When you get that dreaded phone call from school that your son is acting out in class, you probably do not know what to do. Perhaps you are tempted to defend your child, or maybe you cannot wait to get off the phone so you can go have a serious talk with him. No one wants to hear that their child is misbehaving, but taking a little time to regain your composure and face the problem logically will yield better results than tackling it with emotion.
Do you believe your son’s teacher?
When your son’s teacher contacts you, listen. You want to pay attention to what she has to say. No matter if you believe her without question, think she may be exaggerating the behavior, or maybe is just confused about who is causing problems, you should hear her out. One thing that you can be confident of, your son’s teacher is not contacting you for absolutely no reason.
Teachers have limited free time, and use it to grade papers, work on lesson plans, and talk with parents. If a teacher initiates contact with you, you can be sure that there is a cause for concern. Once she explains the situation, you should ask any questions you have. If you had no clue that your child was behaving this way, you may be in shock. Ask if she has any ideas moving forward, and let her know you will call her back if you have additional questions or concerns.
Sternly discuss your son’s classroom behavior.
When you approach your son about the issue, it is important to remain calm. You should neither be defensive about his behavior or overly angry. Let him know his teacher called to let you know he was being disruptive. Hear his side of the story. If he denies it entirely, you may need to speak to his teacher again for concrete examples that you can discuss with him. If he agrees that his behavior has been less than ideal, talk together about how he needs to make some changes.
Who’s he making laugh? Stop the laughter.
Kids often act out to make others laugh and draw attention to themselves. If he is disrupting class in an attempt to make friends, you need to explain that doing so takes instruction time away from everyone and is not fair to his peers.
If he blames another student for being disruptive, and he is just following along, you need to talk about the importance of doing what is right, all the time. Explain to him that you know this can be hard to do, but it is important to practice now. It will only get more difficult as he enters the teenage years.
Are problems at home contributing to your son’s classroom disruptions?
Make sure that your son is getting enough sleep. Are there issues at home that can be overwhelming him and causing him to act out at school, such as domestic issues between you and your significant other? If he has siblings, is he experiencing conflict with them? Sometimes disruptive behavior can be an outlet for something bigger going on outside the classroom.
Plan ways for your child’s disruptions to stop and class to resume.
You should plan to follow up with your son’s teacher. If his behavior doesn’t improve, a meeting to discuss the issue may be necessary. Sitting down with your son and his teacher, while you come up with a plan to improve his behavior, can be humbling for both you and your child. Remember, teachers want the best for their students and appreciate your involvement in the process.
Meetings are a must.
After the meeting, you and your son should have a good idea of what is expected. Perhaps if your child goes an entire school week without being called down by his teacher, you offer a fun activity on the weekend. Conversely, if his behavior doesn’t improve, you may find volunteering in the classroom helps your son remember that you care enough to be involved in his education, so he needs to behave.
Include the teacher.
Working alongside your son’s teacher is the best way to deal with disruptive behavior. It is tempting to excuse bad behavior or blame it on another child, but facing the issue head-on is the quickest way to resolve it. If your son continues to cause issues in the classroom, you may consider scheduling an appointment with a therapist who specializes in children. There may be something deeper going on that your child is hesitant to discuss with you.