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Influence of Schools on Behavior of Children

by Eliza Martinez, studioD

You know that your influence on your child is important, but since she spends a great deal of her growing-up years in school, understanding how school plays a role in her behavior is vital to ensuring her success and proper development. Teachers, friends and other aspects of school play a role in your child's behavior, so getting involved at her school keeps you in the loop.

School Resources

Risk taking takes many forms, from ditching class to cheating on a test to smoking behind the building during passing period. The school your child attends plays a role in her chances of engaging in risk-taking behaviors. Schools with more resources, such as healthy lifestyle curricula, low rates of teacher burn-out and support for student well-being, have lower rates of risk-taking behaviors, including violence, alcohol use and dangerous actions in vehicles, according to the Journal of Adolescent Health. Schools with fewer resources may see more of these behaviors among students due to lack of support and education about the topics.

Teacher Behavior

If teachers model socially acceptable behaviors for their students, children are likely to engage in desired behaviors, even if they slip up from time to time and get into trouble. If teachers make an effort to treat those around them with respect and understanding, get their work done on time and follow through on what they say they'll do, children will do the same. Schools that retain teachers for many years also play a positive role in a child's behavior, notes "Pediatrics," the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. This is because students know they can count on specific teachers to be there for them.


There is much debate regarding whether nature or nurture plays a bigger role in a child's behavior and development. The fact is that both come into play. A nurturing teacher is important for helping children learn how to behave. A good teacher helps your child learn right from wrong with love and understanding. Teachers also have the opportunity to change behavior rather than feel that it defines the child, according to Education.com. A harsh teacher might make your child feel like she's getting in trouble for everything and that there's no point in trying to behave. Children who are mistreated are more likely to suffer developmental issues that include behavior.

Rewards and Punishments

Behavior modification by teachers is important for keeping control of students. Schools that take into account age and the severity of the offense before carrying out consequences are more likely to see changes in behavior. If a student turns in an assignment late, his grade is docked. Next time, the student will likely be motivated to finish on time. Students caught throwing food in the cafeteria who are responsible for cleaning up the entire floor after lunch are less likely to participate in a food fight the next time around. Positive reinforcement -- rewarding kids for doing what they should -- is also a powerful motivator for helping students engage in desired behaviors.

About the Author

Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.

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