Dealing with a child who is experiencing problems at school is a difficult issue for parents. Parents often must rely on someone else’s perspective or observations of their child and may not be observing the same behaviors at home which makes it difficult to know how to improve the situation. There are often multiple reasons why children experience problems at school which can make treatment a challenge.
Some of the reasons for problem behavior at school can include a lack of motivation, problems at home, difficulties with peer relationships, poor work habits and/or study skills, emotional and/or behavior problems (e.g., depression, anxiety, non-compliance), learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, mental challenges, or medical problems. A personality conflict between a teacher and student or conflicts with peers can contribute to problems at school also. Finding the reason(s) for your child’s inappropriate behaviors is essential in developing a treatment plan that can effectively modify behavior in a positive way and boost a child’s ability to perform at their fullest potential.
It is very important to seek help as soon as you recognize that there are problems. Scheduling a meeting with your child’s teacher is a necessary first step. Talking with the school psychologist, guidance counselor or your pediatrician can also be helpful. A thorough evaluation by an experienced professional is often needed to correctly diagnose the underlying causes in children with complex problems at school.
Children who do poorly at school often experience stress and develop different ways to cope with this stress. Some may act out their feelings while others internalize their feelings and develop physical complaints, such as headaches or stomachaches. Assisting a child with problems at school can be difficult and frustrating. Working with teachers, school administrators, counselors and sometimes other parents can feel overwhelming and intimidating. Staying calm, keeping an open mind and reminding yourself that you know your child can make you an invaluable asset in resolving the problems. Keeping communication lines open with teachers and collaborating amicably is very important.
There are many strategies that can help your child resolve their problems at school. At Silber Psychological Services our staff can provide a variety of services to help with this process. If needed, we can complete a comprehensive evaluation of your child that will assess cognitive, academic, attentional, and emotional strengths and weaknesses and help to determine the appropriate course of action. In some instances, a staff member may do a school visit with your permission to observe your child in their classroom, obtaining further data to shed light on the root cause of the school concerns. If the problems appear to be academic in nature, the psychologist will make very specific recommendations for effective interventions and will advocate for the child within the particular school system if necessary. If the difficulties seem more related to social or emotional functioning, a course of therapy may be recommended that can include individual or group therapy, regular consultation with the parents, or consultation with teachers and school administrators to share strategies for dealing with problem behaviors. Our staff is skilled in helping parents, children and school personnel deal with the gamut of school problems that children experience.