What is it?

A behavioural disorder is when a child has difficulty with their emotions and behaviours. Their behaviour can be negative towards others, not follow expected rules or they may not do as asked or expected.

To be diagnosed, the behaviour has to be severe enough that it affecting the child’s ability to function (such as physically, socially, academically, etc.)


What will my GP do?

Your GP may refer your child for treatment. Mild to moderate behavioural disorders in children can be treated effectively with early intervention and child behaviour strategies. A referral does not mean that your child is seriously mentally unwell.

Your GP may also:

  • Refer you to a parenting program to learn new strategies to manage their behaviour
  • Refer to a specialist service if the behavioural disorder is severe or if your child might need medication

Your GP will want your child to come back so they can check how they are improving. If they are not improving, your GP may discuss other options to assist.


What can I do?

It is important to support your child in learning how to manage their emotions and behaviour. Treatment can often take time.

Some of the things that you can do include:

  • Getting treatment early as it helps prevent the behaviour getting worse
  • Spend quality time with your child to strengthen the relationship
  • Try not to get frustrated when your child is being reactive or not behaving like you want them to. It may make the situation worse.
  • Look after yourself – you are the child’s main support and it is easy to forget to maintain good self-care.