How to get our son to stop calling out in class and talking?
My 12 yr old is in 7th grade and is on the A/B honor roll. He is calling out in class and talking. None of his teachers think he has ADHD but just a lack of self-control. We don't know how to get it to stop. He has been talked to, time out, moved in the classroom, privileges taken away, grounded, sports taken away. and sent to the guidance counselor. It sometimes stop for a short period of time but nothing stops it completely. He says he tries but it just happens before he knows it. Any other ideas to get him to stop?
Thank you for writing to www.education.com for help with your son's classroom behavior. It is always frustrating for parents when children struggle with what might seem like a basic behavioral expectation.
Much like you taught your son to tie his shoes and to safely cross the street, you can help him by teaching him social skills that will help him to be more successful in the classroom. Rather than telling him what not to do, teach him how he should respond in class.
The skills of listening, following directions, asking for help, asking permission and obtaining the teacher's attention are all social skills that would directly compete with blurting or talking out in class. Much like you practiced the skill of crossing the street before he was allowed to do it on his own, you can teach, support, encourage and practice the skills your son needs to develop right at home. Your goal is to establish stress free practice sessions at home and to deliver your teaching in an upbeat, reinforcing manner. Introduce your teaching and role playing as a way to obtain the skills your son needs to achieve success at home, at school and eventually at work.
To help you learn more about social skills instruction, please check out www.parenting.org a Boys Town sponsored website with all kinds of parenting tips and proven methods for teaching and improving behavior. Once you have located the site, use the search feature to call up information on social skills instruction for strategies and the specific steps to teach for each social skill.
In addition to teaching your son the appropriate and necessary social skills, you will need to offer regular positive reinforcement for good school behavior. For example, if your son has a successful school day, allow him to select the snack of his choice when he comes home and which privilege he would like to use once he has completed his homework. On the other hand, if he does not experience a good school day it is important utilize negative reinforcement to make sure that he loses access to privileges he would normally enjoy. He would also be required to complete extra jobs around the home and complete additional role plays on the skills that he failed to utilize at school.
Lastly, many youth respond quite well to working to earn extra motivators such as an outing to the movies or the chance to visit the rock climbing wall at the park or working towards the purchase of a particular item such as a new CD or DVD; any item that generates excitement. If you think that it would be helpful to have your son work for a privilege or material item set up contract terms that will clearly spell out how he can earn achieve the item through positive behavior. For instance, your son would need to receive a good report 12 out of 15 days.
Good communication with your son's teacher / teachers is critical to monitor his classroom performance and to help ensure his success. Many parents develop a card that is passed between teacher and home each day. If your son passes from class to class, each teacher could initial the card at the end of the period. If he remains with one teacher during the day it would be a good idea to have set times for the teacher to initial. Make the mechanics of the card easy so that teachers can quickly just check appropriate boxes to indicate behavioral performance. If your son knows that there will be more immediate and constant feedback between you and the school, his behavior might improve with just this small change in communication.
Hopefully, these suggestions will help you to shape his behavior in the classroom. If you feel that it would help you to talk further with a counselor, please feel free to contact the Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.