By Dr. Joseph Gianesin, Behavioral Consultant
My son is in awe of another boy in his kindergarten class. He constantly talks about how "cool" he is and tells me things he does that are "awesome." The problem is the things this boy is doing are constantly disrupting the class - burping, using bathroom words, making faces, etc. The teachers handle these disruptions as well as they can, but my son has started copying this boy both in the classroom and at home. How can I get my son to see that what this boy is doing is not acceptable behavior in a classroom?
Your son is like many children entering kindergarten. They are being exposed to a new and diverse population of kids who may exhibit behavior and attitudes toward authority that many parents would find disrespectful. Fortunately, the type of disruptions your child admires are not extremely serious. You and your child have a great opportunity here to begin the process of making good decisions regarding peer influence that he will face throughout his school career and life.
It also gives you a great chance to work collaboratively with the teacher by shaping and managing your own son's behavior. The first thing you need to do is let your child know that good manners and being respectful of the teacher and other adults is an expected part of being in your family. This not only means that you will correct him when he says or does something disrespectful, but that you will also reward him when he does exhibit the behaviors and attitude you are hoping for.
The collaboration with the teacher involves setting up a reward system that gives you feedback regarding his day at school and whether he was respectful to her. A reward that targets specific behavior works the best. I often use a 3 X 5 card with the days of the week on it. Stickers work great at this age. If he accumulates a set number of stickers, then he earns the reward.
The type of behavior you describe is attention-getting behavior. Instead of giving him lots of attention for acting negatively, it is important to praise him for eliciting the type of behaviors you expect from him. Your son will eventually see that his "awesome" friend doesn't get the positives he is getting and will gravitate toward new friends, and this friend won't seem quite so awesome anymore.
If your kindergartener has an academic or school-related behavior problem you would like help solving, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.