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Problem students are frustrating, disorderly, and disruptive to the classroom.

After multiple incidents, the teacher sent me a letter explaining that we needed to meet. The letter wasn’t a surprise. I knew my child was having difficulties at home. My first reaction was a deep sigh, hoping I’d learn the cause and, more importantly, the solution to my child’s recent behavior changes.

I’ll admit this was a difficult and emotional time because I had to share some personal information. The situation had gone on for so long that I noticed my kid starting to avoid family gatherings and stopped joining friends on outings. Deep inside, I felt like things were out of control, and I didn’t know what to do to help my child.

During the meeting, I told the teacher what I tried and shared how lost I was feeling at not being able to help my child. When I did the research, I did learn that some students who experience an overwhelming event go through emotional difficulties and need time to recover. I still didn’t have the answer. I didn’t even know if the behavior involved school procedures or classroom rules, so I was thankful to the teacher for providing the information about the incidents and the consequences of breaking the rules.

Next, I listened without criticism as the teacher expressed concerns about the problems in the school and classroom environments. I found out that problem students go through a variety of emotions. With the teacher’s help, I also understood that some kids are more difficult than others. Why? That’s what I needed to find out.

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Open communication

I appreciate that the teacher kept the conversation informal but detailed, with accurate information and notes about the incidents. I realized then and now how important it was to know what was happening with my child. As difficult as it was, I relaxed my tone and body gestures and noticed a change in my child’s attitude. Here’s my advice for other parents based on what I did:

  • Start the conversation with open-ended questions to avoid getting a single-word response.
  • Ask how I could help.
  • Keeping communication open helped to lessen emotional triggers for my child.

I let my kid know that I wanted to help and needed feedback to understand where to start making a difference. Our bonds of trust began to rebuild again. I agreed to share any information or conversations I had with the teacher – not to tattletale but to help.

Underlying Problems

I kept my composure and acknowledged my child needed my help. Now, I understand that my kid’s problems were symptoms of deeper feelings – a call for help to cope with the real issues. We are both on the same page now, and we talk more often about the struggles and issues of being a kid. It helps to find what works best for each situation – some problems could be:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Genuine learning disability
  • Problems at home
  • Peer pressure

My advice to other parents is to be patient. It may take a few months to see improvements. Stay in touch with the teacher so you can monitor the changes and make any necessary adjustments. I am seeing positive changes in my child’s schoolwork and our home life.

Parents, Don’t Give Up On Them

As frustrating as this was, I didn’t give up on my child. After meeting with the teacher, I started slowly, and we set small goals and achievements. Today, my child and I work together and agree to be accountable for schoolwork, with no excuses for missing a class or forgetting to complete an assignment. Remember to:

  • Look for gradual changes.
  • Don’t engage in a power struggle.
  • Agree to keep trying together.
  • Determine causes, not faults.

No matter how bad things get, change is possible when parents get involved and respond with care and support for kids rather than force. If you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share!