School is a constant source of negativity

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by pepperidge, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Just feeling sad today. My son got suspended for a day for joining in a scuffle two kids were having and ended up hitting one in stomach (it was somewhere between a fight and horsing around). Long series of disciplinary actions that come with the territory of having an ADHD type hormonally charged 8th grader on board with major impulse control problems, difficulties making friends because of same, etc, Some of his teachers I feel are almost picking on hims I am beginning to feel like I did when he was in K when the teacher would give me a report each day of his sins before she released him. I got to the point where I would hide behind a tree and motion him over to avoid getting the "report."

    His sense of self esteem is heading south towards the toilet, He told me tonight they say just think before I act, don't they know how difficult it is for me not to be impulsive, do they think it is easy being me.

    My heart goes out to him when he is not doing something I want to strangle him for (like taking my cell phone and lying to me that he has it).

    School is becoming such a source of negativity. I would think about home schooling but he is a very social kid and enjoys school and is doing reasonably well in schoolwork. I see him lagging his peers socially, doing stupid things to want to fit in, and eventually heading down the road to trouble.

    School is really cracking down on anything that remotely looks like bullying and harrassment so I don't expect the climate to change.

    I'm trying to think proactively but not coming up with much. Shouldn't there be some place for kids like this that helps them? Instead school ends up being such an alienating place they ultimately end up in jail. Feeling so depressed by it all tonight.
    Thanks for listening.
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    difficult child 3 is also a very social kid. That, plus we were repeatedly told that home schooling is a social desert and therefore absolutely last resort and should never be considered for kids who need to learn social skills, and it was with great trepidation tat we went down that path. But we did because it was our only option remaining.

    But what we found - there were MORE social opportunities at home, plus they were under my control and also far more balanced and "normal". I could make more opportunities or less, depending on difficult child 3's needs. It also removed him from the negative stuff that was happening at school and helped him rediscover his self-esteem.

    The first, easiest and best social opportunity - I brought him along with me to anything I had to do away from home. Doctors' appointments; shopping; meetings - difficult child 3 came along too and I gave him a task to do. Sometimes he had schoolwork to do, sometimes (especially with shopping) I gave him part of the list and some money and sent him off to buy some stuff. At first I hovered in the background but he loved the fact I trusted him to do it and he felt so important. He interacted with the shop staff, and over time learned to do it appropriately! Or he would wait outside the store for me and often talk to others who were waiting, usually old age pensioners who delighted in having a young person to chat to.

    Next - if you feel it's necessary, you can make social opportunities for him. Play dates are much easier when all the homework has been done during the day, so he is finishing his school day completely, as his neighbourhood friends are getting home from school. He is ready to go play with a clear conscience. Both my boys have also at times helped their friends with their homework, which I always thought was funny because I could never get them to do their homework when they were in mainstream.

    Other social opportunities - after school clubs, including sport or other interests. difficult child 3 goes to a drama class (for kids with a range of learning problems) once a week. difficult child 1 used to volunteer at the local zoo and initially he avoided members of the public, working away shovelling out animal pens and filling feed troughs. But as he got more confident about talking to people, he would talk to them about the animal he was working with, tell them facts about it, and he enjoyed interacting in general.

    We found that home schooling was BETTER for social opportunities, not worse. Of course your child is not sitting in a room with a lot of other kids all day every day, but a lot of that time the kids can't interact that much anyway.

    Not that I'm saying you should do this. Only don't let your concerns about socialisation get in the way, because it is far less of an issue than we are led to believe.

  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Does your child get any social skills classes? My son is on the autism spectrum and those classes REALLY helped him. He was impulsive too, but he is very calm now. He may get angry faster than another kid, but he would never hit anyone. I really give credit to all the help he got in school...we, as parents, can not do it alone. And the fact is, our kids have to follow the school rules.

