Every parent dreads receiving a call from a child's school in the middle of the day. The call is not often to congratulate parents about something or extend an invitation to an upcoming event; those calls usually wait until after school. Instead, it's likely related to undesired student behavior that has disrupted the class. If this is happening far too regularly, the behavior needs to be addressed. The following tips can help.
1. Speak to the Teacher
The first thing to do after finding out your child is disruptive in class is to meet with the teacher. It's important not to get defensive during this meeting. Instead, have the teacher explain exactly what your child is doing and what he or she thinks the underlying cause may be.
Also, discuss whether the issue is occurring at the same time every day. If your child is suffering from dyslexia, for instance, he may get rowdy right before reading time out of fear he'll be ridiculed. There are many things you can do to pinpoint what's causing this behavior, but starting with parent-teacher conversation is always the right first step.
2. Take Another Look at Your Child's Friends
After speaking to the teacher, you may notice that another child is always getting in trouble along with yours. You might have also noticed this behavior in the neighborhood. If this is the case, it's time to reassess how much time your child spends with that friend. Setting up a time to speak with the other child's parents could also help to prevent your little one from losing a friend.
3. Ensure Appropriate Consequences at Home
If your child gets in trouble for chewing gum or being late for class, it's probably best to just let the school handle the consequences. When behavior becomes disruptive for other students, though, it's time to create at-home consequences. Did your child get sent home or fighting? Take away all of his electronics during the suspension. If he is rude to his teacher, make him apologize and do additional chores at home or for the teacher directly. Whatever the case may be, you simply must let your child know there are consequences, in and out of school, for disruptive behavior.
It's also important to acknowledge good behavior when you see it. Some parents and educators may choose a reward system to do this, while others may simply use praise as its own reward. Whichever method is chosen, focusing on good, specific behaviors is a way to encourage the child to continue them.
4. Look at Home Settings
When trying to correct disruptive behavior in children, it's important to remember that they may be reacting to issues at home. If a parent is working all of the time, a child may feel the need for attention, and unfortunately, he'll sometimes seek this attention in disruptive ways. Fully consider your child's current home life, and if you see something that might need changing, change it. If a child is struggling with disruptive classroom behavior, oftentimes, there is an underlying issue. If the child has not previously spoken to a counselor, a new school year is a great time to start. Regardless of how supportive parents may be, sometimes children won't reveal problems until they are speaking to a professional.
5. Discuss Behavior With Child
Speaking with your child's teacher and ensuring appropriate consequences are essential steps for working towards eliminating disruptive behavior, but you'll also want to go directly to the source. Ask your child why he's acting out. Is something making him anxious? Does he feel like he's not getting enough attention? There could be an underlying problem you've not even considered. If you think you've figured it out, lay out a plan with your child to help alleviate the underlying cause. Take the time to notify the teacher as well. Regardless of how supportive parents may be, sometimes children won't reveal problems until they are speaking to a professional. Consider scheduling a session with the school counselor if your child doesn't open up at home.
Regardless of the many parenting books available, raising a child simply doesn't come with a manual. It can be heartbreaking to find out that your little one is “that kid” in class, but remember that there's always something you can do to help him out. With a little bit of information and attention, you may discover it's not his fault at all. And, if the behavior continues despite all your parenting interventions, it may be related to a developmental issue that needs the help of a professional.
To learn more about the Brain Balance Program and our whole-child approach to academic, social and behavioral issues, contact us online or find a center near you.