Trouble at play centre

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    J spent 10 days with his dad and family in the mountains in Morocco and came back to me in Marrakech the day before we flew back to France. He has been with me generally good - hyperactive (of course) but not oppositional and on the whole very sweet. However, on Wednesday there was trouble at the play centre. Apparently the director called me but I didn't take the call as I was in bed with the first flush of flu (now beginning to feel a little human again... :)). When I arrived to pick him up the others were watching a DVD and J was standing in the corridor; when he saw me he started crying. Apparently he had been punished. The director wanted to speak to me - I knew we shouldn't do this in front of J but was not quick enough on the uptake to formulate this quickly. She told me in outraged tones how J and the other very hyperactive boy that goes there had been rude and insolent, hitting the other children (by which I imagine she means his play fighting,which is what he himself said) and refused to listen all day... She said they don't have enough staff to deal with them all - apparently there are four hyperactive kids in total that go there, incredible - and wants us to draw up a "protocol" for all the kids with special needs so that they can try and get more staff assigned. She would also like to speak to J's psychiatrist about how to deal with him... J in the meantime was howling and sobbing in the corner of the room, next to a fridge, hearing our conversation... what a shambles...

    This woman has got upset with J before; I think she's the kind (I can relate) who takes the rudeness personally. I explained to her that getting angry and punishing makes things worse, that promising rewards for good behaviour does much better. Apparently the other hyperactive boy is much "worse" than J and I am wondering whether things are ever going to be manageable if they are together... Eventually the director went off to talk to the sobbing J, sitting on the floor beside him, and promised him that if he was good next Wednesday he would watch the DVD. At which he stopped crying. I have agreed I will draw up this "protocol" with them to try to deal with J better.... not sure I think it's the best option. Should he continue going there with this other kid? I was feeling quite despairing about this on Wednesday, having arrived out of left field. Honestly it's hard to understand how J can be both so good and sweet and so difficult and oppositional at other times.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Part of it... is the "other kids".
    If you (i.e. a kid like J) already have the tendency to get wound up, and somebody else starts winding things up... you may not start it but you get pulled in. And then... you get blamed.

    As far as protocol goes... post over on Special Education, and see if we can all help you come up with an IEP for him!
    Not that you'll call it that, but... what can we come up with for accommodations and interventions that WORK?
    Because, as you know, there are "some" that work "quite frequently".
    Nothing, of course, works all the time.
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    oh gosh, just a bunch of yuck. These can NOT be the first challenging kids they have had there??? Well, whatever the protocol is, maybe take one decent page from the USA behavior plan system and have it be a positive behavior plan in some way, focusing on his learning and using appropriate behavior skills. That way he can earn extra things, not necessarily have things taken away (which I would save for only serious injury, not "rude" talk or play fights/hyper behavior). If necessary maybe you can provide the little reward chest or some such thing that he can grab from for meeting his goals. He is so bright he may do better with this kind of thing than kids like Q though this works for Q if he does not have to wait for a reward over days and he gets cues.

    There are a million specific ways to cue him and certainly we could all throw out what has worked and what has been a disaster (but used commonly) for our kids. Things like Red light/yellow/green for behavior can work IF it is not all or nothing and the child is able to earn their way off RED after a short time (if they go to red and miss out for the day that usually does not work for a difficult child....Q was always on red with that kind of system. But if he gets a verbal cue, then does not respond he goes to yellow and if after five minutes he is calm he goes back to green.....that works really well for Q. (not something that can be done with a full class easily but can be done with a small group of kids if an aide is assigned to manage the plan)

    It would also be nice if they could play games with the kids to help teach them limits with touch and turn taking and if they get big praise for following those kinds of rules that could help them with the regulation.

    I'd stay far away from the call mom if he is being rude kind of plan, many of us as you know have gone down that road.....except for serious injury or his smuggling drugs into school, lol, I'd encourage them to do the great job you know they can do since they are so wonderful, (cough) and help him to continue the great progress you have seen.

