Behavioural Problems among Children in Elementary School

Behavioural Problems among Children in Elementary School

Behavioural problems are common in elementary school. It results in frequent disruption of education for the teachers, other students, parents, and administrators. Educators have reported that behaviour problem is the single highest concern and after the problem has been determined, it is easy to diagnose and help the student. The behaviour of a child is bound to change as they get older and it is normal until the child starts to exhibit undesirable behaviour. Some behaviours are healthy such as excessive playing, while others are unusual, for example, tempers which indicate emotional problems. Some practices are temporary, but the educator is supposed to check out for the actions which are persistent to the point of interfering with the education process. Behaviour change in elementary school is contributed by group’s rejection, failing academically, or issues at home such as financial or violence. When a teacher notes a persistent behavioural issue, it is essential to consult the administration and the parent so that all can work together to determine the problem and find a solution. There are programs which can be implemented in the school as well as clinical help to assist children with behavioural issues. The following work will analyse literature done concerning behavioural problems in elementary schools and the findings of different authors.

Preference for Behavioural Problems among Children

Teachers are likely to note the changes in behaviour in students more than their parents, considering that they spend more time with the learners. Elementary school students are mostly between the ages of six years to sixteen, which means it is the pre-teen and teen years. During these years, there are lots of changes expected among the students, emotionally, mentally, and physically. Children have different ways of dealing with these changes and vary from showing rebellion to changing character. Some students, especially the male are likely to exhibit antisocial and violent behavior. Boys at this age are interested in showing that they are strong and it persists for a short time. However, it may extend longer to the students who have come from a violent background and are shown that violence is the only way to address an issue.


Change of behaviour may occur due to moving from preschool where the students were used to associating with smaller groups in the elementary school to where the groups are more significant. The students try to adapt to the new environment, and it results in insecurity, making the child behave oppositely. When a student has been transferred to a new school, they also fear the unknown environment and the fear that it will be hard making friends or being accepted and that results in a change of behaviour. Children, especially those who join the first grade are likely to show rebellious behaviour. In elementary school, they did not have responsibilities and did not spend the whole day in school. In elementary school, the homework is more, there is more learning, and everything is complicated. It makes the student exhibit undesirable behaviour as they may not have been ready for increased responsibilities. In the higher elementary classes, the students, especially the girls are always in competition to be the most recognized. They, thus, adapt behaviour such as the use of vulgar language or even physical relationships with the opposite sex so that they can gain recognition. Some are involved in trouble making and do not follow instructions which makes them feel superior while interrupting the learning of other students. Behavioural problems can be grouped into different kinds.

Different Kinds of Behavioural Problems

Behaviour change in children happens depending on the stage of life they are passing through. Some changes are healthy, but others are disruptive, thus, prompting the need for intervention. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the disorders associated with increased levels of hyperactivity and impulse actions. When the students are experiencing ADHD, it means that they have issues of focusing and paying attention in class. It indicates that the teacher has to keep on calling the student to concentrate and it disrupts the entire learning process. There are various symptoms that a student with ADHD shows and such include being distracted easily, difficulties in sitting still, forgetting the completed work quickly, and interrupting other students when they are concentrating (Pakarinen, Silinskas, Hamre, Metsäpelto, Lerkkanen, Poikkeus, & Nurmi, 2018). Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is the other behavioural problem associated with showing defiance such as ignoring the rules that are given and doing activities that will make others angry. Such students also enjoy arguing with others.


Conduct disorders are associated with the way students’ acts and exhibit their emotions, which is common among teens mostly due to the adolescent period. During the adolescent transition phase, the students tend to feel mature and enjoy making their own decisions, thus defying the instructions provided to them. Depression is another behavioural problem, and it is seen when the student shows signs of sadness and mood changes. The student has a hard time concentrating on their studies as they are always in deep thought. Depressed students interrupt the learning process as they have to be called several times so that they can concentrate. Depression is worse as it may result in harmful behaviour such as suicidal thoughts. Bipolar disorder results in behavioural issues such as rebellion and engaging in violent acts and the students losing total interest in their studies. All these behavioural issues are as a result of various factors from the school, personal and home.

Factors that Lead Children to Misbehave

There are lots of situations which make the students in elementary school not follow instructions. The relationship between the parent and the students determines the way the students will behave. When the teacher is accommodating, it means a trust relationship with the students can be created easily. When a child is experiencing some issues such as getting used to the environment, they can then talk to the teacher instead of expressing undesirable behaviour. However, the teacher may not accommodate the students and they, in turn, fear or lack respect towards the educator. That contributes a lot to the challenging behaviour. The background and the home situation at home have significant effects on the reasons misbehave. When the child is from a background where violence is used, such students will also use violence to solve the problems they are facing. Such students will be involved in arguments and fight most of the cases. Financial issues at home also affect the concentration of the students at schools as it times they worry about their home situations and issues such as lack of school fees. The situation at home may cause the students to be stressed, and it affects their concentration in class and interferes with the teaching process.


