Thank goodness this website is here

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by CLB4, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. CLB4

    CLB4 New Member

    I am so glad I found this website. I know this website is for parents, but after the day I've had, I need some help and fast. I am an administrator in a school district. My school is K-8 and I have several years of Early CHildhood expereince. I have a 5 year old student who displays many of the symptoms many of the posts describe. At times he is the sweetest little boy in the world, totally compliant and helpful. At the blink of an eye, usually when he is asked to do something he doesn't like, he changes into a screaming fit, with cursing, hitting and destroying of property. His teacher and I have come to an understanding that we will work with him to move through his behavioral problems, however, as I have been at my new school for about 2 months, a CST evaluation had already been started. It came back that he qualified for the classification of ED (A term I do not like, but the only class. that fit). His mother rejected the district's recommendation for placement. The school relationship was strained at best, however when I started, it began to improve. However, we went right back to square one today, since her son did not qualify for an outside agency which was her last hope. He was suspended for biting his teacher (he broke the skin and it bled). I would never presume that I am more overwhelmed than the mother, but what I am is at a toal loss as to what to do next. I am used to difficult preschool children, in fact I prided myself in helping teachers meet the challenge and create stategies and plans in which students would be successful in school. But this time, I am really stumped. Mom is at her limit. She screamed at me today, "MY SON IS NOT AN ANIMAL!" and all I could do was agree with her, he is not. SHe further stated that he doesn't have any of these problems at home and if the school would gets it act together, he'd be okay. Where do you go now? I feel like, she is now unable to hear me due to her frustration- did I mention, she and the teacher don't have a good or any relationship- , the teachers are doing what I ask and we are giving him the interventions and accomodations that are appropriate for an Early childhood student, and the child still meets with minimal success?

    Again, I know parents deal with it on an ongoing basis, and I just deal with it in school, and if I have overstepped my bounds by writing to this parent wesite, please forgive me. But if anyone has any tips with how to deal with mom, I am all ears. She is very frustrated, defensive and hurt. I fully understand why- it is heatbreaking to have to call her to tell her things like, he has hurt other students, his teacher, ran out of the building, etc. I am fully committed to his success but know feel like I am painted in a corner and don't know where to turn. I have a meeting with our SD Director of Special Education, I have convened a meeting with our social worker and counselors, and I am now investigating new techniques in trying to help him.

    Thanks for listening. I am open to any advice in dealing with this situation.
  2. barbie

    barbie MOM of 3

    Try talking to her outside of the school, outside where she doesnt feel like her son is being "victimized" Meet her outside that environment and voice your concerns, not in the "we think" In the I know your son is a caring, sweet child, but he has some issues with his behavior and his ability to adapt, and I would like to help you with this and work with you and him, if you let me. I swear to all the gods that if one person who cared enough to say that to me, I think I would break down and cry because it meant I had one person fighting with me, not against me. Someone helping, anyone, someone. A teacher who would tell me I want to help you with Eric, I want to get you the resources you need, I want to get you to specialist who can help you instead of look at you and nod. I want to help you get him the therapies he needs so he can grow and be even more amazing than he is now, be an even more awe-inspiring individual, and give you and he the support you need. Someone in the system who was on my side, what I wouldn't give.

    Thank you for writing, Im crying as I type, your concern in genuine and real and sincere and I applaud you. Thank you for being an educator who cares, even enough to ask such a question.
  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi CLB4. You're certainly welcome to post here, and I appreciate the fact that you've taken the time to dig further.

    So this kiddo is in kindergarten and has been assessed only by the school district, qualifies for an EBD label, and is receiving district services but mom has rejected IEP/suggested placement so he's in the regular classroom?

    I am sorry to say that I heard my good friend who is a junior high school teacher complain about the very same situation recently. It's a toughie because while there are certainly parents out there who will bend over backwards at helping their kids, there are others who aren't there yet, others who are just as inflexible--or more so--than their children, and parents at all points in between.

