New (with issues)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by alanalouise, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. alanalouise

    alanalouise New Member

    Hello All,

    I am new here. Been pretty down in the dumps with my 6yo son. Kindergarten has not been going well. Started out with issues in class not listening and following directions. About 2 weeks into school I had a talk with his teacher about his behavior in class as well as at recess (pushing/shoving/kicking). So we began to get daily reports on his behavior. We reinforced this at home as well. We had consequences for rough days and praise and rewards for good days. It took a while but we got it taken care of after about 2 months. He was able to stop with the reports and all was well. Then after Christmas we got more info from the teacher that his old behaviors were back - reports again. We are doing the same things we did before with no luck. The good news this time is that classroom time is going great but it's at social times that we are having issues. He will shove at recess and tackle. Yesterday even kicking a boy that he does not even know in the privates in the bathroom. He ended up with a trip to the Principal. We have had him in Tae Kwon Do in an attemp to learn some discipline and self control and have been doing it since the beginning of the school year with no luck or change. We have a happy home. When husband and I argue it's never ugly or disrespectiful. There is no violence in our home either. We are also very careful about what our kids watch on TV - no guns/violence/fighting/ etc.... and any computer or video games are also age appropriate and either educational or violence free (for instance, he can play Mario Kart). We have the school guidance counselor observing him and we will have a meeting with husband, teacher and counselor soon. I am super frustrated about what to do. I feel like I have done something wrong along the way here. Why aren't we able to get this under control? What are we doing wrong or missing here? Is there more to it? He is GREAT at his afterschool program (he is there 3 days a week - the days that I work). He has never been violent or aggressive (aside from a 2 month span of time when he was 1 and was biting). He has always been a kid who does not like change and that was what I thought was up when Kindergarten started - just not used to things yet but this can't be lasting this long. Especially when he already solved all these things once before. Have asked him lots of questions about school and if someone there is being mean to him or if he is scared of something and he claims everything is perfrect. I am at a loss and feeling like a complete failure as a mother. He has lost everything here at home, toys, games, etc... and pretty much comes home, does any homework he has then has work to do. Fold clothes, help clean, etc... and has to go to bed early. I feel bad that my time with my son is so negative because of this but I can't ignore what he did at school and act like nothing happened. The rare day that is great we celebrate and congradulate him and praise him give him a chance to watch a cartoon, play a game as a family, etc.... but those things don't seem to matter.

    Oh, we are also close to having his tonsils out as well.... he has huge ones and think it may be affecting his sleep. Another reason he goes to bed early. This is so sad to me as I love my son with every cell in my body. To know that he is hurting kids and being a distraction at school is so embarrassing and appalling to me. I miss those days when he'd come home with great news and being so excited. Any ideas....

    Thanks so much for being here, I need to vent

  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    You sound like a great mom.

    You may find the problems subside once the tonsils are out. in my humble opinion I would not punish at home for what happens at school. It isn't working and is just making everyone miserable. Maybe give a reward on good days instead???
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I agree. focus on rewards for the good days, and nothing for the bad days.

    A few things concern me. First, he is fine at home. But mostly, he is fine at aftercare. That is a similar environment to school - so why the difference? What are they doing at aftercare that they are not doing at school? Or possibly - what is happening at school, that is not happening at aftercare?

    If your child does not like change, that is interesting. Possibly very relevant. School is generally very structured, so he should be doing better there, not worse. Again - something is going on there, especially in the unstructured play, that is I suspect precipitating this.

    My theory - find out if he is either being bullied, or influenced by bullies. He could be attacking other kids for perceived (or real) slights or attacks. Once a kid gets a reputation, and especially once they get stirred up and have a shorter fuse than usual, problems happen. A solution - ask for playground supervision - a shadow.

    He says nobody is hassling him, but there still could be social hassles he is either unaware of or unwilling to talk about. if he is being stood over, he might have been warned to stay silent. For example easy child was sexually molested in the school playground when she was 5 years old. Her attacker was 7 years old. We never found out exactly what he did physically, but the emotional damage was severe. He had said to her, "I am going to have sex with you. it will hurt. Do not tell anyone of my father will come to your house and kill your mother by running her over with the lawnmower." That is all she could tell us about the event. It took us two years to find out. In that time she also had been showing problem behaviours.

