Behavior Problem with an Eleven-Year-Old Having School Problems

There is frequently a cause behind a child’s shift in behavior when they start acting out in class and exhibiting defiant tendencies. These defiant behaviors are typically symptoms of a more serious problem, such as attention deficit disorder, pushing the limits, or issues with adjusting to life in general. Another factor that may be contributing to defiant conduct in youngsters is their lack of problem-solving abilities, which leads to their involvement in physical altercations and the development of inadequate coping mechanisms. A lot of the times parents will find themselves feeling defeated and unable to control their child mainly because their good son is changing and they are not quite sure how they are supposed to handle the change. It can be worrisome, frustrating, embarrassing to the parent when the child acts out in school and the feeling gets worse at the thought that the child can be labeled as a troublemaker. When a child uses physical altercations as a coping skill, it might make a parent to panic especially when it keeps getting worse.
In the case of David frequent suspension from school because of getting into physical altercations in school, he might be exhibiting symptoms of conduct disorder. This is because David is prone to physical fights and does not respond to discipline as he keeps repeating the same behavior as well as he is unable to get along with other children. David might be having an underlying emotional problem and lack of coping skills resulting in him having difficulty in managing impulses making him get into fights which ultimately leads him to find it difficult to develop relationships with other children (Hollander, 2014). Children between the ages of 10 to 12 years begin a phase of growing independence and most of the time it can be seen from their attitudes towards their parents, teachers, and also their peers. It is also a stage where they give in to peer pressure and have an inclination that what they think is always right. Most of the time they will develop oppositional and argumentative attitudes as they start to try become more independent (Frick, 2016).
Another explanation to David’s defiant behavior could be as a result of learning negative traits and actions from his social surroundings because these issue of him getting into fights only happened after they moved to this new place. The social surroundings can range from delinquent friends, a reenactment of images from the television or through the media, and negative experiences could be the cause (Coleman & Webber, 2013). The social cognitive theory is best suited to explain David’s behavior. Every time David observes a model performing an action he looks at the outcomes of that specific act he then remembers the steps of the event and behaviors that come after (Bandura, 2012). The last explanation to David’s behavior can be acquired through the human behavioral genetic theory which explains genetic inheritance and biological factors (Lerner, 2017). This approach focuses more on the parent and other environmental influences than on David. The parents should look back on when they were in school and remember the behavior and attitude. If they also found themselves in fights, aggressive and delinquent acts or pulled reckless pranks, then it is a high possibility that David inherited it from them. It is important to note that this theory is not an excuse for David’s bad behavior but rather just an explanation of the cause.
The first step towards finding a solution to David’s behavior issue is first to conduct a functional behavior assessment as this will help to pinpoint the cause. This method uses a variety of strategies that will help David’s parents to understand what is behind their son’s inappropriate behaviors which also involves non-academic factors that might be influencing his frustrations at school (Crone, Hawken & Horner, 2015). By knowing the root cause of the inappropriate behavior, it will help the parents as well as the school on how to change the behavior. The functional behavior assessment can be conducted by parents, teachers, and even caregivers. After the root cause of the problem has been identified steps should be taken towards behavior interventions. These interventions can be designed to teach and reward positive behaviors as they will go a long way towards preventing or stopping problem behaviors in school (Rickard, 2016). For the behavior interventions, the teacher should also be involved. In order for any behavior intervention to work, David’s parents must work with the teacher. It is also essential for the parents to understand the relationship that David has with his teachers.
It is crucial for David’s parents to understand that this is not the time to be friends with him but instead it’s a time that they should maintain their parental status. This is also a difficult stage for the child, so they need the parent to help them get through it, and in the end, they will know how to behave by judging from the way that the parent chooses to deal with a specific situation (Filter & Alvarez, 2012). David’s parent must also be consistent with their discipline, but they should also keep in mind that it might take specific discipline time before it makes an impact on the child’s behavior. Discipline will only work when they are consistent because when a parent just follows up with a punishment two out of three times the child might act out knowing that there is a chance of not being punished. The parents should reevaluate themselves to see if they are unwittingly influencing or encouraging the bad behavior in their child (Coleman & Webber, 2013). One important part that many parents ignore is face time. It is crucial that parents make time for their child whereby they can choose to go out for breakfast or even taking a walk with them. This should be a time where you let your child talk about everything and anything that is on their mind even something as simple as that extracurricular activity in school that they do not like. This could be a gateway to them opening up about what has been frustrating them in school. When a child notices that they are listened to when they talk they will always come to you with whatever is bothering them.
The key to solving behavior problem of a child is first to identify the cause of the problem as it will be able to guide both the teacher and parents on how to help the child to change. There several factors that can trigger a child to get into physical altercations like lack of attention to frustrations because they are unable to cope in school. Even after interventions have been developed and the teachers are also engaged in the process it is crucial that parents find time for their children and bond. If the behavior persists, it is okay for the parents to seek help from outside as the child might feel comfortable talking to someone other than the teacher or the parent.

Bandura, A. (2012). Social foundations of thought and action: a social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prenctice Hall.
Coleman, M. C., & Webber, J. (2013). Emotional and behavioral disorders: theory and practice. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Crone, D. A., Hawken, L. S., & Horner, R. H. (2015). Building positive behavior support systems in schools: functional behavioral assessment. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Filter, K. J., & Alvarez, M. (2012). Functional behavioral assessment: a three-tiered prevention model. New York: Oxford University Press.
Hollander, B. G. (2014). Conduct disorder. New York: Rosen Publishing.
Lerner, R. M. (2017). Concepts and theories of human development. New York, NY: Routledge.
Rickard, H. C. (2016). Behavioral intervention in human problems. Elkins Park, PA: Franklin.

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