Gym class

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    In France there is no school on Wednesday (another strange invention of the French :)) and I take him to gym class in the afternoon. The teacher is a gifted with youngsters, I would say, having just the right mix of friendliness and firmness (and teaching a gym class to 4 to 6 year olds is hardly the easiest of pedagogical assignments...)
    Anyways... The teacher accepts that during the parts where all the children sit down to watch a few of them performing the moves they have practised, my son continues to run around the room and play (I do too, I suppose, although of course I would prefer if he sat with all the other children; some things with hyperactivity you just have to accept). Then he started going on the big mat where the children were performing; the teacher told him to get off and he did not. This I find unacceptable... I went up to him and told him to come off at once... again he did not. So, feeling angry and uncomprehending of this defiance and naughtiness, I announced that I was leaving and did so... crying, he followed me (it was very near the end of the gym class anyway). In the car, I was cross and spoke to him in a very cross voice saying that this is not acceptable... He began crying as though very upset and saying "Stop talking in that cross voice!" Whether or not he has ADHD, whether or not he has ODD, he just has to respect certain rules... When I pointed this out to him, he said in a silly sing-song voice "If I don't want to, I don't want to!"... Eventually, when I said that I would not tolerate this behaviour and that if he did it again, I would take him straight out of the gym class and we would not go back, he said he would not do it again... But will he?
    Is there any point in trying to understand this "defiance"? As a child I would not have done this - not because I was scared of being punished but because I would not have wanted to annoy the group, to have stood out in this way... So I find it hard to "get" what this very annoying and provocative behaviour is about.
    I had left him in the class by himself and returned shortly before the end... as soon as he saw me he started acting up and being naughty, which often seems to happen.
    How does one get such children to respect and understand social rules???
  2. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    I don't think that they can, Malika. My boys will soon be 25 years old and they still don't "get it". They have to mature first. When they were 20 they still thought it was funny to refer to their friend named Seaman as "Sperm" and did so loudly and repeatedly, calling after him one day at the airport! They don't get embarrassed, just angry at my reaction and then direct their anger at me.

    When I was in France, day off was Thursday, when did that change?
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hmm, you don't hold out much hope... :) I guess one of my hopes has been that one day, don't know exactly when, J will be old enough to reason with and explain things... but if you are saying that this can't even happen in adulthood - bit of a grim outlook!!
  4. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    This is more common than a lot of parents like to admit. I know mine is more apt to act up when I'm present in certain situations, and so I leave (at least out of her sight).
  5. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes... So maybe the solution is to set J up in a house next door and just look in on him from time to time :) Seriously, though, I am concerned by the prospect that he doesn't mature, gain in reasonableness... I wonder whether I infantilise him a bit because he is so "sweet" much of the time... I am going to try talking to him in a more grown-up way, I think...
  6. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Why not set it up with the teacher that you'll try dropping him off and let him think that you're not staying. Hide where you can see him and observe to see if he's more likely to behave. My boys act worse if I'm there - it's rather insulting if you think about it! :groan:
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Miss KT was always worse when I was around, too. I'd drop her off, move the car to the other side of the building, and read.

    Malika, don't totally give up hope yet. Miss KT did improve, with time, though we still have a ways to go.
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks, KTMom! I'm not despairing just yet... But I think I get lulled into a false sense of security, in a way; if I am mindful and use the right "strategies" with J when he is with me, he is most of the time reasonably compliant and reasonably pleasant. I start "forgetting" that he is not completely like other children - and then I get upset, disappointed and frustrated when I see him acting up like that in public.
    I suppose it is odd that children are worse when their parents around... but then... I guess we are ALL worse with our "nearest and dearest", all let our hair down (not so attractively, always) with them in ways we don't with those we are less intimate with. So - maybe they learnt it from the grown-ups? :)
  9. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    And sometimes (not always, depends on the kid and situation, and this is all kids, not just difficult children) they don't want to be where they are and know that if they act up you will remove them from the place they don't want to be.
  10. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Having spent the morning accompanying J's class to the swimming pool (as there are only two teachers, they need volunteer parents to help in the pool), I can testify to the "opposite and equal" phenomenon that complements that of children acting up in front of their parents: parents being harder on their own children than others'! I had only gentle encouragement for all the tiny tots as they faltered around the swimming bars, etc, but when it came to J, I found myself being much brusquer and no-nonsense... Though perhaps the observation is complicated a little by the fact that J is that more robust and lively than the others... and so fearless and determined in the water that he keeps trying to swim by himself rather than bothering with all the tedious, slow exercises... Nonetheless, I was definitely more laid-back with his schoolmates!
  11. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Question on this subject: Is this acting up more when parents are around happening more when they're an only child? Being as they're generally not used to having to share parental attention and all.
  12. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I agree that it would be interesting to see if he behaved better if you were not there. Whenever I was part of an organization such as Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts where we had parents take turns taking a month, I could ALWAYS tell who the leader's child was for that month. It was ALWAYS the one acting up and disturbing the group! ALWAYS! I have learned from my kids that no matter how gentle another adult is in dealing with something, my kids always think that person is yelling at them and even though that person would be gentler than I would have been, my kids would dislike and avoid that person like the plague. So, even though we see the actions as just and gentle, the child sometimes sees it as the end result - they got in trouble and no matter how the adult present the fact, that adult is meaner than mom! :)

    Your little one is only 4 years old. When a parent shows up at the end of a class, Pre-K and Kindergarten kids often do get excited to see their parent. It is not uncommon for them to loose focus on what the teacher is saying to them.

    With you there, he also feels safe to do what he wants. He knows what to expect from you in ways of redirecting. He is not sure what the other adults will do but then you are there to protect him from anyone who would try to stop him (in his eyes).
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My granddaughter is in a 4 year old dance class. I normally stay in the class because it is the only room that is actually either heated or air conditioned in the building. The waiting room for parents is not so most of the rest of the year it is hot or cold. I have a problem regulating my temperature so the teacher allowed me to sit in a corner in the room. After about one class they got used to me sitting in the back reading a book. Now if more than I was in there the kids went to heck. I think it was because my granddaughter didnt pay me any attention and the other kids couldnt stay away from their moms.

    If their mothers were in the room, they were up and down, going over to mommy, always wanting mom to fix something on their outfits or their shoes...something. Mine never even looked at me until class was over. I might as well have been furniture.

    Some 4 year olds just act out worse when parents are around. I have seen it.

    I would let him go in and take the class alone and see how he does. Most teachers can actually handle the kids better without parents in the room. I know my dance teacher is really strict and takes no nonsense but the girls love her.