    A kid who is socially inept, is also vulnerable to exploitation by other kids. difficult child 3 loved the school play gym and learned to patiently wait his turn. But the other kids would let their friends in line in front of him, which meant he never got his turn. They were doing it because they thought it was fun to see him get angry. Also, they found it a nuisance to wait for him to have his turn when once he got on the play gym, he was reluctant to get off (because it took him so long to get his turn!). The teachers did not realise, or care. They felt the play gym was no big deal, so he shouldn't have been getting so upset. What I wanted was for a teacher to supervise, just occasionally, to make sure that the kids were taught to play fair all the time. When kids learn that they can get away with being mean some of the time, it is actually bad for them and also bad for the others who are getting a raw deal. When kids learn to play nicely, it is win-win. Good habits lead to better habits and everybody is happy.

    If you can, observe. If you can't, send a communication book along with him and get staff to write in it. All little stuff, too. You also write in it - anything possibly relevant, including how he is with his tonsils.

    We found this level of communication gave us the clues we needed to find out what was really going on. The other thing we did, was cultivated 'spies' in other kids. I invited classmates round for play dates and I also listened in. When difficult child 3 was 5 years old, easy child was a teacher with the local dance school and often had kids telling her what was happening at school. I heard a number of things that TEACHERS had done to difficult child 3 (such as one teacher grabbing him by his sweater and dragging him along behind her). Of course when I reported my concerns the principal investigated and said it hadn't happened. But if never happened after that! One of my best spies was a regular playmate of difficult child 3's. He was a easy child kid who just happened to see something he liked in difficult child 3. Often when difficult child 3 had not realised he was being bullied (but was getting upset because things were not going right for him) or when difficult child 3 could not identify the kids who were bullying him, this friend was able to clarify the picture. I was very sad when this kid's family moved away.

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm in mid-Wisconsin. Where do you live (not the town, but the area). It sounds like he could use a neuropsychologist evaluation. Those are extremely helpful.

    It is unlikely you did anything wrong. He was probably born a bit different and you need to find out what is going on by a really thorough professional (thus the neuropsychologist). Most of the time behavioral methods don't work that well for our kids unless they are being treated for their disorder too.

    Welcome to the board!
  5. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think, were I you, I would wait for the results of his classroom observation meeting. It sounds as if the school/teacher are supportive, and that's a huge plus! They may have some suggestions, the counselor may have seen some things that may be a good insight into his behavior.

    In regards to punishment - one of the rules that most of us follow around here is consequences at school for school behavior and consequences at home for home behavior. Is your son given consequences (i.e., recess time taken away, etc.) when he acts out at school? If so, then he has been punished already. Having said that, the only time I punished at home was for severe infractions which were always using any part of his body on another person (hitting, pushing, kicking, etc.). When that occurred, everything with an on switch (gameboy, tv, etc.) was taken away for a time commensurate with the infraction. That way he knew those were the huge "no-no's". I didn't, and don't, expect perfection. I understood his challenges and knew he had to try that much harder than his classmates to hold it together. As he got older, he became aware of it as well and was able to gain a little more control.

    So, at this point, I think I would listen to the results of the observations and then go from there. You might want to begin to think back to developmental milestone, family histories or emotional, behavioral, or mental issues, etc. Begin to make your son comfortable talking with you about these incidents. "Why did you kick so and so?" "How did it make you feel?" "Did you feel bad after you did it?" "What do you think you could have done instead?" Dialogue can work if your son feels comfortable. I found that bedtime was a good time to discuss these things with my son. He was relaxed and much farther removed from the incident so the anger/frustration wasn't fresh. He was more apt to share rather than my "attacking" him right after school when he was still "wound up".

    Glad you found the site!

  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Did he have issues before entering school? I was wondering if perhaps he is one of the youngest in his class. Sometimes that triggers problems particularly with boys. If he did not attend pre-K then it may be overwhelming to learn so much structure so fast.

    I agree with the separation of school and home punishments but I heartily agree that rewarding good days could be helpful. So much depends on the child...makes it frustrating, for sure. The main thing is don't blame yourself. It's not valid and it undermines your own self confidence. Hang in there. It may get better much faster than you expect. Identifying the reason behind the problems can often lead to a solution. DDD
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im another one who has found out that separating school and home is good. Also it seems a bit odd that he does fine in all places but the unstructured times at school. How does he do in the unstructured times at after school setting? Im assuming they having them play outside on nice days there too. Maybe they have more aides though to watch them.

