(3 Minute read)
In this final segment, I’d like to share a bit more about why a child might behave at home but act out at school.
There might be a stressor at home that is affecting the child, but she feels guilty, confused, torn, or otherwise unable to express her feelings. Instead, the cry for help is coming out at school.
For example, there might be a sibling with special needs who consumes most of the parents’ time, or a baby with a serious medical illness who needs constant medical attention and hospital visits. Perhaps a sibling is bullying this child and the parents feel powerless to stop the bullying. Alternatively, the parents might be in the midst of planning a wedding for an older sibling, and they are too busy to pay attention to a younger, needy child.
Regardless, the child notices that the parents are depleted and chooses to behave at home in an effort to not complicate things further. But at school, the emotions come pouring out through acts of misbehavior.
For teachers, principals, therapists, and social skills coaches:
- Ask parents directly if there are any stressors at home that might be affecting the child
- If the answer is “Yes,” acknowledge and validate the child that the stressors are real, that the child might be feeling ignored and neglected, and that it makes sense that she’s feeling this way considering the circumstances. Discuss a plan with the child to give her more attention and time
- Whether the answer is “Yes” or “No,” discuss with and encourage the parents to implement “Special Mommy/Daddy Time” on a weekly basis
- If possible, arrange for a school mentor (e.g. Big Brother/Big Sister program) to get involved to give the child extra attention, especially if it is completely unfeasible for the parents to do so at this time
- Implement an emotion program in which the child can talk about her feelings. An Emotion web one way to do it. Mini-Emotion Books are another way. Creating an Emotion Section in the child’s notebook is a third way. Don’t focus only on the negative ones; talk about a variety of emotions including the positive ones.
1. Acknowledge and validate the child as in Step #2 above.
2. Try hard to implement “Special Mommy/Daddy Time” on a weekly basis. 15-20 minutes per week can do wonders for a child!!
3. Reach out to community organizations (if available and relevant) that help families experiencing specific stressors so that a mentor can get involved and give the child extra attention
4. If bullying is going on in the family, reach out to a therapist who can empower the parents to stop the cycle.
Have you ever wanted to learn some of the strategies that are mentioned in the blog but didn’t know where to get the training?
Coming soon on our website!
Mini-Workshops to teach a variety of skills to educators, parents, and professionals, such as the following and more:
- Mini-Emotion Books
- Emotion Webs
- Special Mommy/Daddy Time
- Sibling Rivalry
- Red Green Social
- Behavior Stories
- Mini-Behavior Books
Look out for them in the next few weeks!!
Have an exciting week!