Valley Behavioral HealthValley Behavioral Health

by Julie Rael

Mother helping a child with behavior problems at school

It’s August, and that means children and young adults are starting a brand new year at school! For many families, back to school season is an equally exciting and stressful time. As a parent, you may be scrambling to make sure your child has everything he or she needs to start off on the right foot. Your child may be excited, nervous, or anxious – but it’s probably a mix of these and more.

School can be a challenging environment for children, especially for those with mental and behavioral health challenges. If your child is headed back to school with a history of behavior problems at school, these three easy strategies may help your child address behavior challenges, gain more from their education, and even improve your family’s home life!

Tear Down Communication Barriers

Strong communication is the key to addressing behavior issues. If you’ve been informed that your child’s behavior in school is disruptive, establishing better communication with your child, their teacher or faculty member, and your support network is a great first step.

Start by reaching out to your child’s teacher or the most appropriate faculty member. Before you speak with your child, you may want a more detailed description of the issue from the teacher’s point of view. Having this conversation can be challenging, but remember to avoid acting defensive, and make an effort to gather all of the facts.

Now that you’ve gathered the administrative point of view, speak with your son or daughter. Remember to let them freely express their point of view, and be considerate and respectful of their opinion. Oftentimes, feeling disrespected or disregarded can worsen poor behavior.

With more effective communication, hopefully you can develop a better understanding of the entire issue. Effective communication may or may not shed light on the reasoning behind your child’s school behavior problems, but it will show them that you care about their success at school. With a strong foundation of communication, you can look for ways to create a positive impact on your child’s behavior.

Establish Healthy Habits For Students At Home

As parents, it’s easy to want to get involved at your child’s school when you find out they’re acting up in class. However, interfering with your child’s classroom environment may not be the most effective way for you to help. Trust that teachers, administration, and support professionals will reinforce positive behavior while your child is in school. Instead, you might focus on establishing healthy habits for your student at home.

One of the most important healthy habits you can establish at home is family-wide respect for your child’s education. Downplaying the importance of homework, expressing negative opinions about education, or disrespecting your child’s teacher may reinforce poor behavior in the classroom. Instead, try to create a sense of positivity and importance regarding your child’s education at home.

When your child shows positive changes in his or her behavior at home, find ways to reinforce that behavior with positive feedback. Positive feedback will likely have a stronger impact on your child’s behavior at school than negative feedback. Positive feedback doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, it just needs to be consistent when your child shows positive behavior.

Consider Support From A School Behavior Specialist

School behavior specialists help guide students with mental or behavioral challenges towards positive changes in their behavior at school. At Valley Behavioral Health, we have a strong network of school behavior specialists and outpatient care providers across Utah that are prepared to provide the support your student may need during class, or after school. With programs that offer in-school support, day treatment, family-inclusive treatment, and much more, we can help you find a personalized program that propels your child’s growth. If you feel that professional therapy may help improve your child’s behavior in school, speak with a Valley Behavioral care professional today!

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