If you are worried about a child that is displaying harmful behaviours, it may be for a variety of reasons. Call 0345 155 1071 if you have a concern.
Children can display harmful behaviours to themselves and others around them.
Alarmingly, children and young people are increasingly misusing alcohol and drugs. Consequences range from non-attendance and poor attainment at school, poor health and committing crimes to support ‘habits’ as well as increased risk of falling victim of violent crime and sexual exploitation.
Many children and young people who live with substance misusing parents and carers often suffer its ill effects. They are often neglected, suffer from domestic abuse and are at an increased risk of misusing alcohol and illegal drugs themselves.
If you think a child or young person shows signs of drug or alcohol abuse, you can visit Ask Frank for help and advice
There is a guide for parents and carers of children you self-harm from the University of Oxford.
Children and young people who self-harm are not typically seeking attention or trying to commit suicide, but it can be a way for them to deal with overwhelming or distressing feelings and bring control into their lives.
Self-harm can involve a child cutting, burning, bruising, poisoning, scratching, hair-pulling or overdosing. Children and young people who show signs of self harm need support, love and understanding to help them stop.
It’s not unusual for children and young people to feel down, depressed and upset. However, for some children these feelings can be so intense that they might try to take their own life. Due to the number of changes they are going through, both hormonally and in life, young people can be particularly vulnerable to feeling suicidal.
They can feel very scared of the future, anxious about career and academic pressures, overwhelmed by worries about personal relationships and sexuality, and can feel pressurised by peers into risky behaviour, including or drug and alcohol abuse.
Harmful sexual behaviour involves one or more children engaging in sexual discussions or acts that are inappropriate for their age or stage of development. These can range from using sexually explicit words and phrases to full penetrative sex with other children or adults (Rich, 2011).
Communicating with children and young people about sexual activities can be an embarrassing experience for any parent or carer, but when they are displaying signs of sexually harmful behaviour it is essential to talk to them about their actions and seek help.
For more advice on this you can visit the NSPCC
Domestic violence and abuse is not always committed by a parent or carer. If a child or young person is abusive towards another member of the family, a sibling, parent or relative, this is considered domestic abuse. The abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual or financial.
If you think a child you know is involved in domestic abuse, there may be many reasons behind their behaviour. For help and support in dealing with it you can speak to the National Domestic violence Helpline or speak to the Devon Domestic Abuse Support Service