Written & Reviewed by
Gaston Molina
Published on
September 15, 2023


It can be perplexing and concerning for parents and educators when a child exhibits good behavior at home but misbehaves at school. This puzzling contrast can lead to questions about the underlying causes and how best to support the child. In this article, we will explore the potential reasons behind a child misbehaving at school but not at home and provide practical strategies for parents and teachers to address this behavior.

Possible Causes of Differential Behavior

  1. Environmental Differences: The environment at school and home can be drastically different. A child might feel more comfortable and secure at home, leading to better behavior.
  2. Social Dynamics: The social interactions and dynamics at school can be complex. A child may face challenges in peer relationships or feel overwhelmed by the social environment, which can contribute to misbehavior.
  3. Overstimulation: School can be a highly stimulating environment with noise, crowds, and various activities. Some children may struggle to manage this level of stimulation, leading to behavioral difficulties.
  4. Academic Pressure: Academic demands and challenges at school can be a source of stress for some children. This stress may manifest as misbehavior.
  5. Attention and Validation: A child may be seeking attention or validation from peers, teachers, or both. This desire for recognition may lead to disruptive behavior.
  6. Emotional Regulation: Children are still developing their emotional regulation skills. They may struggle to manage their emotions in the classroom setting.
  7. Learning Style and Preferences: A child’s learning style may not align with the teaching methods used in the classroom. This disconnect can lead to frustration and acting out.

Strategies for Parents

  1. Open Communication: Maintain open and regular communication with your child’s teachers. They may offer insights into the specific situations in which the misbehavior occurs.
  2. Create a Consistent Routine: Establish a consistent routine at home that mirrors the structure and expectations of the school environment. This can help your child transition more smoothly between home and school.
  3. Encourage Self-Expression: Provide opportunities for your child to express their feelings and concerns. This can help them develop emotional regulation skills.
  4. Foster Social Skills: Practice social interactions and problem-solving skills with your child. Role-playing scenarios can be particularly effective.
  5. Set Clear Expectations: Clearly communicate your expectations for behavior at both home and school. Consistency is key.
  6. Acknowledge and Reward Positive Behavior: Reinforce positive behavior by providing praise, encouragement, or small rewards when your child exhibits good behavior, especially at school.

Strategies for Teachers

  1. Observe and Document Behavior: Keep a record of when and where the misbehavior occurs. This information can be valuable in identifying patterns and potential triggers.
  2. Provide a Safe Space: Ensure that your classroom is a safe and welcoming environment where every child feels valued and included.
  3. Offer Varied Learning Opportunities: Recognize that children have diverse learning styles and preferences. Provide a range of activities to engage different types of learners.
  4. Implement Behavior Management Techniques: Utilize positive reinforcement, clear expectations, and appropriate consequences to encourage positive behavior.
  5. Collaborate with Parents: Maintain open lines of communication with parents to share observations and insights. Together, you can develop strategies to support the child.


A child misbehaving at school but not at home can be a complex and puzzling situation. By understanding the potential causes and implementing effective strategies, parents and teachers can work together to support the child’s behavioural development. Open communication, consistency, and a collaborative approach are key in addressing this behaviour and creating a positive learning environment for the child. Remember, each child is unique, and a tailored approach that considers their individual needs and preferences is essential for success.


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