    This kind of thing would make me wonder about medications, not for their sake.....but your description of him shattered.....that is really sad......But a good plan first would be best.
  4. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Do you think the person handling the situation turns J into whatever they see in him? Meaning, this scenario could have played out a number of ways- one where J was dealt with in a way respectful and appropriate for HIM and you came to pick him up and he was watching the dvd with the others and you both went away feeling good about who J is as a person? Instead, it is looked at as all J's fault for how the adults handled it. Well, I say, go ahead and create the protocol, but create it to modify the adults behavior, so they understand how J acts and reacts and how to make him feel good about himself at the end of the day.
  5. Angela41

    Angela41 New Member

    I'm sorry it happened. I've seen my son become extremely overstimulated in large groups, or around other intense kids- to the point where he was nearly impossible to reign in. The Director sounds overwhelmed and seems to be taking it out on you (and probably the other parent).

    May I suggest an option? Be gently honest with J. Explain what he just witnessed with the director. Explain that if the protocols don't work, and he continues to get in trouble with his friend at the play centre, you may seek alternative child care.

    When i need to be, I'm candid with my with my six year old son about the "real world" consequences of his actions. It doesn't traumatize him to hear the truth- in fact, it's much worse for him when he is surprised by a bad outcome.
  6. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Kids in general feed off other kids. Hyper kids feed off the hyper of the others. It's a vicious circle. My question is why was J the only one punished? What was the punishment for the other kid? Poor J was singled out as the "scapegoat". How sad for him.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    So the protocol is to cover all four hyperactive kids?
    Are the other parents involved?
    Can you meet together and work it through with a united stand?

    Rule #1 for hyperactive kids is... more activity of the structured type. Some kinds go over better than others but in general activity works. I grew up in a poor neighborhood, and a school full of troubled kids... and one top-notch principal who was obviously ex-military, because his approach was... basic physical activity. Run laps, do pushups, jumping jacks, etc. If you couldn't cooperate in class or play nice on the playgroud, then you had too much energy to burn, so you got sent to burn it off. There were enough hyper kids that nobody ever had to do it alone... it was 2 or 5 or a dozen... it also settled some who were getting wound up, because they didn't want to be next. Our class would leave to go upstairs to the library, and... there would be 5 kids in the hallway with the principal, doing jumping jacks. WITH the principal. (he could have done it all day, or so it seemed to us kids... and he was OLD - literally OLD, as in about to retire)

    The trick is... you need to catch them BEFORE it escalates. Restless? go burn off steam. It shouldn't get as far as "fighting".
    And it needs to be done with, not to. Now, try to get buy-in on that from your nice director lady!
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    No, I believe we are each to do an individual protocol for each of the children.
    Thanks for all of your good insights and comments. I don't know what happened to the other boy - I suspect his mother may have come to take him home as presumably that's what the director wanted to ask when she rang us. I seriously think she feels being insolent to adults is so unacceptable that nothing, no condition or syndrome, excuses it. In any case, they told me J doesn't just play with the other hyperactive boy (where are the other two?? They have never before been mentioned...) but with all the boys who are active, of whom there are quite a few.
    Thing is, I'm really beginning to rethink this. I remembered that for about a year or more of J going to this centre they always said he was sweet, active but no particular problem... then this director appeared on the scene, then I told her about him being diagnosed ADHD and things have gone downhill since. I don't think the way things were handled on Wednesday was good and I feel quite angry about it. I did say to the director that J should not be punished for his hyperactivity and she looked at me rather uncomprehendingly... I don't know that having a protocol is going to do anything other than further stigmatise J. I'd rather rethink solutions for Wednesdays... in any case, apparently the school system is changing here and from September, there will be school on Wednesday mornings.
  9. garrison

