Child behavior problems are never isolated to home or school. As a parent, you are present at home to address behavior problems when they arise. However, when your child is in a classroom at school behavioral problems can occur while you are not present. What do you do? How do you address the child? These are essential questions that you are probably asking about your child right now!
The anxiety and stress you may feel related to your kid’s behavior problems at school are all too familiar. Feeling the pressure of getting your kid to “pull it together” at school can be a lot for any mom or dad to handle.
So, what do you do when your child has a behavioral problem at school? You can’t be in two places at one time to take care of it. Many times, the child doesn’t always make the connection with what happened at school and consequences at home, especially for younger kids.
Whether it’s your first child or you’ve walked through this before, here are some great tips to help you navigate behavior problems at school:
Begin With The End in Mind.
- Your child’s behavior is not just about today’s challenge; this is about them becoming a responsible adult with virtue and character. Because of that, take time to look at your parenting philosophy. How are you teaching virtues that will impact them for life? Teaching virtue is not a simple process, but if kids are going to change, sometimes it takes us as parents changing first.
- Example: Your child doesn’t put his/her toys away. Use direct and concise language while instilling the “why,” or the virtue that is valuable. Use only 5-10 word sentences. “Let’s be responsible. You must put your toys away.” This encourages them to value responsibility and limits their ability to go another direction.
Don’t Assume Expectations are Understood.
- My parents always told me, “Delayed obedience, is disobedience.” Kids do not respond well and can be confused when we give them orders from a distance, transition without warning or listing rapid-fire instructions. Make sure they know what it is expected of them and are clear on the consequences of disobedience from the beginning.
Be Consistent With Your Discipline.
- Consistency sets a course of action that gives stability. Stability brings comfort–even when giving instruction. At times, children will “try it” to see if they can get away with something. If you’re consistent, they will know you mean business. Be consistent with disobedience and the related consequences. By setting the consequences upfront, you are providing your child with clear expectations.
Be Proactive in Setting Expectations.
- Proactive parenting is a great place to start when encouraging positive behavior in the classroom. As you learn the common difficulties your student will have on a daily basis at school, start each day by speaking with them about it. Remind them of the expectations, rewards, and consequences that come with obedience and disobedience.
Discipline At Home Relevant to School Issues.
- When it comes to consequences at home for school-related behavioral challenges, ensure they are related to the problem. For example, loss of iPad time for not doing schoolwork are unrelated. Giving additional homework that they must complete independently, is a related consequence to not doing school work. In the process, they may end up losing iPad time, but it should not be the direct consequence. This encourages kids to change their behavior at school every time they are tempted to act out and remember the consequences that are waiting for them at home.
Behavior Can Be Changed.
- The good news is that your child’s behavior can change for the good. Whether it is maturity and growing up, or intentional discipline and knowing kids better, every kid grows in time. By understanding your child and working with teachers, you can learn what triggers inappropriate behavior and prevent it. You can empower positive behavior by acknowledging the change. Teach a replacement behavior, and respond in a way that deters the behavior.
- The best changes happen when parents and teachers work together. Parent-teacher conferences are a great start and can provide both parties with a strategy to promote change. Whether it is in their take-home folder or email, it helps to be in constant communication with your child’s teacher and ensure you are both on the same page with what is going on with your child’s behavior problems in the classroom.
As you are working with your child and school behavior problems, remember that many other parents are going through the same thing. There are a lot of great resources available to help you improve your child’s school behavior.
At HCA, we desire to help families in any way that we can. Our teachers, counselors, and staff are passionate about helping you and providing your child with the best experience. We want to work together to provide you with the resources you need to navigate childhood. We would love to talk to you about your child’s specific needs. Call us today and speak with a staff member about your needs and schedule an appointment to visit Hillsdale Christian Academy. We want to help give you the education your child deserves.