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How to Help Your 10+ Child with Behavior Issues at School


How to Help Your 10+ Child with Behavior Issues at School


Just like most parents, you probably eagerly await your child’s developmental milestones, and that includes attending school. School can be a wonderful experience for your little one as they garner more knowledge, get to interact with other children and adults, and explore their potential. It is quite common for young children to manifest behaviors that you may describe as “difficult.” As they grow older, however, they adjust and become more willing to live, play, and learn with other children.

Age 10+ or puberty is another phase when your child may experience difficulty at school as they go through the transition from childhood to adolescence. Adolescence is viewed as the period between puberty and becoming an adult. If you are expecting teen issues later, brace up, because the puberty stage can be just as challenging for them and you.


How Puberty May Affect Your 10+ Child

Your child at 10 (or earlier) is on the verge of a lot of physical changes due to shifting levels of hormones, making this a dramatic period in their life. While the physiological process is normal, adjusting to the changes may be difficult for some children, particularly when they are already weighed down by an emotional condition—depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), opposition defiant disorder (ODD), etc.  

You can help your child first by understanding puberty and how it may affect your child. If it comes earlier than usual (age 8 to 9), it is a case of early or “precocious” puberty. It may not be smooth sailing for your child if they perceive they are different from other children their age. If they do not fully understand what’s happening in their body, they may have a tough time, breeding self-esteem or body image issues. For a child with an emotional condition, this can be another burden to carry.


Earning and Losing the Label

Misbehaving or acting out in school are among the last things you want for your child entering puberty. Around this age, they are more sociable and eager to have friends. Being avoided in school because of a tendency to break rules or get into trouble can make having good friends doubly difficult. This can make any 10+-year-old unhappy in school, and they may continue acting out, skip school, hate their peers and mentors, and ultimately fail to perform their best.

To help your child, it is important that you understand how your child is perceived in school. How are they acting out? Are they rude or disruptive? Do they distract their classmates or are they breaking rules? Do they hurt others verbally or physically? How are they labeled in school?

According to James Lehman, MSW, creator of programs for disturbed youth, knowing these will help you “distinguish between the label and your child’s style of functioning in school.”  He also said that it is important for parents “to be honest with themselves about their child’s behavior.” Denial may only take you away from your real concern. Defending them when they are wrong isn’t healthy, as this may only give your child a wrong sense of what is right and wrong.


Starting Off Right with the Right Assistance

If your child has exhibited worrisome behaviors in school and it is making them avoid school, act on the concern quickly by seeking professional help. If they earn a negative label in school, they may have to live with it from grade to grade; it will not be easy for your child to escape it on their own. Your help and that of an experienced child therapist may be necessary to give your child a chance to start again with a clean slate.

Exhibiting behaviors that are unacceptable or disrupting school is not something to take lightly. While it is true that this could be a passing stage, it is not safe to assume that it is normal. It is still advisable that you check out whether an emotional condition, intense feelings, or puberty may be contributing to the behavior. If that is the case, you will want to act on their behavior issues promptly.

The best action would be to seek help from a therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – Sanford, NC, who can help your child directly and help empower you as a parent. Rather than dreading emails from your child’s school informing you that your child has misbehaved again, call Carolina Counseling Services – Sanford, NC for help. Watching your child stumble in their social, emotional, and academic development can be tough, but you are not helpless. Let’s work together to help your child.


Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Chatham, Harnett, Lee and Moore County, NC

Areas: Sanford NC, Tramway, NC, Olivia, NC, Broadway, NC, Cumnock, NC, Gulf, NC, Goldston, NC, Carbonton NC, Glendon, NC, Carthage, NC, Cameron, NC, Lillington, NC, Moncure, NC

Zip Codes: 27330, 27332, 28327, 27505, 27546


Rose Thomas, MA, LPC, LCAS, NCC

Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Children, Teens, Individuals, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder, ADHD, Relationship Issues, Marriage Counseling, Parenting, PTSD/Trauma Recovery, Acute Stress Disorder, Adult Sexual Abuse Survivors, Adjustment Disorders, Depressive Disorders, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Bipolar and Related Disorders, Self-injurious/Self-Harm, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Separation Anxiety, Disruptive Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Marital Conflict and Discord, LGBT, Substance Use Disorders
 Insurance: BCBS, Tricare,/Tricare Prime, Select, Extra, Retired, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

Fetima Wellington, MS, LPC, LCAS-A

Specializes in: (Ages 6+) Children, Adolescents/Teens, Individuals, Couples, Family Therapy and Marriage Counseling. Anxiety, Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder, Addiction and Recovery, Relationship Issues, Post Partum Depression, Family Conflict, Crisis Intervention, ODD, Conduct Disorder, LGBTQ
 Insurance: BCBS,  Cash, HSA and FSA (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

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Carolina Counseling Services - Sanford, NC
304 N Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330