My child has a classmate who has serious behavioral issues and is very disruptive to the class. He is very upset about it. What can I do?
This is very difficult. Children can be confused about the actions of their classmates and it sounds like this particular student may have something more going on than just "naughtiness."
I talked with Elizabeth James, M.Ed. a School Counselor at Irving Elementary School in Bozeman, Montana. She had a couple suggestions.
1. Talk to your child. Reassure them that this child is not misbehaving because of something your child is doing and your child can't make their classmate behave. Instead they should realize that their classmate likely has a problem out of his or her control. They should be as kind and patient as they can be with this student but also tell an adult if they feel scared.
2. Talk to your child's teacher. If your child is getting worried or stressed about this, it is likely that other kids are, too. The teacher may want to have a frank but age-appropriate conversation with the class about what's going on with the student and to reassure them that the teacher is there to help.
3. Talk to the school counselor. He or she can suggest different strategies that your child can use when he or she is starting to feel upset. (Our favorite is "square-breathing" which helps adults, too!) The school counselor may want to share them with the whole class. Also, if the other student is very disruptive to the class, he or she likely needs more support (like another adult in the room).
Have a question? Ask me!
Did you know I love to work directly with teachers, families, administrators, librarians, dads, students, abuelas, community members, program directors, teachers-in-training and literally everyone else? Talk to me.