Why do some kids seem to do just fine at school, but misbehave at home?

Many kids, especially grade-schoolers often keep it together in school, but run out of steam at the end of the day. That leaves parents greeting frazzled and fatigued youngsters at the doorstep.

Home is familiar and a safer environment to misbehave. Home also lacks the peer pressure, the boundaries and the incentives to behave typical in a classroom setting. Students know what s expected of them and what the consequences are for not following the rules.

What about the child who s easy at home, but more difficult at school?

Sometimes these kids haven t figured out what s expected of them. And some kids find the schoolroom stressful. The parent should question: does the child feel like she is accepted and valued in her class? Is there any dissonance there?

Say, for example, your kindergartener loves to draw, but her teacher doesn t allow drawing in class. She might think her teacher doesn t like her, and she might decide she doesn t like school.

When should parents be concerned?

If your child is having problems in both arenas, that s a red flag. It s also a red flag if the situation is getting worse in either arena. That s when you should find a counselor, , consult with a pediatrician, talk to your child s teacher. There are lots of strategies. But if you are feeling you re out of your league, it s time to get help.

What can parents do to help kids make smooth transitions between home and school?

  • Talk about it
  • Find a good fit
  • Slow down
  • Get help

What kinds of expectations do your have for your child at home and at school? Discuss appropriate behavior, what the teacher expects from him, what you expect from him and how he needs to act around his friends.

If there are more problems at school, there s a chance your child could be in the wrong class. Is he bored? Or is the work too difficult for him? Maybe his personality is not jelling with the teacher s. If you think one of these things is happening, talk to the teacher or school counselor.

Don t over schedule or fit in one more stop on the way to or from school. Kids don t do well with rushing. And de-stress before your child comes home. It s nice to come home to a welcoming, calm house.

If your child is having behavioral problems at school and at home, talk to your pediatrician, the school counselor about what the causes could be. Then go to the right professionals and get some help.


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