When your child acts up at school, his teachers will typically rein him in with a time out, detention or other disciplinary action. Their goal is to communicate that the behavior is not acceptable and should not happen again. Should you take further action at home to help reinforce this lesson? Circle of Moms members who've wrestled with this dilmma have shared several different views that are worth considering before deciding what to do.
Moms Who Mete Out Additional Punishment
This is a touchy subject among Circle of Moms members, many of whom stress that parents should be the most prominent influences in their children’s lives. “You are the parent and it is not the school’s responsibility to parent your child,” says Patty T. “If your child talks back to the teacher it is your job to teach them respect," she says. "If they fight, it is your job to teach them that is wrong. If they act up at school, they should learn that it doesn't get them anything at home either. Detention is not going to teach them, you are supposed to. Discipline is learned at home."
“Depending on the offense, we will usually deny some type of privilege at home,” says Joy H. of her 7-year-old daughter. “Always let your child know that you and her teacher have the same goal and will always been in communication concerning her behavior.” And Shirley R. believes that parents have a responsibility “to contact the teacher on a regular basis, at least monthly, to see how they are going and behaving. Their job is to give [our kids] an education; our job is to make sure that is happening and to ask the teacher what’s happening with our children."
Reinforcing behavior expectations required by the school at home is key, advises Patricia E. “Yes, it may seem over strict, but you won't have to do it more than a couple of times and it will teach the child to respect their teacher."
And many Circle of Moms members believe that taking away privileges at home for something your child does at school is only the beginning; parents need to follow up with the teacher and make sure their child has learned his lesson and is not repeating the negative behavior. “It is our job as parents to teach our kids to respect authority,” says Ruth B. “If we are trusting them to the school they're in, then we have to reinforce the rules. Not punishing at home shows them that you didn’t agree with the teacher, and so why should they. A great way to instill respect and value is to have the child write a thank you note to the teacher. This should come after the punishment, not BE the punishment.”
Moms Who Don't Punish, But Do Talk it Through
But some Circle of Moms members say that the school should handle discipline while your child is there, and that is sufficient. “If your child was already punished at school, that should be enough,” says Sharon L. Shirley R. agrees: “I think if they have been punished at school no extra should be given at home. However you should talk to your child about their behavior and tell them it’s not okay and they need to be respectful at school the same as at home. Then if the behavior at school continues, you should definitely do something."
Other Circle of Moms members maintain a "leave it be" attitude. “I can tell you that punishment at home for a small offense at school can be a big mistake,” says Carrie L., a mom of three and a K-6 teacher. “Sometimes you should leave what happened at school at school." While she thinks that parents should stay active and informed about what's going on at school, "there is no need to make a mountain out of a mole hill. If your child made a mistake, and learned from it, then how does it make you a better and more involved parent if you held a grudge and continued the punishment at home? Sometimes just talking about what happened is enough to make sure they understood what they did and why they were punished. Coming down on your child just to prove you are not going to ignore things isn't a valid reason for discipline.”
Moms Who Take It Case by Case
Parents should require the same behavior from their children at school as they do at home and follow the same discipline rules, suggest some Circle of Moms members. “Depending on the child, I find [that] talking to them along with a loss of privileges goes a long way,” says Krystal P. “It also depends on the infraction. No lying is rule #1 at my house. When my son threw away his lunch at school I did not punish him for not eating and throwing away his lunch. What got him in trouble was the fact that he lied to his teacher about throwing away the lunch.“
Parents also need to remember that every circumstance is different, says Peggy F. “It really depends on what the situation was,” she says. “If it was for not playing nice, then maybe a simple talk about being disappointed in their behavior. If it was being disrespectful to the teacher or for being mean, violent etc then absolutely. It drives me insane that there are parents out there that have the attitude ‘what happens at school is the school’s problem.’ Children then learn that there are no repercussions for their actions at home and it continues.”
Moms Agree: Find a Way to Nip it In the Bud
No matter which approach you take, many moms agree that it's important to reinforce school expectations when your child is young, to establish respect for teachers and school rules and prevent trouble from snowballing.
Patty T., who is a mom of four (and who take away privileges at home when her children are disciplined at school), thinks timing is key. "If you ignore the situations when they are younger...they learn that mom is going to ignore it and it's not a big deal. It would cause many problems down the road. Step in when they are young and teach them right — before you hand them over to someone who may or may not have the same values as you."
Have you taken away your child's privileges at home when he was already punished at school?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.