Family Factors That Influence Students' Behavior in School

The traditional family structure has changed over the years because of divorce, single parent homes, two-career families and financial hardship. In an unstable environment, a child may act out causing disruptive behavior in school. School personnel deal with each student on an individual basis to figure out what factors are influencing their disruptive behavior. It is worthy to note, family factors attribute to a broad spectrum of negative student behavior in school.

Family Dynamics

The first teacher in every child's life is his parent. Studies indicate that parental expectations towards education is evident in a child's behavior 1. This is true no matter the type of family dynamics. Children with parents who nurture learning in a positive encouraging way have a better chance of succeeding in school. Too much encouragement or a parent with a negative, non-caring attitude towards learning may lead to an undue pressure on the child causing anxiety, stress, underachievement and rebellion.


It is not uncommon for children in a divorce situation to have behavioral issues in school. Divorce causes distress within a child. Their mind wanders and worries about the divorce situation. Guilt, feelings of loss, dislike of a parent or parents within the divorce situation may cause a child's mind to wander during school hours. Possible behavioral issues include:

  • aggression
  • loss of friends
  • isolation
  • intolerance for authority,
  • lack of tenacity to complete assignments

Financial Hardship

The socio-economic status of a family plays a role in a student's behavior. There are numerous educational advantages for children from well-to-do families, even though they may have behavioral issues in school. It is, however, more likely that a child who lives in poverty or in the lower end of the middle-class will repeat a grade, be suspended or may be expelled or drop out from school.

Violence and Abuse

The National School Safety and Security Services states children who come from abusive homes harbor violent tendencies. Violence or mental abuse between parents or between parent to child manifests within a child to create a fearful environment. The child learns that violence or mental abuse is the answer to numerous situations, and may cause aggressive, disruptive and violent actions within the school system. Children exposed to sexual abuse and those that have been sexually abused may resort to sexual acts at an early age or they may attempt to force sexual acts on others.

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