    garrison New Member

    Last school year Mr. I. had a teacher that was sensitive to his unusual behavior. I wasn't experenced enough to catch it at first. I knew I was uneasy, but thought it was just me. After all they are professionals. Right? Wrong! Mr. I. spent a whole school year getting in trouble everyday. If he made noise she couldnt stand it. If he ran she couldnt stand it. If he played aggressivly she wanted me to pick him up. It was complete B.S. I ended up going to school everyday with him so his life wouldn't be turned upside down by changing classes. This year his teacher rocks! She gets it. Mr. I. has been in trouble 3 times all year. His self esteem is soaring and so are his grades.
    Follow your instints. If you think the princepal is not understnading, than for the sake of your child fix it. Talk to the teachers. Change schools, be rude, do what ever it takes to get your little love in a better situation. Right an action plan and be a snot about it. This is how we will handle it from now on kind of thing. Also I'd be finding the mom of the other boy and asking what she thinks. Good luck. Don't give up. Your right.
  10. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Lol, some cultural difference in play here because telling those in authority how things will happen just doesn't work out in France :) by the way, this is a one day a week play centre not a school - but thanks very much for your input and similar story, garrison!
    Actually this is much more to do with J's potential for oppositionality, I realise, than to do with the ADHD. The director gets very angry with him and he ups the stakes, gets even more insolent and intolerable, as a bid for power (with the insecurity that must lie behind that?) and control, trying to "win" - she then gets angrier and he gets worse. I think with J it is also his defensive way of expressing hurt about the rejection he feels behind the anger. I do feel angry with the way the incident was handled but to some extent I understand the director of the play centre because I've been there done that. Oppositional behaviour in small kids is very hard to deal with. Maybe I should be more forgiving and understanding of the staff there, really, especially since they have no specialist knowledge whatever - and at least are trying to get some from me and the psychiatrist. I have an appointment with the psychiatrist on Wednesday and I'll speak to her about it then...maybe she will have some good tips for me too for J's oppositional episodes...
  11. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    four hyperactive kids in this same play center? that is kind of incredible.

    the number one protocol in the states is "hands to yourselves". many, if not all, of our schools have a zero tolerance policy and would be reactive even in play.

    the number two protocol in schools is "no violence" or even an air of it. that also generally has a zero tolerance policy....there has been more than one ridiculous newsworthy case of a kindergardener using his finger as a play gun to "shoot" people, someone suspended for bringing a plastic knife to school to spread butter on their bread at lunch (weapon), drawing pictures of some known superhero who may in fact have a weapon (inappropriateness) and the infamous girl who forgot to take her finger nail clippers out of her purse and had them in school (weapon).

    no doubt some of our policies are completely over the top but for a myriad of reasons our mindset is better safe than sorry.

    so if it were me, i'd make hands/feet/elbows to yourself my top rule...even if its just all in good fun.

    and then work on getting the adults to figure out a way to redirect the rambunctiousness.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Boys are allowed to roughhouse in this neck of the woods and they do. Nobody says anything unless they get hurt. Then they will say, "OK, boys, times to settle down." If somebody slugs somebody on purpose totally different story, but lots of play fighting and roughhousing at our school, boys AND girls and nobody makes an issue out of it. I think there are differences between US school districts. Out here, we expect boys to be more rambunctious and since this is a small town with no violence and little crime, nobody blinks an eye about it. In fact, often the kids do talk back to the teachers without much blowback. Once Jumper was told to go to the principal and she said, "No because it's not fair. I didn't do it." My Jumper defends herself among teachers and friends. She isn't disrespectful in tone, but she will refuse to listen to things she thinks are unfair. She is a leader at school and teachers and the pricipal love her. Way different cultures, I guess.

    Back to J...

    I honestly can not believe that in France they expect total submission to authority. Many children are wired to question authority. Some children are sometimes not always respectful. SO WHAT????? I mean, it's teachable...these are little kids. I think they take J's behavior too seriously there. I think he is most of the time acting like a normal little boy. It is common for children of the same energy levels to be attracted to each other. Honestly, if Sonic had been in France, they probably would have put the poor little boy in jail...lolol. He was SO hyperactive ALL the time at J's age that they would have been replacing their eyeballs in their sockets. He was not disrespectful, but he didn't always listen either.

