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My son who is 13 years old and in grade eight seems to be getting in trouble frequently...not bad trouble but disruptive in class, fooling around on the bus, it seems like he is being the class clown..he gets good grades. but i keep getting calls from the school telling me about what he is doing and i feel at wits end. any suggestions.


Mark Viator Replied: Being a former class clown myself, and somewhat of one as an adult, I am sure you feel what my parents felt. They were never disappointed in me because of my grades, but my behavior left much to be desired. It is possible that your son is behaving this way because he uses humor as a means of expressing himself. The key here is that he needs to learn the proper time and place. First, have a long talk with him. Tell him that you want him to be himself, but he needs to demonstrate self-control. The classroom and bus are not the places to be disruptive with inappropriate behaviors. Set up some consequences for this behaviors if they continue to occur. Also, ask him if he is always aware of when he is acting this way. He may have some difficulty controlling his impulsive behaviors. If this is the case, speak to his school counselor about some ways to help him control these impulses. Finally, encourage him to use his humor and personality in the right way. Encourage him to possibly get involved in the dramatic and performing arts. Who knows, if he can learn to use his behaviors in the appropriate manner, you may have the next Robin Williams on your hands. Good Luck
Posted On 2007-03-07 19:20:55
Annie Fox, M. Ed. Replied: it sounds like your son has found a way to get attention from his peers and he likes it so much that he's willing to put up with the negative consequences of being the "class clown". This may also be a case of lack of impulse control. It sounds like you're feeling embarrassed by the repeated call from school. It also sounds like you're frustrated that you can't get your son to cut it out. You haven't mentioned any consequences that his disruptive behavior has yielded either at school or at home. If there haven't been any significant consequences then clearly, in his mind, the "payoff" makes it worth while. My suggestion is that you talk with the teachers whose classes he's disrupting and find out what consequences they've meted out to him. 13 years will respond to adult directives when expectations are clear and consequences are consistent and meaningful. After you get on the same page with the school, have a serious conversation with your son. Tell him how it feels for you to get calls from the school about his behavior. Tell him that you're no longer willing for this to happen. Make sure he knows exactly what behavior is getting him in trouble. Make sure he knows exactly what consequence he will choose at home when he chooses that behavior at school. Make sure you devise a consequence with meaning, in other words: something that he will not enjoy: loss of computer privileges, phone or TV time, loss of time with friends... whatever will wake him up and make him realize that the laughs he gets by disrupting class just aren't worth it any more. Then catch him in the act of doing something right. Tell him when a week goes by and you do NOT get a call from school about this issue. Tell him you're proud of him for getting himself under control. I hope this helps. In friendship, Annie Fox, M.Ed.
Posted On 2007-02-15 14:43:50
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