When to involve parents in classroom discipline

By admin
25 September 2013

As a teacher, how do you know when a disruptive child is simply being spiteful or when his/her misbehaviour is a cry for help? And when should you involve the learner’s parents in the discipline process?

Cape Town educational psychologist Catherine Radloff says children are exposed to a wide variety of stressors such as divorce, bullying, academic pressure, trauma and bereavement. Whenever a child is faced with a stressful situation the brain secretes more adrenalin and absorbs more serotonin.

“Children either go into flight or fight mode. This means that some children will withdraw and become depressed, while others might become defiant or even aggressive,” says Catherine.

When should a teacher consult a disruptive learner’s parents? Repeated misbehaviour must be brought to the parents’ attention, Catherine says. “If the behaviour seriously impacts on the child’s social, academic or emotional well-being, parents should be consulted.”

Teachers should notify the child’s parents immediately if they observe the following signs:

-          A significant decrease in time spent with friends or doing usual activities such as music, sports or schoolwork.

-          A change in a child’s mood.

-          An increase in disruptive behaviours, for example arguing, defiance or angry outbursts.

-          Difficulty concentrating or paying attention.

-          Dramatic weight gain or loss.

-          Children who consistently appear lethargic or tired.

-          A marked drop in grades or regular absences from school.

Shané Barnard

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