Supporting families through challenging behaviour

Transparency and Communication With The Families of People With Challenging Behaviours

James Hourihan, Author

Families play an integral role in their loved one’s progress, and fostering strong, positive relationships with them can greatly improve not only the care provided, but the overall well-being of everyone involved. Clear communication builds trust, reduces stress, and ensures that everyone involved is working towards a common goal. Here, we explore the benefits of clear, empathic collaboration with families of people in care, as well as some practical strategies and tools to improve these interactions.

Benefits of Cohesive Collaboration

Families often experience significant stress when dealing with a loved one’s challenging behaviours. Support and understanding from staff provides the emotional support essential to helping families cope better with these demands. When carers actively engage with those at home, it builds trust and fosters a sense of partnership. Families, being deeply familiar with the individual’s history and needs, can offer invaluable insights that aid in tailoring care plans to better suit the individual. This collaborative approach ensures that care strategies are comprehensive and well-informed.

When families understand clearly the care strategies and interventions being used, they are more likely to feel confident and supportive of the care provided. Transparency in discussions about the care plan and regular updates help in building and maintaining this trust. For instance, providing regular updates on the progress and any changes to an individualised care plan ensures that they are well-informed and can participate actively in the care process. 

Regularly reviewing and adjusting care plans based on feedback from both care staff and families helps maintain their effectiveness and relevance, ensuring continuous improvement in outcomes. Creating opportunities for open dialogue where families can ask questions and share their concerns leverages their unique insights and often leads to more well-rounded solutions.

When families and carers work together seamlessly, it creates a cohesive support network that enhances the person’s progress. This coordinated approach ensures that all aspects of the client’s care are addressed, leading to optimised care and more stable and predictable outcomes.

Tools & Strategies for Effective Collaboration

Understanding the challenges that families face, and offering consistent emotional support goes a long way in effective collaboration between parties. Providing families with regular updates on the progress and changes to care plans ensures they remain well-informed and feel actively involved in the care process.

Empathic communication is key in providing emotional support to loved ones. Simple practices like active listening demonstrate empathy and understanding, helping those involved feel valued and heard. Scheduling regular meetings to discuss care plans and any emerging issues allows carers to leverage a family’s unique insights. Implementing feedback mechanisms to gather family input and adjust strategies accordingly often lead to more comprehensive and effective solutions, as families bring invaluable firsthand knowledge of their loved ones.

Educational workshops and informational resources are essential tools for empowering families. Offering workshops and training sessions on positive behaviour management techniques helps families understand and implement these strategies at home. Providing educational materials they can refer to at home reinforces this learning and ensures they have ongoing support. Empowering loved ones with knowledge not only improves their ability to support their loved ones but also enhances their confidence in handling challenging situations.


Effective collaboration and clear communication with families is an essential component to the ongoing management of challenging behaviour. By fostering a supportive and transparent relationship, care providers can achieve outcomes that benefit not only the person in care but also those around them. When loved ones and care support work towards the same common goal, it ensures a unified approach that enhances the client’s overall well-being and progress. This collaborative effort creates a positive and empowering environment, promoting success and satisfaction for everyone involved.

For more information on our training programs and how we can support your organisation, please contact us here.

About the author

James Hourihan set up Timian Learning and Development in 1994 and has over 30 years experience in delivering training programmes in positive behaviour management to staff across the UK and Overseas. He has developed training programmes which have been certified By BILD Act and approved by the RRN. James has a Bachelors in Development Studies and a Masters Degree in Social Sciences as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in Mental Disability. He also helped develop the BILD Physical Interventions Accreditation Scheme in 2002.

Sign up to our newsletter to receive our helpful learning resources for free

Further Reading From Timian