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'Parents have to set boundaries': Expert, school districts offer ways to improve classroom behavior, performance

To break the cycle of bad behavior, our mental health and wellness expert recommends parents connect with their teachers and school counselors.

HOUSTON — KHOU 11 Investigates has been getting a lot of reaction after reporting its findings on violent disturbances in the classroom.

Elementary school teachers are reportedly being harassed and bullied by their own students. They told KHOU that parents were a big part of the problem, and those teachers believe changing attitudes is key.

Bill Prasad, KHOU’s mental health and wellness expert, says there’s no one reason for bad classroom behavior and no cure-all.

“Kids are gonna act out if there isn’t structure around them,” said Prasad, who cautions against using social media as a babysitter. “That’s guaranteed.”

Prasad says overall people’s trust in major institutions has dropped since the 1960s, and that includes education.

“We’re finding that now playing itself out consistently in the classroom, where the parents, at times, don’t trust the teachers, and at times, they side with their kids or they say, ‘That couldn’t be my kid, my child wouldn’t do that,’” said Prasad.

Prasad says parents are not entirely to blame, pointing out many are under stress while working multiple jobs, raising several kids, and adjusting to the big changes that kids frequently go through.

To break the cycle of bad behavior, Prasad recommends parents connect with their teachers and school counselors.

He also says mom and dad need to be willing to hear some tough critiques and take a tough look at how they discipline.

“Generally spanking makes the child angry and fearful, and it’s over, whereas if I pull a sleepover out of your weekend, you are gonna spend the whole weekend thinking about that,” Prasad said.

Some districts like Houston and Fort Bend ISD hold classes or programs with parents to provide resources, learn how to help their kids do well in school, and connect with their teachers and staff.

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