Sometimes You Need to Look Beyond the Misbehavior
As a parent, it’s always tough when you get a call from an educator or read a comment on a report card about your child misbehaving in school.
In these situations, remedying the issue is often a stumbling block.
Do you dole out some tough love? Should you focus on positive reinforcement? Or is it something deeper rooted that might require special attention?
First take a deep breath. This isn’t the end of the world. Children from all walks of life struggle with their behavior at some point. Such is the nature of growing up.
Also, don’t put the cart before the horse.
Solving the problem is nothing but a guessing game if you don’t know the root cause.
With that said, what are the potential underlying issues that trigger bad behavior?
Is it a Symptom of a Deeper Issue?
A child’s behavior – or misbehavior – isn’t cut and dry.
Very often, it might simply result from testing boundaries. In which case, clearly establishing those limits with an appropriate response could do the trick, and you’ll never look back.
But let’s be honest — it’s not always that straightforward. Issues might stem from more deep-rooted problems. And the first place to look should be frustrations or difficulties your child is facing in performing his or her primary job in life as a child, learning.
That is the most likely source of misbehavior in school and at home, especially if that misbehavior at home is related to homework or reading assignments.
When problems are more layered and complicated, merely sending a child to their room or forcing them to do homework might worsen the situation. Your son or daughter would be reprimanded and penalized for something that isn’t their fault.
Moreover, they’d be expected to deal with something many full-grown adults couldn’t handle without help.
While it all depends on the degree of misbehavior, if an educator seems concerned enough, looking for a learning delay is worth pursuing. From there, once you find out the root cause, you can come up with a solution.
Even if it turns out your child’s poor behavior stems from an external factor (e.g., they aren’t eating properly or they are not sleeping), investigating further still helps. You’ll have context for a solution.
Finding the Root of the Behavioral Problem?
Diagnosing a learning issue or behavioral problem is challenging because every child is a unique package of character traits, intelligence, natural skills environments and much more. So going on Twitter or Facebook and asking other parents isn’t going to do the trick – because while each parent’s experience might be helpful, it cannot by definition apply exactly to the unique individual that is your child.
Most learning and reading problems are actually descriptions of behavior, not genetic or other actual differences. For instance, auditory processing disorder describes the inability to process sound at natural language speed. It’s not physical difference, such as a sprained ankle might explain difficulty walking.
And so if your child is misbehaving in school, start Symptoms of APD by looking at symptoms. If you child had speech delays, this list of symptoms of auditory processing delays could help. If most of the behavioral issues show up around reading, try this list of dyslexia symptoms. You”ll note in both cases, we choose a lot of symptoms that you might not intuitively think of as related, but they are.
Failing that, going to a behavioral psychologist or clinician is likely your best course of action. Not only can they provide assessments, but they also can give you a long list of reasons your child is acting out.
For instance, did you know that a child with ADHD is likelier to struggle more with their behavior when consuming too many sweetened desserts, fried food, and salt?
That’s one example, but a specialist can help with your child’s specific needs, whether it involves diet, stimulation, sleep patterns, etc.
If money is an issue, literature from authors (who are verified experts) will also make a world of difference. The more you educate yourself (via accredited resources) on a potential learning difficulty, the more support you can provide your child and help prevent outbursts at school
Coping With Learning Differences
Finding out your child has learning difficulties or differences might seem like a crushing blow. But really, it represent progress, because with this knowledge comes power. You now have the information to help your son or daughter succeed at school behaviorally and as learners.
Specifically, the appropriate learning/behavioral techniques, coping mechanisms, and philosophies can harness your child’s strengths and improve upon their weaknesses.
The above notion rings true for almost any learning challenge.
In fact, many children with learning differences are intellectually gifted. Veering your child onto the right path now can help fully realize that potential. A learning challenge doesn’t have to be a roadblock.
There is then the matter of taking the appropriate course of action.
Typically, a wait-and-see approach won’t work. Acting now with a framework to guide your child’s learning will give them a leg up and a nudge in the right direction.
Strategies to Improve Behavior at School
Equipping your child with a support system based on their needs is crucial. That could mean specialized tutors or behavioral therapists.
It also means having the right learning tools at your disposal.
One example is using a learning intervention software at home with remote coaching that leverages neuroscience principles to promote accelerated learning.
Whether your child is diagnosed with auditory processing difficulties, dyslexia, attention deficits, autism, or has any other learning challenge, our Fast ForWord program can play a transformational role. Applying these tools insightfully while following experts’ guidelines can help offset behavioral issues in the classroom while turning your child into a lifelong learner.
We’ll finish with this parting note: figuring out the cause of a problem is the first step to solving it. A diagnosed learning difficulty gives you a chance to give your child the tools to succeed.