7+ Years

Parents (USA) - - Contents - By KRIS­TEN KEMP

Strate­gies for when he mis­be­haves at school

Find out what hap­pened.

Kids this age are ex­posed to many new sit­u­a­tions, and mis­be­hav­ior be­comes more com­mon, even among kids who have never had dis­ci­pline prob­lems be­fore. You may feel em­bar­rassed or an­gry if you get a call from your child’s teacher, but at this point, just gather the facts. Don’t de­fend your child or throw him un­der the bus. Sim­ply say, “Now that I know of the con­cerns, let’s find a time to talk.”

Get the other side of the story.

You’ll want your child to weigh in, but don’t start by show­ing how up­set you are. Say some­thing like, “Mrs. Roberts called and said you’ve been act­ing out in class. Can you ex­plain what’s go­ing on?” En­cour­age her to tell the story as if she were watch­ing it in a TV show. This will give you a bet­ter idea of what led up to the prob­lem.

Make a plan.

Once you have the whole story, talk with your child about how he can pre­vent the prob­lem from hap­pen­ing again. If he yelled be­cause he was mad, for in­stance, you can dis­cuss bet­ter re­ac­tions such as con­fid­ing in a teacher or walk­ing away. If the soc­cer coach says he was fooling around with a friend at prac­tice, talk about why it’s im­por­tant to pay at­ten­tion and how he was dis­rup­tive. Don’t pun­ish him, but let him know there will be con­se­quences if the be­hav­ior con­tin­ues.

Fol­low up with school.

Tell your child you’re go­ing to fill in her teacher or coach on what you dis­cussed. Once she re­al­izes ev­ery­one is on board, she’ll be less likely to re­peat the be­hav­ior be­cause she knows she won’t get away with it. Also ask the teacher for any sug­ges­tions. If your child is prone to talk­ing in class, the teacher might place her next to a qui­eter class­mate.

Sources: Michele Borba, ED.D., au­thor of No More Mis­be­hav­inõ; Brad Sachs, PH.D., a fam­ily psy­chol­o­gist in Columbia, Mary­land.

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