    If he didnt attend a pre-school type setting he could be getting used to kindergarten and that whole experience. That does take some settling in for boys especially. Even my 4 year old granddaughter is having her ups and downs with her pre-k class this year.

    Im not completely sure that what you are seeing is out of the range of normal just yet. Normally they want to see a problem in more than one setting.
  8. alanalouise

    alanalouise New Member

    Thanks everyone for your thoughtful responses.

    Let me try to answer all of your questions....

    Yes, he did 4K for the year before K. No problems there at all. There were those normal times that sharing was hard for 4 year olds and someone got pushed or shoved but no outright violence. He just turned 6 in Jan so he isn't SUPER young for K. But, my little guy has always had issues with change and new stuff. I do suspect that K is overwhelming for him. It does seem that in social settings where he is less-supervised is when he has the most problems. The afterschool care is still great, in fact, when I picked him up today I asked the teachers there and they say he is great there - acts like every othere little boy there. When weather permits they come in off the bus, have a snack, and head outside. If the weather is bad they stay inside and just have the time to play, play, play. No pushing/hitting or other antics. That is a new place for him too (since the beginning of the school year). I actually thought he'd be having trouble there too but it's going great there.

    Yes, he does get consequences at school. Loses recess if he is rough at recess, loses choice time (5 min increments) for not listening/following directions, etc....has had to sit out of classes for other infractions. Was throwing food (it was not just him - several boys got in trouble for this....) and had to have lunch in the office, etc.... I also talked to husband to night about the school consequences staying at school and not following him home. So, we decided to talk about what happened, what he should have done, etc... and maybe how to do things differently. And then dropping it. I also liked the idea that any physical - aggressive behavior can result in the loss of electronics at home. We have been doing rewards for good days as well as earning stars on a chart for the nice extra things that he does and he can cash those in on a video, time on the Wii, a computer game, etc.... In fact today he fed and watered the dog without being asked and was being very respectful and kind to me and his sister. So he earned stars and it was so nice to be able to have something super nice to talk to him about instead of how he had a rough day at school. He is such a sweet boy - I could talk all day about the wonderful things about him. He has the most fantastic sense of humor and a laugh to die for. I so badly wish all of his teachers at school could see what we see at home.

    As far as I am aware he is not being mistreated anywhere. But, I know sometimes that you just don't know it is happending. I do have some spies (the bus driver and a school aide are personal friends of ours and have been watching for him and seeing what he does - no bad reports that his being bullied.) It is something for sure to watch for. Thanks for the heads up. I also know that he is super sensitive to what others do and say to him. The suggestion that he may percieve that someone is being mean to him is a real possibility.

    MidwestMom - I am in the La Crosse Area.

    I have an email to the school psyschologist and hopefull we will have a mtg on Monday.

    I am also a bit frustrated that he had written a "sorry" note to a child that he had kicked on Monday and he didn't know the young man's name. So, we had a note to his teacher and asked her to help him find the boy to give him the note. My son said that the teacher didn't help him find the child. Certainly I was not there so I don't know how that went down but he was disappointed about that and so was I. It could be that she was just busy and was going to help him later, but still.....

    I hope we get something going soon that helps. I am beginning not to sleep well because I worry so much about this. I don't expect perfection here, I just want to help my little man. I just want to curl up around him and protect him because I know how sensitive he is. Never has been sensitive to clothing, outside influences... but emotionally. It's just him. Even as an infant he was that way. He would cry if anyone he didn't know would hold him - even at just weeks old. He takes forever to get used to new people/places, feelings hurt very easily, and holds on to hurts for a long time. Ok, so that is a lot like me......

    Thanks everyone so much for your thoughts.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I would be wanting something like Asperger's to be at least checked out. It would explain the social delay as well as the problems with change. It sounds to me like the teachers are punishing him inconsistently and also perhaps a bit harshly, for things that are either impulsive, or not really under his control. That sets them up for more failure. The teacher not helping him find the kid to give the apology note to - that is bad. It is also further indication that their discipline inconsistency could be a major factor here.

