A student who enters a new class has plans and dreams not only for education, but also for peers. He wants to experience acceptance and understanding from his colleagues. The vast majority of children go through the adaptation period successfully, but some experience isolation and even exclusion. In the new class, no one wants to talk to them, they are overlooked and ignored, they spend time alone after the end of classes. Trying to change their situation, they reach for solutions that harm them, such as violence or drugs. For the parent, it is a signal to take action. How to Help a Child in a New Class.
Behaviors that have the right to alarm us
Sometimes a parent notices that something is wrong with his or her son or daughter after a long time. Talking about disappointment is difficult, so the child avoids talking directly about loneliness and signals the problem only through their own actions. Aggressive behavior may appear in younger students. The child cannot cope with the anger and hurt that overwhelms them. Has trouble expressing emotions in a safe and acceptable way, e.g. beats other students, swears, is irritated. This of course only makes the situation worse, because nobody likes to talk to those who hit and are malicious. A child’s loneliness increases.
Feelings of sadness and isolation sometimes manifest themselves through somatic complaints. The descendant complains of stomach aches, headaches is tired. Adults are convinced that the child is only looking for an excuse to stay at home, but that it actually feels worse. Subsequent absences weaken the already weak friendships in the class. The vicious circle of loneliness becomes permanent.
Alcohol and other stimulants
In students who entered secondary schools, the response to loneliness in the classroom may be engaging in risky behaviors, such as drinking alcohol. The parents’ anxiety is magnified by surprise – they were convinced that a young man could cope with stressful situations and social failure.
There are many reasons why adolescents isolated by their group use alcohol. For some of them, it is a way to alleviate unpleasant feelings. They believe that alcohol will effectively alleviate uncomfortable emotions. Knowing that, in the end, substance use does not bring about a lasting improvement in mood or change the outsider’s position at the time of the decision is not important to them.
People who cannot cope with the pressure of the group may use alcohol. They do not feel confident in it, so they have a hard time saying no. The desire to avoid rejection is stronger than the fear of the consequences of risky behavior.
Some people finally reach for alcohol by experimenting, looking for new experiences or finding out “the hard way” how it affects behavior. The pressure of the group in this case is indirect. A group of friends and good motivations that arise from living friendships could counterbalance the aforementioned pretexts. In the void that arises when a child in a new class does not develop meaningful relationships, however, wrong ideas gain strength.
In a situation where aggressive behavior occurs or when a child (teenager) undertakes risky behavior, it is time for decisive actions of adults.
Tips and tricks for parents
- Think of a child’s difficult behavior as something that has a cause. Don’t look for easy answers (It’s such a difficult age, or Everyone’s uphill sometimes) and don’t minimize the problem. Assume the attitude of a detective (what is behind the child’s behavior?).
- Talk to the baby. Ask what would help him feel good. Give him specific help and keep your word – if you have made a commitment to take him to weekly training sessions, you must persevere at least until the end of six months. It is your attitude that will prove to the child that it is worth being persistent and striving for a goal.
- Undertake systematic cooperation with the class teacher to strengthen the position of the son or daughter in the group. Reassure the teacher that you are his or her ally in promoting class cohesion.
- Set realistic goals with your child. Emphasize that the point is not to win the sympathy of all the other students, but to feel more confident in the classroom and have a group of proven friends. However, do not minimize the problem of loneliness, give a signal that you understand the child’s situation and that you want to help him.
- Adopt a firm stand whenever your child becomes a victim of physical or verbal harassment. Do not underestimate his fears (Do not overdo it, such jokes have not hurt anyone yet).
- Be equally firm when your offspring is aggressive. Make it clear that you do not agree to this. Discuss the consequences of inappropriate behavior with your child. Emphasize that there are other ways to deal with difficult emotions. Consider how you overcome anger yourself and whether you can be a role model for your child.
- Support the child in maintaining peer relationships to the extent that you agree together. Don’t impose your solutions, but also don’t underestimate the problem. Show consistently that you can develop your strengths. Support his educational, sports or artistic activity. Be there when she tries to find something for herself.
- Make sure that the attitude of adults (yours and your educators) is consistent. When talking to teachers and school specialists, do not avoid sharing your own assumptions about the causes of your child’s behavior. Talk about ideas for solving educational difficulties, declare help in preparing events that fit into the class educational plan.
- If your child suffers from physical discomfort, get him or her under medical care. Only the cooperation of a few specialists (educational, therapeutic and medical interactions) can bring improvement.
When a child or teenager engages in risky behavior, don’t panic, but talk to them and look for good solutions.
- Describe what you saw (I felt alcohol from you yesterday). Use the freeze frame technique (refer to what you have seen and heard, avoid accusations and threats). Try not to scream or show your helplessness. Be calm but firm. Make it very clear that you do not accept these solutions to the problem.
- Act with the awareness that you are not always in a position to control your child. However, you are responsible for:
- telling you directly that you are worried about what you see,
- own readiness to talk to the child about his situation,
- providing reliable and truthful information on alcohol,
- determining the consequences and persevering with them.
- Explain why you are worried about the baby. Don’t be afraid to show that you take what happened seriously. Declare that you want to help the child so that the situation does not repeat itself again. Confirm that drinking alcohol does not solve your problems, it only makes them worse.
- Assess if what you are doing is consistent with what you are saying. Adults can consume alcohol without legal consequences, but of course their children can see whether or not they do so without exceeding safety limits. If either parent has difficulty controlling their drinking, they will not be reliable.
- Show your child how to say no. Some people find it difficult to openly resist group pressure. Determine what to say when you are encouraged to drink. Confirm that the child, for example, can blame you (Thank you, but no. Dad is crazy about this – I would have to look for a new apartment right away). Confirm that “No, I don’t want to” is the complete answer.
- Look for information on places where information and consultation assistance is provided in your area. Get advice from specialists: a pedagogue, psychologist or therapist.
A child can learn effectively only when he experiences sympathy and acceptance in the class group. They need to be supported when they are unable to cope with loneliness and isolation on their own. Difficult or even health-threatening behavior of a child should mobilize parents to action. Their calm and thoughtful intervention and consistent cooperation with the school are essential elements of working out a change.