Dear Dr. Renee,
It is almost summer and I can’t wait! It has been a long year and both my kids and I need this break. My problem is that we still have about 3 weeks of school left and my son seems to be goofing off more than usual. He is getting into trouble at school, and he doesn’t seem to be listening when we ask him to do simple things at home. Why is my sweet, loving, normally well-behaved son acting this way?
It has been a long year. I am glad that you are heading into summer where things can shift. Hopefully, things will be more relaxing for you and your family.
Children who act out, or in your case, ignore simple requests or regular chores, could be doing it for multiple reasons. Before I get into the reason I think your son may be having problems, let me ask a few questions. I would ask these if we were meeting together for a One-on-One session. These might seem strange coming from a Psychologist but stick with me.
Has your child had a hearing test lately? Are you aware of any abuse or bullying that might be happening at school, or elsewhere? It might be something your child has witnessed (bullying of a friend at school) and not personally experienced. I ask these questions to rule out possible causes for your son’s behavior.
My guess in this situation is that your son is experiencing or anticipating a change as summer approaches. Teachers start shifting into “wrap it up” mode and talking with their students about summer and summer activities. Not to mention the fact that this past year has been all over the place due to the pandemic! Your son might have finally settled into a decent routine with school and here we go upending it.
Transitions can be hard on some children, and adults, even when they are good transitions.
The ‘not knowing’ what will happen when school ends can cause some children to become anxious, consciously or unconsciously. This can lead to rebelling or acting out or not listening.
Reassure your son that you (the adults in his life) are in control and that there are plans in place once the school year ends. Even if the plans are flexible, giving your son something to hold onto such as playdates, a week-long two hours/day soccer camp, a trip to finally see grandparents, will help provide him with some sense of structure.
As a little heads up, your son might exhibit similar behaviors towards the end of the summer as he anticipates, consciously or unconsciously, the transition of returning to school.
Hang in there – you can do this!
If you’d like to get more personalized attention, feel free to schedule a brief, complimentary Positive Parent Discovery Session. You can find the link to my calendar and to One-on-One sessions below: