So, your child got in trouble at school.
It really doesn’t matter WHAT kind of trouble, there will be a corresponding consequence. However, the consequences (note: not punishments) that children experience in today’s schools are much different that what you and I went through.
Fewer schools are willing or able to pull back recess privileges, or require students to eat lunch silently.
But that leaves very little in the way of tangible reactions to negative actions.
So what are appropriate consequences for children at school?
It really is a tiered system, so let’s start at the beginning…
A good deal of behavior problems can be avoided through effective classroom management. This means that the teacher, and students, are setting a tone for behavior in school.
Teachers use different tools and techniques to help monitor behaviors in class. I like Class Dojo and the ticket system. This let’s children buy in to the process.
Essentially, students should be clued in to the fact that they are off track BEFORE they step too far out of line.
For every action there should be an equal and opposite reaction.
In other words: logical, reasonable consequences.
The punishment should fit the crime, so to speak. And it should be immediate.
For example, a child who has created a huge mess should clean it up. A child who is mean on the playground should sit out for a while.
Not every consequence is good for every child. High school students need different consequences than a kindergartener.
For some things, like missing homework or class work, there isn’t really a good logical consequence. Or the behavior is so extreme that it goes beyond immediate reactions.
For situations like this, there should be clear guidelines for “what happens if…” What happens if a child is violent? What happens if a child always forgets work?
Some of these things, like the class work, can be handled by the teacher. Maybe the child will miss a special classroom treat or lose an earned privilege (like line leader or librarian).
Others need to be handled further up the chain. Violence and verbal threats almost always carry the more severe repercussions of suspension, detention or expulsion.
No matter what, you need to show support for both your child AND the teacher. Be sure to show respect for the rules of the classroom or school.
It is also super important to make sure that your child knows they still have your love, even if they have misbehaved.
Also that actions have consequences. And now it is time to deal with that.