia. To a person with dyslexia, the written word looks like this

Faced with this in life a child will react one of two ways. They will withdraw completely or exhibit behaviour that challenges. Many young people would rather be seen as a ‘naughty’ child than a ‘thick’ child. What better way of achieving this than misbehaving in class. You are then sent out and no one discovers your secret, that you cannot read.

There are other conditions that affect children’s behaviour such as Autism and ADHD. Children with ADHD will physically struggle with paying attention for a long time. They prefer to move from task to task. Within our school, the lessons are a maximum of 45 minutes. We change tasks at least 4 times during this to accommodate those suffering from ADHD.

Autism generally means that children struggle with change. It is important to establish a routine and as far as possible stick to it. This allows the child to feel secure in the knowledge they know what is coming next. Within our school, we accomplish this by having a pictorial timetable. This could easily be adapted for parents who want to inform their children about the day.

Personal Life

This is sadly the most common reason that I find. Some children have such a poor home life that they can not concentrate on school. Would you be willing to work if you did not know where your next meal was coming from? Would you go to work if you were in constant fear of returning home for a beating?

Parents if the behaviour of your child changes the first question I would ask is: Are they being bullied? A tale of caution bullying can happen at any age and be perpetrated by anyone. Many parents would think it was another young person bullying their child. It is worth considering that on occasions teachers have been known to bully children. Have an open, honest conversation with your child and allow them to open up if you think this is occurring.

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