We’re dealing with a bit of a predicament right now . . . we’re trying to decide how to respond as parents when one of our kids is in trouble at school. One child, who shall remain nameless though I’m sure it will be obvious who, is a bit of a class clown. On occasion, his teacher will pull me aside at pickup to let me know when he’s had a particularly bad day. This usually involves him being too loud, laughing obnoxiously, being silly for laughs, and other various forms of distracting and attention seeking in the classroom. None of this is all that surprising to us, but we really value our kids being respectful, so in that aspect we do take it seriously. In the midst of this behavior he is ignoring requests from his teacher to calm down. We’ve all talked about it, and he understands that when he acts this way, the teacher will let us know. When it happens, we also have a rule that when we get home from preschool he “takes a nap” (lies down in his room) until Mark comes home. Having to take a nap while the other kids play is a pretty hefty consequence for him, to the point that he has begged his teacher not to disclose his behavior on days that he has been inappropriate at school.
Recently, we were talking about this with a friend who is a teacher, and she suggested that it wasn’t a good idea to give a consequence at home for something that happened at school. She felt like we were undermining the classroom consequence and the student-teacher trust, and that whatever punishment was received at school should be sufficient. I guess our point of view is that whatever the school’s consequence has been has not motivated behavioral change . . . but also that we want him to understand that our family rules for respect towards adults are still in place even when he’s away from us. I frequently notice that he tries to see what he can get away with in front of each new caregiver. (I realize this behavior is common for most kids, but it is especially so for him. Testing boundaries is almost a hobby.) I want to set it up so he realizes that even when we aren’t around, THE RULE ABIDES . . . that we are communicating with the adults in his life and that he has to be accountable for his behavior no matter where he is.
What do you guys think? Should kids have consequences for bad behavior at school, or should we let it be dealt with at school and have them come home to a fresh slate?