  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    If the problems have arisen at the new school and after a relocation I tend to think it is just immaturity and not likely an indicator of a disorder. He got along fine prior to the move? He goes outside and plays well after school? He doesn't cause grief at home? He gets along at daycare?
    Those signs are really positive. I'm hoping that the school works well with you to solve the problems. Fingers crossed it is due to the overwhelming environmental changes. DDD
  11. alanalouise

    alanalouise New Member

    Thanks again everyone....

    we have an appointment with the teacher and school psychologist on Monday and we will see where that leads. The end of the week was pretty good for my guy 2 good days! that is always such a relief. We have been leaving school at school and home at home as some of you had suggeseted. If he had a rough day at school we do talk about how it went, what he could have done differently, etc... then drop it. Maybe that accounts for the two good days.

    i'll keep you updated.
  12. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Did the problems get better or worsen after he began tae kwan do? Maybe he isn't getting that you can't do those things outsde of the tae kwan do studio?
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    A thought on the tai kwon do - we enrolled difficult child 1 in karate class, because we thought it would be good for him. teach him discipline, give him confidence, help him learn self-control. The class was mixed adult and child class, run by a young man who did not live in the village. I met with the teacher, talked to him about difficult child 1 (diagnosis of ADHD at the time, I said he would need support and needed instructions kept simple and short. The teacher listened, seemed to take it all on board, said he would help him along. Then there was this secrecy thing - difficult child 1 said that karate was not supposed to be talked about outside class, what happened in class was secret, like a secret society. He was not allowed to tell us even how it went. I didn't feel comfortable with this. Another older boy from our church and a man from our church were also in the class. The older boy was enjoying it and doing well. But the man came to us and told us we should pull difficult child 1 out, the teacher was picking on him badly and frankly, not teaching him anything. He was punishing difficult child 1 for not being able to follow complex instructions. Punishment was constant push-ups and being excluded from the class - instead of doing the stuff the others were doing, difficult child 1 was off to the side to "gimme 20". For the whole lesson.

    We had noticed a behaviour change in difficult child 1 but never got the chance to have it out with the teacher and pull difficult child 1 from the class - a few days after our adult friend told us of this, the teacher postponed the next lesson on the grounds of poor health, then never came back. Word was, he had a breakdown of sorts. So the teacher was not the most stable individual.

    We checked out the teacher, checked his credentials, asked other students and got glowing reports. But after the breakdown issue, we went back and talked to people and found they hadn't really known him as well as they said they did. We felt conned.

    It's tricky sometimes. But since then - any martial arts course that has ANY secrecy as a component, is off our list. Any teacher trying that one on with me again, gets an earful. It seems difficult child 1 was being warned to not complain to mummy, he was being actively "toughened up" and the secrecy angle was being used to hide what was really going on.

  14. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    There was no observation place for the parents? All the reputable places I've seen have a place to watch, often another room where they can see the class without being seen (and therefore aren't a distraction).
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    No, none. I was told by the instructor at the enrolment point that martial arts is more than just physical fitness, it is an induction into various exclusive mental attitude things which are only for those who participate. I was welcome to become a student too, though. We looked around to see who the other students were and trusted they would keep their eyes open. Trouble was, this instructor was a wacko who had them all cowed and told them to shut up about whatever went on at karate class, you don't breach craft secrets. It was presented as being an essential part of karate.

    Interestingly, not long before they married, difficult child 1 joined a karate class, now as an adult. He said there was none of that rubbish. So I think it was a case of a not-too-stable instructor trying to focus on the cult aspects of teaching. A really sicko control freak.

    The classes were held in our community hall. It's a small village here, we have people come in from outside and do various courses, classes etc. We have to make do with what facilities people can get. I've taught writing workshops in other venues in the town, often while another type of class (ie oil painting) was going on up the other end of the room.

    i just thought I'd mention the secrecy thing and the possibly cult/religious angle with martial arts, in case that is an issue here, a kid being bullied or in some other way handled inappropriately under the cover of such secrecy.

  16. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I've had a few friends that were abused in various ways when they were younger and too scared to speak up to someone that could help them, so one thing I have drilled into kiddo's head is that if she is EVER in a situation where she is told she must keep something a secret from me, that this is a time when it is more than okay to lie and promise them not to tell until she can safely get away from this person and tell me, a police officer, teacher, etc. To promise whatever she must to get out alive and then trust the adults to protect her after that, because they will threaten her family, friends, etc., and that by telling once she is safe she will be protecting herself and others.