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The phone rings. It’s the school – again. Once again, your child has been taken out of the classroom because he disrespected his teacher, hit a classmate at recess and refused to do the assigned work. This worries you. On the one hand, your child doesn’t seem happy at school. On the other hand, as a parent, you feel irritated and powerless when the school calls about your child.

Through their disruptive behaviours, children are trying express their needs, albeit clumsily. What are these needs? How could they be expressed properly? Your role as a parent is to help your child learn this.

The best way to get there is by valuing and supporting your child and helping him discover his strengths. Like all kids, children who are disruptive also have qualities and strengths, and they have a particular need to be recognized. Unfortunately, their disruptive behaviours make us forget this at times.

Why is my child disruptive at school?

Problem behaviours can occur, among other things, when :

  • The child doesn’t know or understand the rules of the class
  • There are no consequences when the rules aren’t followed
  • The child has learning difficulties or an attention deficit disorder and is overwhelmed by school demands
  • The child is having trouble adjusting to school and making friends.

My child is disruptive at school. What can I do?

The secret is to team up with your child’s teacher. Working together will increase your chances of success.

When the school calls, or when you meet your child’s teacher :

  • Ask them to describe what your child has done.
  • Share your own observations at home
  • Try together to understand why your child is behaving this way and identify the needs she’s attempting to express
  • Set short-term goals and think of concrete ways to achieve them
  • Keep in mind that you’re not responsible for your child’s behaviour and don’t try to find excuses for her

Advice: don’t hesitate to ask for professional help if the problems persist, worsen or if your child becomes violent with other children or school staff.

Easy to say but not always easy to do? A little help could be useful?
Find out about the Triple P activities that are offered near you.


Germain Duclos (2006). Guider mon enfant dans sa vie scolaire. Les Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine.