The 4 types of challenging behaviour (and how to deal with them)

Dealing with challenging behaviour is something that features regularly in Youth Work (certainly my work!).  It’s been an issue that comes up often with workers and volunteers on their staff development wish lists, and each time it does I go straight to my main man, Rudolf Dreikurs.


cheery looking chap

Dreikurs wrote mostly about classroom behaviour management but I’ve found it translates easily enough.  However, each time I’ve gone to find a straight forward example for Youth Work settings I can only find poor quality scans of photocopies or tables with five or six columns or versions that are obviously about kids in class so I’ve adapted it (below). 4 types of challenging behaviour copy This (below again) is also something that people seem to have found useful as a practical guide of different approaches to verbal challenges, especially in response to offensive language. Responses to offensive language and behaviourAnother model that I’ve found useful in the past has been John Heron’s Six Category Intervention Analysis (1975) which helps to look at different intervention styles.  Without suggesting that one is better than another it can just be helpful to try something different if what you’re currently doing isn’t working.

Six Category Intervention Analysis


I’d be interested to hear if other people use different frameworks and what they think work well.  And any feedback on the above adaptation is very welcome too!    

3 thoughts on “The 4 types of challenging behaviour (and how to deal with them)

  1. Jessica Price says:

    Hi Adam. I’m a youth worker for a young carers charity and a year 2 youth work degree student. Just wanted to leave a comment to let you know that I’m really enjoying you posts so please keep at it! Very thought provoking whilst providing a bit of light relief after a stressful session or in the middle of an assignment. The swearing one is a favourite and made me and colleagues giggle!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s