by Melissa Winfield
1. Different sets of expectations between school and home • Consistency is hugely important in making a child feel safe and secure and able to have a comfortable understanding of the world and how it works. If they are receiving mixed messages from home and school they will feel uneasy inside and express this through more testing than normal and will feel an inner sense of stress.
2. They have been previously “rewarded” for their misbehavior• No teacher or parent would ever think of purposefully rewarding bad behavior, but it subtly happens quite often.• Positive or negative attention is still attention so if they misbehave and get either yelled at or given tangibles they have just been rewarded.
3. They feel ill, bored, hungry or sleepy.• When children’s basic needs aren’t met regularly each day they are always more likely to misbehave, cry, throw a tantrum, etc. It is important to understand the unique situation of each student. For example, making sure a student has breakfast each morning may be your saving grace.
4. They want to test whether authority will enforce rules. Students will sometimes try to see where the boundaries are, or, if they exist at all. Although testing is frustrating for teachers and parents they should know that it is normal and that this is their chance to communicate clear expectations and follow through with set consequences.
5. They want to assert themselves and their independence.• Children begin to show their desire for more independence at around age two. They start to want control over certain areas of their life so that they can feel capable and independent. It doesn’t take long for children to identify the areas they can control, much to the chagrin of parents and teachers. Situations like refusing to complete an assignment, work in a group, or transition to another subject are great examples of times when children recognize their power to get you upset and therefore make them feel in control.