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Naughty At School

by Bassam
(Kuwait)

My 7 grade kid is naughty at school even though he is smart.

Annie's Reply
Hi Bassam,

It is frustrating as a parent when our kids misbehave at school. Our pages on misbehaving children will give you a bigger insight into why kids misbehave and lots of ideas to help them. But in a nutshell, kids act up when they need attention, or stimulation or they need more one on one input to help them learn to be self motivated and to achieve tasks.

But when it comes to school, we have to remember there is usually one teacher to approximately 20 children in a small class, and many classes are bigger. That means each child could only get a maximum of 3 minutes per hour individual attention. That is without the teacher actually doing any teaching or any other activities.

So realistically we simply can't expect our teachers to be able to meet individual needs. So what happens when a child is bored or needs some attention? They play up to get it. That will pretty much guarantee some attention. But of course that ends up being negative.

For teachers to manage large groups of kids there is a lot of emphasis to help kids to conform, do as they are told, and to self manage. Many kids simply do not thrive in that kind of situation.

It is not your job to sort out what happens in school, the teacher has to work with that, but you can help your son by making sure he gets heaps more stimulation and one on one attention at home. Particularly since he is bright, help him to explore and learn about the things he is interested in. The more positive learning experiences you can give him at home, and the more you encourage him to research and find things out, the more he will learn to be more self motivated at school.

Of course you want to support the teacher in helping her to teach him that disrupting the class is not acceptable, but you also want to help him to find better ways to enjoy learning and to get his need for attention met in better ways.

Part Two Follows . . .

Comments for Naughty At School

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Son Acting Up In School - Part Two
by: Annie Desantis

If he comes home and is in more trouble at home because he acted up in school, then he is being double punished. Instead help him to explore what he does like about school and what he needs to help him fit in a bit better.

You didn't say what kinds of things he is doing that are considered naughty. Often it is talking or getting up and moving around when a child is supposed to be sitting still.

Sadly most of our kids actually would integrate their learning a lot better if they were allowed to move and physically do something. Sitting still is not at all conducive to learning, it just makes it easier for the teacher to have a quiet classroom. If this is one of his problems, then get him to make sure he runs like mad in the breaks, and does lots of physical things. Then when they are allowed to move around the classroom do a few stretches every time he stands up.

Many kids (and adults) find it easier to work on a task when they can discuss it and put their thoughts into words. But how many of us have been told to be quiet in the classroom? It is really hard for our teachers to manage a big group - I am married to a teacher so I know the kinds of things he struggles with. The demands of the curriculum does not leave much space for being flexible in how and what you teach. And of course kids that are playing up at also having an impact on the rest of the class.

Kids do need to learn that whatever they are doing, it has an effect on others. They may not want to be getting in trouble or annoying others by talking, but each child has different needs and it is pretty impossible for a teacher to work with that. Helping him to understand that he has a responsibility to make the classroom a good place for all the kids, that making others unhappy (including the teacher) does not help him to be happier at school.

You did not leave any details, so I hope this helps. There are a lot of pages on our site about behavior, and many other questions answered about children who are playing up at school. Feel free to add any comments below.

all the best Annie D :)

Naughty Kids At School
by: Anonymous

Thank you Annie for taking the time to answer my question

Sincerely, Bassam

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