Four Four Four Two: What to do when your child’s behaviour changes


There are four main stages to changing behaviour, says forensic psychologist and education expert Dr Helen Korsgaard.

What you can do when you have your child: 1.

You can talk about the changes in your child, whether or not they’re normal.


You need to consider what you can say to your child to make sure they’re doing what they need to be doing to improve their behaviour.


You should try to find out how your child reacts to certain types of feedback, like when they hear your voice or when they get the news of someone being loved.


If you can, you can give them a bit of support.

What to do if your child starts behaving differently?

To give your child a chance to adjust, you might be able to: give them some reassurance that they’re OK.

This might be through a text or phone call or a chat with someone who is more knowledgeable. 

This might also be an activity you can choose to do in your home.

Find out more about how to support children with autism and communication disorders.

How to talk to your kid about changes in behaviour When your child does something you want to tell them about, it’s best to tell yourself about it first.

Ask yourself: What is it that I want my child to know?

What would I tell my child?

How would I say it?

If you don’t know what you want your child know, ask them.

For example, you could ask: What is your favourite colour?

Which one of your kids is your favorite?

When your child says something they don’t like, say it.

If you want them to stop saying it, say: What are you going to do about it?

When your kid is starting to act differently, it might be helpful to talk about that too.

Talking about the change in behaviour with your child may give your kid a chance, so you might want to: find out more and listen to your own children, or: listen to the behaviour itself, to understand what your child is doing differently and how they’re reacting to it.

Read more about the different stages of communication with your kid.

Is there a reason to panic?


But not only does this not necessarily mean your child will be able do something inappropriate or harmful to you or others, it can also help you to be calm and focus on what’s important.

If your child doesn’t behave differently, you should feel reassured and ready to go ahead with your usual parenting routine.

Read more of our advice about how best to deal with behaviour changes.