Positive behaviour support strategies for children and adolescents with aggressive behaviours

Practical strategies to help your child with aggressive behaviours achieve better communication, social, emotional, behavioural and learning outcomes.

Behaviour Help is a registered NDIS provider.

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5 hours of professional development


Aggressive behaviours course book and Behaviour Help App

Price: $165

Register on Teachable via credit card or email Dolly for invoice

Anger is often an emotion, individuals experience in response to a real or perceived loss of a possession, space, self-esteem, value or sense of entitlement. Whilst, in the early stages of normal development an individual may react by being physically aggressive as a reaction. Most individuals outgrow this kind of behaviour as they emotionally mature and develop more sophisticated language and problem solving skills, individuals with persistent aggression or with a diagnosis of Conduct Disorder (CD) do not.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5) [American Psychiatric Publishing (APA), 2013], is a handbook that is used by professionals around the world to diagnose mental disorders. The DSM–5 describes CD as a persistent and long term (chronic) pattern of very problematic behaviour in which there are serious violations of social norms and rules. The behaviour problems are associated with physical aggression directed towards people and/or animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness, or theft and/or serious violation of rules. In other words the individuals frequently and persistently aggressive in situations where others of the same age would not respond aggressively. These behaviours cause clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning (APA, 2013).

DSM-5 (APA, 2013) describes the three subtypes of CD:

  1. Childhood onset (i.e. the child showed at least one symptom characteristic of CD before the age of 10 years).
  2. Adolescent onset (i.e. the child showed no symptom characteristic of CD before the age of 10 years).
  3. Unspecified onset (i.e. unable to determine at what age the onset of the first symptom was).


There is no single cause, rather a number of risk factors that may contribute to the development of persistent aggression. They include::

Hereditary factors– Certain personality traits inherited from family members can make the child vulnerable.

Temperamental factors – The child has a difficult temperament or is aggressive from an early age that is difficult to manage.

Environmental factors – The influence of the family is a strong risk factor for many individuals. Some of the family level risk factors include:

  • Parental lack of supervision
  • Parental rejection and neglect
  • Parental discipline is too harsh or too relaxed or inconsistent
  • Parental inconsistent child rearing practices
  • Parental criminality
  • Parental disharmony
  • Lack of parental monitoring
  • Parents with a mental health problem
  • Parents with a substance abuse problems
  • Parents involved in criminal behaviour
  • Individual has been physically or sexually abused,
  • Individual living in institutionalised care
  • Individual has frequent changes of caregivers
  • Individual is part of a large family

Associated Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

Emotional and behavioural difficulties may include some or all of the following:

Aggression towards people and animals

  • Often bullying, threatening, or intimidating others.
  • Often initiating physical fights.
  • Use weapons that can cause serious physical harm to others (e.g. a bat, brick, broken bottle, knife and guns).
  • Being physically cruel to people.
  • Being physically cruel to animals.
  • Stealing while confronting a victim (e.g., mugging, purse snatching, extortion, armed robbery).
  • Forcing others into sexual activity.

Destruction of property

  • Deliberately engaging in fire setting with the intention of causing serious damage.
  • Deliberately destroying others’ property (other than by fire setting).

Deceitfulness or theft

  • Breaking into someone else’s house, building, or car.
  • Often lying to obtain goods or favours or to avoid obligations (i.e. “cons” others).
  • Stealing items of non-trivial value without confronting a victim (e.g. shoplifting, but without breaking and entering; forgery).

Serious violations of rules

  • Often staying out at night despite parental prohibitions
  • Running away from home overnight at least twice while living in parental or parental surrogate home (or once without returning for a lengthy period).
  • Truancy from school

Positive Behaviour Support Strategies for Children and Adolescents with Aggressive Behaviours is an online, self-paced course that will equip you with a toolkit of practical strategies to help your child with aggressive behaviour achieve better communication, social, emotional, behavioural and learning outcomes. You’ll also learn a range of behaviour management strategies to effectively respond to challenging behaviour and develop a prevention plan with the Behaviour Help app.

At the end of this course you will have:

  • A toolkit of practical strategies to assess, manage and prevent challenging behaviours in children with aggression
  • Actionable tools for developing a behaviour support plan that you can apply immediately with your child in your settingLifetime access to the Behaviour Help app, allowing you to develop a behaviour support plan for any child with aggression that you support
  • Lifetime access to the Behaviour Help app, allowing you to develop a behaviour support plan for any child with aggression that you support
  • Lifetime access to free Behaviour Help resources
  • A certificate of participation for 5 hours of professional development

This course is accredited by the Teacher Quality Institute of ACT and NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA).

What you’ll learn

This online, self-paced course is divided into three modules:

Module 1 - Introduction to aggression

  • Defining Aggressive Behaviours
  • Forms of Aggressive Behaviours
  • Prevalence of Aggressive Behaviours
  • Causes of Aggressive Behaviours

Module 2 - Positive Behaviour Support

  • Learn about data collection (frequency, duration and intensity)
  • Complete a functional behaviour assessment
  • Identify triggers and functions of challenging behaviours
  • Develop a customised behaviour support plan
  • Learn and identify safe and appropriate de-escalation management strategies
  • Learn and identify appropriate minimisation and prevention strategies

Module 3 Positive Behaviour Support and Aggression

  • Assess – manage – prevent aggressive behaviour
  • Anger management skills
  • Growing a positive sense of self
  • Guide challenging and changing unhelpful thinking
  • Relationship rights and responsibilities
  • Empathy skills
  • Speaking assertively
  • Social problem-solving skills
  • Interaction skills
  • Objective understanding of behavioural consequences
  • New ways of interpreting communications, actions and attitudes of others

How to enrol and receive your resources

Teachable – Click on START THIS COURSE to begin the course through Teachable, where you’ll be required to pay the course fee of $165 via credit card. If you would prefer an invoice or have multiple participants please email dolly@behaviourhelp.com

Once enrolled, you will receive a Welcome email with the following information:

  • Login Details for the Behaviour Help App

Confirm the email address you would like the Amazon voucher to be sent to so you can download a free copy of the coursebook Positive Behaviour Support Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A step by step guide to assessing, preventing and managing emotional and behavioural difficulties on Amazon Kindle.

Course tasks to complete and send via email to dolly@behaviourhelp.com

Ask Dolly

Since you’re here, you probably have questions and concerns. I am Dolly Bhargava, am here to help. I am a NDIS registered behaviour support practitioner and speech pathologist.

I have worked in a number of settings for over 21 years so, how can I help?

Please tell me what is worrying you right now and I will do my best to recommend resources and/or services that will be most useful to you in your situation.

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