When you receive information about your child’s actions or antics at school, and it's not in the form of a glowing report, you might feel confused and overwhelmed. It’s normal to want your child to perform well at school, both academically and behaviorally. Look at the situation carefully to figure out what’s motivating the misbehavior and then work to resolve it.
1. Analyze the Behavior
Misbehavior has a reason, so when your child has trouble behaving at school, delve deep to figure out what’s going on, suggests child development assistant specialist Deborah Richardson, with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. Perhaps your child wants attention or feels unaccepted by peers. Your youngster might also act out due to a lack of confidence if work is too difficult or even because of physical discomforts such as tiredness or illness. If your child has upheaval or trauma in her life, such as divorce, military deployment or death in the family, acting out may be her way to express anger, fear or frustration.
2. Meet with School Staff
Make an appointment to meet with your child’s teachers, guidance counselor and administrative staff to learn about the behaviors occurring at school, advise experts with the Maryland School Mental Health Alliance. Project an attitude of cooperation and problem-solving as you speak with school staff, uniting everyone as a team to work together to resolve the behavioral problems. Ask questions to learn about the school’s experiences with your youngster and opinions about the problems. Share relevant details about your child to help staff understand her more fully. Work toward a plan of action to manage and improve your youngster's behavior.
3. Home Consequences
Gauge the appropriateness of home consequences for school behavior. If your child’s misbehavior involves minor infractions such as running in school or forgetting a library book, let school personnel deal with these issues without bringing them home, suggests social worker James Lehman, with the Empowering Parents website. However, for school misbehavior that involves vandalism, truancy or aggression toward peers or teachers, incorporate home consequences that mirror school consequences. You might institute some type of grounding or privilege loss that lasts as long as a detention or suspension, for example.
4. Guide, Encourage and Support
Provide encouragement, guidance and support to help your child overcome school misbehavior. This can be especially important if your child receives a negative label as a “troublemaker” at school, because your youngster might begin to mold himself subconsciously to become the label. Separate the behavior from your child as you consider your child’s actions, as you speak with teachers and as you talk to your youngster, too. Avoid defending unacceptable behavior and help your child learn more acceptable and positive ways of behaving and interacting with others. If you receive a recommendation for professional help for your child, explore this possible option of help and support for your child.
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