Students in elementary schools may also exhibit undesirable behaviour due to lack of attention. At home, the parents may be too busy with work and other things and do not have time for their children. When at school, the children have to share the attention of the educator with other students. The students thus feel left out, and they feel that throwing tantrums or acting violently will help gain attention. Students tend to copy each other which means they may learn negative behaviours such as antisocial, such as using drugs so that they can be accepted by peer groups. Some misbehaviour may be copied from the television and observing the celebrities, and the students wish they could have the same characters which interfere with the learning process. The students are unable to control their emotions at times and getting overwhelmed such as to anger results in lashing out. The children may decide to take out the anger and frustration of some undesirable behaviour such as disrupting other classmates or stealing from classmates. The students may also show negative behaviour when they have unmet needs. The students may not understand the subject being taught, and they lack interest, thus, not focusing when teaching is taking place. Interventions are essential as it helps students to get the help they require and also concentrate on their studies and avoid disrupting other people. Students with such peculiarities struggle with some academic problems more than their peers, and it can make their psychological state worse. This will, in turn, decrease the quality of college education — it is called a “domino effect.” This effect should be avoided at any cost, and if required, online professional writers should be involved as a solution. When students need help writing a paper from experts, they should start with standard options available for free — peer assistance, inside college counseling, and later, if necessary, proceed with an opportunity to pay someone for essays. These papers will help a troubled student to see a practical example of how to do in-depth research, how to write specific arguments, and find accurate sources. The assistance students often need and can’t find in the class, they can receive online. It should not become a common repeated practice, but it definitely can serve as a timely, effective solution in crisis periods.

The Significance of Preventive Programs

Various preventative methods can be implemented in the school. The most recognized methods in elementary school are the Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) and Good Behaviour Game (GBG). Good Behaviour Game is mostly used in the classroom environment. The educator can decide to divide the classroom into different teams and come up with behavioural rules that will be used in those classes. The educator will then be in charge of directing behaviour such as the proper behaviour the students are expected to follow. There should be a punishment method introduced to make sure that the students will be following the established rules. Various studies on this method have indicated that it has been effective in reducing inappropriate behaviour as most students fear the consequences such as punishment.


Positive Behaviour Support is an approach used to help the students achieve the desired learning and social outcomes. The method is used in promoting a safe environment at school and in the classroom. Some behaviours such as bullying and fighting are eliminated and any student caught with such behaviour is forced to face severe punishment. In that way, all students are safe despite their size as there will be no one to bully them. The teachers are also able to learn how to accommodate all students and give them the attention they require to avoid throwing tantrums. The educators also have to watch their attitude when talking to the students to make sure that a trust-based relation is created where students can talk freely with teachers when they have issues instead of falling into depression.


Therapy is another excellent intervention method but is used only in severe cases. When a student has started to engage in physical contact with the opposite sex or they have fallen into depression, they require professional help. The student will be expected to visit therapy for a certain period depending on the level of their problem. When required, medication help can also be administered such as with provision of antidepressants. During all these treatment periods, it is always essential to involve the parents. The parents and the teachers will work together to establish the behavioural change of the student, how it had affected their studies and the help best suited to correct the mistakes.

Findings to Previous Studies

Lots of studies on the issue of behavioural problems among elementary students have been researched by lots of authors. There are common findings, which have been discovered. The first one is that the elementary schools are faced with the most behavioural problems daily. The second finding is that behavioural problems differ depending on the age groups of the students. It means that the first graders will express different behaviour from those of sixth grade. The third finding is that most educators are looking for assistance on ways they can address the behavioural problems because one single student disrupts the entire class. The fourth finding is that the educators who have behavioural management skills are better equipped at handling any misbehaviour in their classrooms. The most concern that most teachers have is students who can end up hurting each other due to anger or being aggressive. The educators indicated that when the studies are continually disrupted, it affects the performance of the entire class.


According to most authors, the behavioural changes are ways of students communicating that they require some help. Since the problems are gained from home and in school changing the behaviour requires the parents and the educators to work together for the welfare of the students. Both parents and teachers are expected to note the behaviour change in their actions. The typical behavior will be ignored as mostly it is a phase which the child will overcome. However, some behavior may persist, and it calls for taking action to determine the cause and how it can be addressed before it becomes severe. The parents may talk about the factors at home, which are affecting the child and determine how there will be addressed to ensure that the welfare of the child is not affected. Therapy as a way of helping misbehaving children should be preferred only when the problem is severe such as in depression cases.


In elementary school, students are faced with different phases, and they undergo changes which affect their behaviour. It is a common thing which the educators should be aware of and determine how the learners can be assisted. It becomes unusual when the child starts expressing negative and persistent behaviour, and it calls for actions to be taken. Parents and teachers should always work together to ensure the welfare of the students. They should try to create an accommodating environment, both at home and in school to make sure that all the needs of the students are met. In the case of behavioural problems, they should be addressed immediately to avoid interfering with the learning process.





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