; Causes of Challenging Behaviour - Youth Work Essentials

Challenging behaviour does not just happen – there are often underlying causes.  If the youth work volunteer is aware of the potential underlying causes, it is possible to empathise with young people and to find more constructive solutions.

Underlying causes of challenging behaviour Constructive approaches to supporting young people
Personal / medical issues such as mental health issues, attention seeking, low motivation, boredom.
  • Support young people sensitively.
  • Build positive relationships with young people.
  • Give encouragement.
  • Involve young people.
  • Signpost young people to appropriate external specialist advice and support.
Group issues such as peer group pressure, reputation.

  • Build positive relationships with young people.
  • Encourage young people’s involvement in deciding youth group activities.
Family and external issues such as lack of parental control and/or encouragement, family and personal problems, erratic attendance.
  • Support young people sensitively.
  • Build positive relationships with young people.
  • Give encouragement.
  • Signpost young people to appropriate external specialist advice and support.
Youth group organisation issues such as inconsistency of management, inappropriate activities, clash of values.

  • Work within code of practice for youth group.
  • Use the Plan – Do – Review approach to designing appropriate activities.
  • Work with volunteers and youth workers to ensure good communications and a consistent message.

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