    I still love your little J. He is not far out of the mainstream in my opinion and is just behaving as his body tells him. Gentle hugs.
  13. Angela41

    Angela41 New Member

    My son was a very oppositional preschooler. It seemed like daily, I would get a report that he would be asked to stop doing something, and would go right on doing it until he had to be escorted to the office. Or worse, he would wind up and hit another kid. It was so stressful.

    One teacher in particular reminds me of your director- a nice person, but obviously frustrated and disgruntled my son's defiance.

    We dealt with it by having a meeting between me, his counselor, and the teachers. The counselor suggested a "simple-to-implement" sticker, that C could bring home if he had a good day. I would provide a small reward for the sticker (not the school). Like J, C responds better to a reward system and this didn't seem to be an inconvenience (certainly not more than his behavior).

    Well, the teacher that I mentioned argued against any individual system for my boy (would it make the other kids feel bad? would it be too difficult?). I decided then and there, to finish the year and move my son. It became obvious to me that the school just wasn't going to meet his needs, and his self-esteem was suffering.

    His next school did a sticker chart for all of the kids and C got in trouble only a fraction of the time that he did in the previous school. It wasn't perfect, there were still times when he appeared not to listen, but it let me isolate what was "C" and what was the escalating negativity between him and teachers.

    Now we have him in a very expensive (ughh!) private school with only nine students, a teacher and an assistant teacher. C is overstimulated by other kids, large groups of kids and in particular intense kids. All the kids in his current class get special "good listening" awards and a "thinking lap" (i.e. a walk around the playground at recess) if things aren't going well. C has been in trouble twice in six months of K.
  14. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Wow, thank goodness some sanity still reigns in the States, MWM :)
    Well, French children just would not answer back to adults in authority - or, rather, if they do, they are sharply and consistently corrected. Some would say that's a good thing (certainly those up in arms about how rude and uncouth many British youngsters are, for example). As always, maybe it's a question of a happy medium My downstairs neighbours, for example, are absolute fanatics and god knows what it is doing to their little girl - they scream and shout at her if she so much as raises her voice or don't do what they say immediately. But they're strange people generally and I don't know if they're typical. The thing is though... there's being naturally inquisitive and curious, having a personhood even though you are a child and... there's being rude. J sometimes is rude (less than he was though that could all be famous last words) and I don't like it. I don't expect a child to kowtow to me or not be a natural child but I do expect a level of mutual respect in the relationship. Well, I don't know if expect is the right word since I can expect it all I like with J, it is not always forthcoming... I do think a child speaking insolently to adults is a real worry, for themselves not least and their social relationships, their functioning as human beings. No one should speak insultingly to anybody. So I definitely think it must be addressed... even though I actually don't know how. Maybe it's the 64,000 dollar question for all parents of oppositional/difficult children, I don't know.
    I'm glad you like J (albeit from a distance :) ), MWM! I don't know exactly what he has going on (as you all know...) but he isn't really your average child. Sometimes he looks like one but... it's a bit of an illusion. He may not need to be described with labels other than hyperactive, which he clearly is, but he is an unusual personality, not your neuro-typical child. I'm grappling with acceptance of that - or, rather, I'm grappling with accepting the challenging rather than the delightful parts of that :)
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, Malika, I do like him. Let me show you how it is different here though.

    One day Jumper saw a few older kids beating up her friends sister out of the teacher's sight and she got involved and yelled at the little kids to leave her alone. One of her teachers saw this and called her out on it and said she can't get involved and she had to go to the principal's office (the principal loved her, partly because of how she is). I am paraphrasing what she said to the teacher. It even made ME blush!

