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Behavior: An Automatic Problem?

by Lori Sciame | April 29th, 2013 | Elementary

schoolgirls“I’d like to talk to you about your child’s behavior.”  Those words, when uttered by a elementary school principal, automatically elicit a negative reaction from a parent or guardian.  Why?  Is our society so ready to punish children for “acting up” that we don’t look for behaviors that can be deemed as positive in young children?  As a parent of three, I have become an advocate for letting children know when they are doing super things!  If your child’s school has not already adopted a similar policy, they risk being behind the times, as well as being a negative influence on a child’s sense of self.  At the very least, elementary school staff should laud the following behaviors:


Every elementary school has children who don’t quite fit in for one reason or another.  A child who seeks to include one or more of these students in classroom, lunchroom, and recess activities should be commended.  Our society lacks empathy for those less fortunate than ourselves; however, if young children develop a sense of caring at a young age, maybe less people will be considered outcasts.


Me, myself, and I . . . we have all heard this selfish mantra.  In order for a society to work, a diverse population must work together to obtain goals.  Elementary children must begin thinking about the greater good by learning how to share; hence, a child who shares the teacher’s time or who shares his or her lunch with someone who has nothing needs to be recognized for doing a good deed.


A child who understands and shows respect for rules and for authority needs to be applauded.  Too many times it’s when a child is disruptive that he or she receives attention from school officials.  The key is to catch a child acting in a respectful manner, and to compliment him or her for being cooperative.  No, I am not hoping that all children become mindless followers, but I am hoping that parents/guardians see the need for children to be taught the concept of respect.


For a period time, my child’s school allowed students to keep revising assignments until they achieved a minimum grade of C.  While this may seem like a good idea, it taught students that deadlines really don’t mean anything.  It also taught students that doing substandard work is OK.  Thank goodness, that principal left, and soon the school returned to a policy of accountability.  It follows, then, that a student who arrives to school on time, who always has his or her homework ready, and who participates fully in class should be recognized.  Being accountable for one’s actions in school is a behavior that must be reinforced.

It Starts with YOU

From these examples, one can see that children need to be rewarded for exhibiting positive behaviors.  The examples given above are a great start; however, any parent/guardian must look for other positive behaviors to reward.  Let’s work together to make behavior a more positive word when associated with elementary age children.

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