Bad Behavior in Children at School

Disruptive behavior in school can lead to a myriad of problems for the teacher, school faculty, classmates and the child causing trouble. Knowing the difference between rude behavior and bad behavior can be a challenge. If your child continuously misbehaves in school, he may be labeled as a "bad child" and become socially isolated. This bad behavior can cause your child to struggle in school and socially, and is heartbreaking for you, as a parent.

School psychologist talking with distraught child. Credit: alexsokolov/iStock/Getty Images

Bad Behavior

Bullying, teasing, hitting and name-calling are forms of bad behavior that occur in school. The adjustments to the rules at school and in the classroom environment can trigger inappropriate behavior in children, especially when in an environment with 20 or more students. With so many different nuances, defining bad behavior is subjective. A teacher's tolerance plays a significant role in defining bad behavior, according to Pat Moranda, an educational psychologist. What one teacher considers disruptive, another teacher passively ignores. Several different types of behaviors cause disruption in the classroom environment for both children and adolescents, according to the University of California, Fullerton. Grandstanding and arguing with the teacher monopolizes the classroom time and is a form of self-focused attention. Also, excessive talking, passing notes or using electronic devices can disrupt the lecture and learning environment during classroom time.

What Causes It

Bad behavior causes have no definitive answer. Emotional changes, genetics and lifestyle play an important role when finding the root cause of behavior issues. If your child is exhibiting disruptive behavior, certain life changes such as divorce, loss of a pet or loved one can lead to the fluctuation in feelings. However, if your child struggles with behavior due to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or oppositional defiant disorder, these underlying conditions may contribute to behavioral issues at school. According to Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an estimated 14 to 20 percent of all children have some type of mental health problem. Your child's lifestyle can contribute to her behavior in school, especially when the home lacks strong parenting skills. She may display these learned behaviors from home, such as bullying, abuse or the inability to follow rules.

How to Help

Finding the corrective techniques to intervene with the disruptive behavior plays an integral role in ceasing the problem. Dr. Markus Bidell and Dr. Robert Deacon, both school counselors, believe that punitive interventions, such as detention, suspension and expulsion are ways to eradicate disruptive behavior in school, but not effective ways to solve your child's problem. Using reconnection techniques through school counselors, instead of isolation, helps to open up lines of communication, reinforce the rules and "connects the dots" for your problematic children. In addition, if his disruptive behavior is of a medical nature, consulting with a family health care professional is advisable. A physician will evaluate his medical history and possibly suggest therapy and/or medications.

What to Consider

A study performed in 2009 by the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta released in the "British Medical Journal" suggests a correlation with an increase in social and health impairments as adults when disruptive behavior exhibited as a child was moderate to extreme, affecting family life, social relationships and employment.

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