    "Look, this has been going on for a very long time with that little girl and if YOU teachers did your jobs and stopped it, I wouldn't have to get involved, but if I see anyone picking on a younger child, I WILL get involved. And you want me to to see Mr. M? Fine! I have no problem with that and he'll agree with what I did." She went to see the principal Mr. M. and he was very approving of her involvement and did not punish her for telling off the teachers, who also seemed amused. She got into NO trouble. If anyone asked her teachers/principal/peers about Jumper they would say she is a leader, a great kid who is very caring, one who sometimes says it how it is too much, but a real plus to their school. Honest!!!! In the US, being insolent means the child is swearing at teachers or shouting at them or getting in their faces. All middle school and high school teachers expect challenges and Jumper tries very hard, does not get into any trouble at all outside of school, is a top athlete who is kind to the less popular kids and who fights for justice for all. I can only imagine her in France!!! YIKES!

    Being a teen, sometimes she is rude to me and I get very upset when she does and there are consequences, but I don't expect her to never disagree with me and to always be in a good mood and we can talk about it. Maybe in my neck of the woods, appearances are not so important???

    I have no doubt Jumper will make a great social worker, which is what she wants to be. I have no doubt she will be a law abiding citizen who makes good choices. I think others would agree with me. Maybe J will be a lawyer? (grin)
  16. buddy

    buddy New Member

    That sounds like fight of flight to me! He might just (as you have yourself said you have found out) match her tone appropriately if she showed appropriate tone (much as she did when he was happy to compromise when she sat by him and said he could watch the movie next week.) A truly oppositional child would have said something similar to F.....U...... in my mind anyway.

    I think you are absolutely right that it is defensive. Your guy is worried and panicked when in trouble and he either falls apart (flight) or acts up(fight). Hope she catches on as to what a role model she is....
  17. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    And me too, right, Buddy? :) Honestly, you have a way of presenting things that really opens thems out (for me anyway)... yes, of course, fight or flight is a much more useful way of looking at it. And more compassionate, of course.
  18. buddy

    buddy New Member

    OH Lord knows we are the number one role models. Q was playing too rough with JJ this morn after he had a tummy upset (would have been fine if that had not happened) and instead of please dont do that I said in a louder (not yelling) voice QUIN! Leave him alone! WELLLLLL, I then had twenty minutes of a very loud and rude child as I went about my business trying to correct my tone and use a good model. I totally heard my tone in his voice though he is much much louder. Little by little he matched my current tone and we are fine now. I even made him a great breakfast and he said it was the best he has ever eaten. I truly thought the day was going to stink with how ramped up he got....but happily I can say I had a good mommy moment and he did what is really pretty predictable for him when we adults are doing the right thing.

    You won't EVER find me judging you! LOL!!!
  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Malika, just thinking out loud here... wondering if the approach at the center should be slanted more toward the "adoptee/attachment" side of things, rather than the "hyperactive" label. Because it seems like that insecurity factor is the real trigger, not the "ADHD". If the leaders can see him as the insecure boy he is, and approach him differently, it would probably be the best answer.
  20. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    No, I'm afraid I can't give them yet another reason to think I'm coming up with excuses for J's unruly behaviour... downward smiley. They don't know that J is adopted - I don't think it's relevant for them to know, although the school does - and I don't think it's going to help him to tell them. Basically I'm not sure that explaining difference actually leads to more compassion and understanding; I fear it may sometimes create the opposite, here anywhere.
    Anyway, just now I'm feeling really tired with it all and plotting escape (even though escape is so illusory, I know). Fed up with the village and the constant observation and judgement, fed up with living in this glass bottle, fed up with the rigid school curriculum, fed up with... French! So buddhist training would say... how does that feel, how does fed-upness feel....? The problem is not the problem and yet... I do feel like instigating change. Fingers crossed... oh, fingers crossed!... my strange downstairs neighbours want to buy my house, if they can get the bank loan, and I then face decisions... about where to go, what to do.