Raising children is a crazy, fun, and sometimes stressful journey. You get to watch them hit milestones, grow, and develop into their own person.
Guiding them through their experiences and teaching them how to be a functional person is the more stressful part of the job. We always do our best with the knowledge that we have, but we can’t possibly know everything. Although there are countless parenting guides, everyone does things differently, and everyone’s situations are unique.
Sometimes, you may find yourself feeling defeated. You may feel like your child’s behavior is out of control and you aren’t well-equipped to navigate it. It can get overwhelming when you have a problem at home and you don’t have all the answers.
Your child is growing to be very rebellious in school- but you thought you did everything right. You might question yourself- ‘is this my fault?’ There are a lot of factors that go into child behavior and it is important to look at all of the options before placing self-blame.
Why is my child Being Rebellious in school?
There are a lot of reasons that children rebel in school. It could be being triggered by issues at home, issues at school, or they might be struggling emotionally.
Do not think of your child’s rebellious behavior as a reflection of you as a parent- instead, think of it as a reflection of the emotional turmoil your child may be experiencing.
As a parent, it may seem like the behavioral issues at school have appeared out of nowhere, but I encourage you to look deeper. Kids don’t confide in their parents about everything- as much as that may hurt, it’s the truth, and it doesn’t mean they are being sneaky.
1. Bullying at school
Is your child continuously getting in trouble at school, despite not having behavioral issues at home? Do they seem withdrawn? Really pay attention to when the rebellious behavior occurs.
A potential cause of the behavior could be bullying. It may be embarrassing for them to confide in anyone about the bullying, and they may fear reporting it will make it worse. The combination of these two things causes children to internalize it, and in turn, they might lash out or rebel as a way to channel their negative emotions that they are feeling due to the bullying.
Try to have a talk with your child about what’s going on at school, and without poking and prodding enough to upset them, attempt to get to the bottom of it. Bullying can cause a lot of built-up anger in kids, which can sometimes even be deadly.
2. Marital issues at home
One of the most common reasons that children rebel at school is because they are unhappy at home. This doesn’t mean you’ve failed as a parent- it is very possible to unintentionally hurt people, even our children.
You may have heated conversations about financial issues with your spouse after your child has gone to bed, and they overhear the conversation and are now stressed right along with the two of you. When children are exposed to adult stressors, they internalize them and it can have an unfortunately lasting effect on them.
If you are having serious marital issues and you believe it’s beginning to affect your child- it may be a good idea to either see a counselor or reconsider. Make it a point to not pollute your child’s environment with adult issues- those conversations should happen behind closed doors, and at a volume that won’t be heard from across the house.
People that are abused for a long period of time begin to rebel. This is not just relevant to children. It has been seen in abused women as well. You may not be abusing your child, but that doesn’t automatically rule it out as a possibility.
Abusers come in all forms. It could be your partner, a trusted babysitter, even a school teacher. Familiarize yourself with all the ways abuse may present itself, and look for the signs.
Talk to your child. If you have a suspicion but no way to confirm, it may be a good idea to take your child to see a therapist. They may feel more comfortable speaking with someone that has no ties or involvement with their abuser.
Abuse is a very hard thing to cope with and speak openly about, so it can be a very silent killer. Make sure your child knows that you are a safe person for them to be around and confide in.
4. Sexual abuse
Much like abuse of any other kind, sexual abuse can cause children to act out of character. Sexual abuse is a little different than any other form of abuse when it comes to children.
There are many reasons that children may keep quiet if they are being sexually abused. Sexual abuse is often done by someone that is close to them and has access to them. They may want to protect their abuser- and their abuser may even put in their head that sexual abuse is a normal display of love.
This can create very complicated emotions for the child being abused. They also may feel shame. Some children who have been sexually abused feel like they did something wrong.
They don’t understand that it is something bad that someone else is doing to them. Children that have been sexually abused may have rage fits and other emotional issues that can be seen as behavioral issues if you don’t have the full picture.
While rebellion in children can be caused by trauma and stress, it also could just be them reaching a certain point in their adolescence. Puberty takes a huge toll on growing kids’ emotions, and this can cause them to begin to act out in ways they normally wouldn’t.
Your child rebelling at school doesn’t automatically mean they have been hurt, but it is important to get to the bottom of it and make sure that it is just the puberty monster taking over your sweet little angel.
What can I do?
One of the most important things that you can do for your child is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for them to grow and develop comfortably. Providing a safe space for your children to process their emotions and letting them be honest without facing consequences for doing so will make your child more likely to confide in you when they have issues that are weighing on them.
If you suspect that your child is being abused or bullied, the best thing to do would be to get them into a therapist. Investigate the situation. Take your child to a doctor to be evaluated if you believe they’ve been sexually abused. If you are having marital issues at home, keep your child out of them.
Overall, the best thing you can do is to allow your child to be a child. Protect them from adult stressors and people who don’t have their best interests in mind.
Children shouldn’t have to grow up too fast because of trauma. When your child is going through a rebellious phase, you may brush it off as puberty, which very well could be the case, and hopefully, that’s the culprit. However, what seems like behavioral issues could be a lot deeper than you may realize.