While many schools speak of a Bullying Policy not a lot of information is given about its cause and potential remedy. Poor classroom conduct affects not only the disruptive student but also other students situated in his/her physical proximity.
The traditional approach is to isolate the “problem student” so that the other children will not be distracted. This does not get to the base of the problem, or fulfil the general educational objective of “helping all students”. People do not exist in a vacuum but are instead relational, being a smaller part of a greater unit. If children cannot function-academically, socially-they will not be able to acclimate to real life, once they hit adulthood.
Inspiration separates the “behavior” from the “student”, prioritizing empathy over justice. This is not to say that we do not institute discipline, but instead that we seek to understand the cause of the behavior. When a baby is born, they lack the vocabulary to communicate their needs, resorting to crying. As the baby matures, words render crying obsolete (for the most part), instead using the best tool for the job. Put simply, some children misbehave due to inadequate communication skills, or the fear of not having their concerns heard.
For our work to be truly realized, parents must keep close “tabs” on their child’s progress, rewarding and disciplining accordingly. Some children may try to manipulate adults, finding that information is not shared, exploiting opportunities for their own benefit. While children think they know what they want, their brains have not fully developed, a milestone that occurs around age 25. Clear boundaries must be made, with rules flowing one-way, from the parents to the minor. The goal of the parent is to raise their children successfully to maturity, through a combination of hard work, discipline, organization, and creativity.
If a child does have behavior issues, it may be a shock. Children tend to behave differently at home when compared to situations lacking adults. It makes sense, really, as there are two different standards to satisfy in each category. When addressing adults, children are aware that “rude behavior” may result in consequences, such as losing privileges. However, some peer groups encourage rudeness, giving social cache to children who rebel against the status quo. This forces (some) students to assume two different personas, sometimes leading to the development of emotional problems.
While some students are followers, some are leaders, for both the good and the bad. If your child is assuming bad behavior (from a peer group) limit extra-curricular exposure and discuss why you think (this group) is problematic. Don’t talk down to them, treat them as an adult, using sound reasoning and logic. If some students are heading to the “bottom of the class” there is no reason to follow them along. Encourage your children to choose friends wisely, with many excellent opportunities for socializing through the Inspiration Learning Center Network. In the age of Social Distancing, strong socializing opportunities are rare, creating issues in the newest generation. In conclusion, the correct approach is to discipline bad behavior, look at trends, look at cause & effect, and make parenting your priority.
Ten Tips for Parents to Encourage Good Behavior
- Reward positive report cards with meaningful activities, special adventures spent with family, making memories to cherish for years to come.
- Support Inspiration in combating poor behavior, limiting privileges (electronics, video games, activities, friends, outings) when students either misbehave or fall short academically.
- Teach empathy, especially “The Golden Rule”, which tells others to only do things (to others) what they would like done to them (personally).
- Encourage socialization, friendships, clubs, religious groups, sports, hobbies, and any other chance to “hang out” with people in their age-bracket.
- Connect with Inspiration on social media, reading out regular posts, interacting with the Inspiration Community.
- Communicate with your children regularly, asking them about their lives, both the good and the bad.
- Reference cultural material (such as the Bible, Confucius, Buddha, or History) in teaching virtue, the art of choosing “light over darkness”.
- Discuss privilege, poverty, human rights, and relevant social issues.
- Ask your children “philosophical questions”, especially that connect to positive development. For example, you can ask your child if “you found a wallet full of cash, and you can be guaranteed that you would never be found if you chose to take the money, would you (or not) and why”. This changes the nature of the conversation from being a “lecture” to be a “dialogue”.
- Reach out to other parents, educators, professionals, mentors, guidance counsellors, clergy and more! As the proverb goes “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child”.