You had to leave work again after a call from the principal’s office. Your child is always getting in trouble at school, but this time it is different. Instead of getting suspended, you are told that your child has been expelled and is not allowed to return to the school. You are not the only person with this problem, according to statistics 35% of African-American children between seventh and twelfth grade have been either suspended or expelled. What are you going to do now? You have a limited amount of choices.
A. You can accuse the teachers or principal of treating your child unfairly.
B. You can hope things will get better at the next school.
C. You can get to the root of the problem by receiving counseling for your child and by enrolling yourself in parenting classes.
Many parents blame teachers, principals, or other school workers for their children’s consistent misbehavior at school. Placing blame ignores the problems your child faces. While it is true that teachers and principals have faults, every student needs to be responsible for their behavior. Children and parents must accept responsibility for problems so that their issues can be dealt with honestly.
Although the final offense may have resulted in expulsion, most likely there have been a long, history of problems with the student. You have probably have had several phone calls, notes home, and conferences. When the situation did not get better, you were finally told to find a new school for your child.
Ignoring the problem and sending boys and girls to a new school with the hope that the next school will be better is setting children up for repeated failure. Unless something different is done to address the issues, your child will face the same problems in the next school and later as an adult. This legacy of failure will pave the path to dropping out of school, which often leads to juvenile delinquency and jail time as an adult.
Counseling and parenting classes are not popular choices in the black community. You may be laughed at or criticized for enrolling yourself in parenting classes and for seeking counseling services. Getting help is better than letting your child fail repeatedly. You have tried to solve the problem alone and the misbehavior continues. It is clear you could benefit from some training. If principals and teachers have to be specially trained to work with children, why should you feel you do not need any help or training? Recognize that counseling and parenting classes could be the missing link for your child.
Find a counselor or parenting class that can meet with you or your child weekly or every two weeks. Schools may provide counseling services or can refer parents to places that provide parenting classes and counselors. Counseling services can also be covered by medical insurance.
Students with consistent behavior problems often have low self-esteem. Studies show that a child that constantly misbehaves is a child that does not feel good about themselves. Their problems can be rooted in the absence of parents or lack of discipline at home. Many times children have unresolved feelings about witnessing violence or suffer as a victim of crime. In addition, behavior problems often hide low reading and math ability. A child who is removed from school is suffering from major issues. They may not be able to control their anger and are acting out violently or destructively. A counselor can help a child learn how to express their pain and develop skills to be successful at school.
Expulsion should be a wake-up call for parents. Start looking for answers and realize that your misbehaving child is crying out for help. It is up to you to find the solution.