What are the causes of child behavior problems at school?

Written by lee morgan
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What are the causes of child behavior problems at school?
Sometimes children act out in class because of environmental or physical problems. (making faces image by Lisa Eastman from Fotolia.com)

Children misbehave at school for a variety of reasons. This bad behaviour may include the inability to pay attention or stop talking to friends. It may also include aggression toward other students or faculty or the refusal to follow directions or complete daily tasks. Instead of chalking this kind of behaviour up to "a bad apple" it is important to get to the root cause of the problem and attempt to remedy the situation so the child can grow and learn properly. There are several root causes of bad behaviour at school to be considered.

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Spoiling At Home

The term "spoiled brat" may not seem very nice, but it is a common cause of bad behaviour at school. Parents tend to want their children to be extremely happy to the point that they give them whatever it takes to see them smile and to avoid the dreaded tantrum. Perhaps it makes the parents feel better about themselves or it fulfils the need to see their children have a happier childhood than they did.

Regardless of the reasons, the result is often the same. Children who are spoiled at home have a difficult time in school because they have not been given the opportunity to become self-reliant. Spoiled children expect everything to be done for them and react poorly when they are asked to take responsibility for their own needs.


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be the cause of many behavioural school problems among children. The inability to pay attention and the constant impulsive and overactive behaviour makes school a challenging place for children afflicted with ADHD.

Medication and counselling for children with ADHD will help control the condition and make it possible for kids to obtain normalcy during their education; however, there is no cure for the disorder and cases vary widely in severity.

Need For Attention

On the opposite side of the spectrum from spoiled children are the ones who do not get the amount of attention they crave at home and therefore feel the need to get attention in class. This is a common problem among parents who excessively ignore their children or who have careers that take up the majority of the time they could be spending with the child.

When this happens, a child seeks attention from parental figures in the classroom or from peers. Often the child realises early on that the one way to get attention from the teacher is to act out in class. Even if the attention received is punishment or otherwise a negative experience, it is still attention and is better than being ignored.

Sensory Integration Dysfunction

Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID) is a neurological disorder that may be the cause of some classroom behavioural problems. The intense distraction caused by this inability to experience the senses normally can lead to a number of classroom symptoms.

Children with SID may be unusually distracted by background noises or fascinated with lights, fans or running water. They may wave their hands around repeatedly, walk on tiptoes, spin items, dismantle objects, have unusually hyper or depressed behaviour and have a short attention span. Children with the disorder may also have an extreme sensitivity to certain materials and frequently adjust their clothing.

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