According to the education advocates at Brain Balance Achievement Centers —a holistic, drug-free approach to addressing behavioral, social, or learning difficulties in kids—bad behavior escalates around back to school because change is stressful, especially for kids with learning or behavioral difficulties. Children who struggle aren’t doing it on purpose—they might be trying to cope with an emotional or mental processing disorder.
Here are 5 back to school misbehaviors that could be a sign of something more:
1. FREQUENT DEFIANCE
If your child frequently disobeys explicit instructions (e.g. commands to do homework) or refuses to listen to their teachers, it might point to common disruptive behavior disorders like ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Conduct Disorder.
2. CHRONIC INATTENTION
If your child continually struggles to concentrate in school or moves from one homework assignment to the other without completing any, this might be a sign of ADHD.
3. EXTREME PHYSICAL AGGRESSION
All children throw occasional tantrums. But if your child is overly aggressive—throwing excessive tantrums in class or initiating negative interactions with other children at school—they might have CD.
4. HABITUALLY BLAMING OTHERS
It’s normal for children to want to avoid getting in trouble. What you should look out for is a tendency to shirk responsibility or refuse to own up to their mistakes when called out by teachers.
5. SEVERE ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR
Is your child making new friends in school, or are they alienating other children? Severe antisocial behavior (violation of social rules and disregard for the feelings of others) can often lead to a diagnosis of CD or ODD.