At what point does behavior become challenging?
Since there is no generally agreed definition of what constitutes challenging behaviour it follows that there can be great variation in what is identified as challenging, by whom it is identified, and from whom it is manifested. [ All behaviour is relative to a context be it social, environmental, cultural, or historical. What is challenging in one context can be perceived as quite normal in
another. The contextual nature of human behaviour makes it difficult to be certain what is appropriate or inappropriate.
Another difficulty in ascertaining whether or not behaviour is challenging is the fact that we cannot be definitive as to whether what we call challenging is a continuum of behaviour or is a distinct category of behaviour. At what exact point does a behaviour cease to be irritating and become challenging? Who makes this judgment and how? What criteria are used to make this judgment? It is well recognised in schools that a child who is described as challenging by one teacher is perceived as a typical youngster by another. All teachers, like all parents and all adults, have differing thresholds of tolerance for behavioural variations. We must exercise caution before we conclude that a child is exhibiting challenging behaviour. As hard as it may be to consider there are times when the problem is within us, not the child.
Researchers continue to tease out biological versus environmental factors as causal agents in challenging behaviour. The old question of nature or nurture has been answered definitively now. It is neither one or the other but both; it is how our nature is nurtured that largely determines our behavioural repertoire. There are however, biological factors that put an individual at greater risk for development challenging behaviour. Among these are a strong family history of mental health problems or delinquency and temperament. More will be said about this later.
There are gender related issues involved in challenging behaviour as well. In the West, as in most countries, girls are socialised differently from boys. ]
There are no new answers.