    Does your son have an IEP? Mine did and that's the thing that forced the school legally to modify things for a child such as him. I strongly recommend asking for an IEP if you don't have one. If you go this route (and do it in writing, keeping a copy for yourself), also find a Parent Advocate so that you know what to ask for and you don't go into any school meeting alone. I have an IEP meeting tomorrow and I'm bringing two advocates. Your child does not have to be failing to get an IEP. His trouble controlling himself is enough. But if you just go to the school, and don't get outside help, they will probably try to deny you an IEP because "he's doing ok in school." He isn't doing ok. He keeps getting into trouble. That is a disability. ADHD is covered as a disability in many states. You could also go for Other Health Impaired with includes any disorder that harms a child's ability to function in school.

    There ARE some kids in my opinion who would be miserable being homeschooled. I homeschooled for a year and although there was a homeschool gruop, it wasn't the same. I put my kids back in school so they could have more contact with other kids. The homeschooling is your call. I thought about it for my daughter who has ADHD because the school was not helping her and I hate fighting with schools (which is almost what you have to do to get services). However, she is popular and social and wanted to to see her friends every day even if it meant flunking every class. I couldn't take that away from her. So we go for a meeting tomorrow and I think the school district will have to give her the IEP. She was tested and did not do well on the testing. However, certain diagnoses get you IEPs as well. Are you sure your son doesn't have Aspergers? Some Aspergers kids are social, but they really don't know how to relate to other kids so they are more negative.

    I wish you good luck, whatever you decide to do. It is so hard when it seems the school is picking on our kid. I saw that start with my daughter and put a quick end to it. They were trying to blame her for her own learning disabilities. The advocates got after them and now they are being as nice as you please :) Just takes the right people in your corner. I think it is usually not helpful to work only within the school district. Sadly, they get ideas about your kid and pass that idea around. in my opinion it's best to found help outside the school that has some control over what your school district does. Call your Dept. of Public Education to find the free advocate in your particular areas. Take care :)

    PS--To Marg: In MOST (not all) states in the US, homeschooled kids are excluded from all public school activities. Completely. I don't recall which state this child is from...I think NY and California let homeschooled kids have some school activities....not sure that any other states do. Most high school kid's activities here are through the school it can be hard...
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010
  4. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I am a homeschooling mom but my daughter's medical issues keep her from socializing much. However, in our area, there are several homeschooling groups that offer classes for homeschoolers. It looks to me like we could find so many group classes and activities that we might struggle to find time for our own school work.

    She did take a writing and sewing class a few years ago through one of these groups. It seemed to me that the kids there were very respectful and polite. There were lots of parents around also. There might be fewer opportunities for trouble in that environment.

    I am only homeschooling because I feel we have no other choice, so I'm not saying you should do it. If the only reason you aren't considering it though is because of social activities, you should see what your area offers.
  5. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member


    Thanks for the thoughts about homeschooling. Believe me, it is crossing my mind. But I would have to hire tutors which still might be cheaper than an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) type place. I just couldn't be the one imposing the structure day in and day out because of his tendency to argue about everything.

    The sad thing is that he likes school, they have him up to grade level work (he is on an IEP already, has been since 14 months old) and he loves being with the other kids all day. That's part of the problem! He thrives on structure and social interaction.

    about autism--definitely not his problem according to every neuropsychologist, doctor, therapist we have ever dealt with. He is on the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) spectrum with executive functioning difficulties.

    Long term don't know what the prognosis is--will he ever be able to live alone and manage his life, money and not make impulsive decisions? He is normal functioning in many respects so it is a very tricky and depressing issue since he doesn't perceive himself as not being normal in many ways.
  6. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    We also have a few private schools around here that are known to be more helpful for kids who struggle with learning or behaviour. Just by chance, our kids ended up in a school like that. Since then, I've heard of a few others. You could try looking into the smaller private schools and see if there is anything similar. An educational consultant or even one of the tdocs you have seen might know of some possibilities.