Defining, identifying, and addressing antisocial behavior in children ages 4–7: The perspectives of selected elementary principals in a midwestern city school district
Children and youth are becoming involved in violent behavior at ever-younger ages. Early appearing behavior problems in a child's school career are the single best predictor of delinquency in adolescence, gang membership, and adult incarceration. The purpose of this research was to identify successful interventions used by selected elementary principals which positively changed antisocial behavior in a kindergarten child. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with six elementary principals. The participants were chosen based on their district's view of their success and were also chosen due to the low social economic status of the children in their building.
Seven themes emerged from the interviews: the importance of parent involvement; building relationships with children; regular education functions; more restrictive environments; experience and training; early intervention; and all-day kindergarten.
The results of the study demonstrated a need for the training of elementary principals in the areas of defining and identifying antisocial behavior. Principals need good preparation and inservice training to effectively deal with the behaviors of an antisocial child.
A need for early interventions was also a result of the study. Children as young as age three should be in quality preschool settings. Relationship building is also essential to the success of the children. If interventions do not make a difference by about age eight, antisocial behavior can become chronic disorders for which there is no cure.
0518: Preschool education
0524: Elementary education