    One thing that can be helpful when the parents and school district don't agree is to bring in an outside consultant. I know you said that he didn't qualify for an outside agency but our school district often brings in someone (at their expense) when they're at a standoff with a parents. I was in situation with my difficult child when the school district wasn't trusting my assessment and handling of him at one point and I wasn't trusting their handling it. They brought in an Autism consultant to give an independent look at both sides as well as reassess him and it was very helpful all the way around. I know it's costly up front but actually it was a HUGE cost savings compared to what would have been racked up through the years had my difficult child continued where he was then. The consultant spent time in school but also spent time here in our home and with difficult child and myself so I felt more comfortable with that.

    Some parents also will be more inclined to listen to an outsider's medical opinion that their child has a particular disorder, as opposed to an educational label given by the district.

    Since you've been reading here, you'll already have discovered that we highly recommend Ross Greene's book The Explosive Child. There is a version for professional settings called "Treating The Explosive Child..". I haven't seen this version but I've heard from several parents here that it's more detailed and helpful.

    While I sincerely appreciate Barbie's compassionate suggestion, I'd highly advise against meeting outside of school with a mother who is screaming at you. For your own safety, keep it at school, and if possible, in public. You will also want to talk with the Special Education director about how to keep the child safe and minimize liability if the child is running out of the school.

    You are right in that it is very heartbreaking to get a contact from school. Many parents are doing everything they can but you're hands are somewhat tied if the parent is fighting your attempts to help the student.
  4. Lulu

    Lulu New Member

    Just wanted to say that I hope my children have caring people like you in their schools in the future. Keep up the good work. I don't mind in the least if you post here. It is interesting to read the other side of things.
  5. CLB4

    CLB4 New Member

    Thanks so much for all of your responses. Of course I went in today and talked to our SPED director. He was willing to talk to her and I contacted her to set up an appointment. Like Barbie, I thought of trying to talk to her on her own turf.. so she won't feel so defensive. I thought I'd give her another day and just give her a call to let her know that I'm not giving up on him or her. Today we (the teacher, SW and I) put our heads together to come up with more strategies that we hope will be successful. I just still feel like we are merely putting on bandaids when real intervention is needed. But I will continue and not give up. I try to live my life as I would want to be treated remembering that thankfully people stood by me despite my pushing them away. I just pray it works out in time for my sweet little student who I walked around the building for 30 minutes in 3 inch heels with today- my feet are still killing me! LOL

    Again thanks so much for your answering my post. It really means alot and reminds me why I became an educator.
  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Ouch--tomorrow you better wear tennis shoes! :treadmill:

    Seriously, my difficult child didn't need an aide, but one from another classroom came and gave him classroom breaks in the am and pm and those were incredibly helpful. She varied it: juice, snack, walk, playground, gym for running or scooter, hammock swing, Occupational Therapist (OT) room, etc. His primary issue was anxiety but it really helped to take the edge off.

    Hopefully someone will be able to get through to this mom. The whole process of admitting that something isn't right with your child is so difficult. I noticed issues prior to school starting and I don't know that I'd have initially taken it very well, although I'm sure I would have come around. Even when I knew the whole diagnostic and intervention team was working for his good, it felt so invasive (in the privacy sense), overwhelming, and threatening. It also forced me to take a real hard look at my parenting, myself, and my gene pool contribution. Yikes--what fun is that!?

    Please keep us posted and if you figure out any magic combination of strategies please do share. There's always room in our bag of tricks.
  7. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    CLB4, I have been that mother. It was horrible. I was defensive and sad and scared and at my wits end. Nothing I was doing was right and the school was calling me and emailing every day. We suffered...all of us (principal, vice-principal, counselor, teacher, sped teacher, peers, and most of all my SON!!!!), Finally......................................we called the superintendent and asked what could be done to help us. SURPRISE!!!!! No one had been willing to utilize the "social development" class that the school district had and we parents didn't even know it existed. Our son had belonged in that class loooong before he was put into it the last two months of the fifth grade (at a different campus). In TWO WEEKS he was a different child!!!!!!!!!! Why no one ever suggested it, I have no clue. My child is now in the sixth grade SD class and he LOVES it, I get no calls nor emails, he's making all B's and is a happy twelve-year-old. Despite their intentions, I doubt he'll ever be mainstreamed. His ADHD is so severe he can't do anything in a regular classroom. PLEASE if your school district has such a class, discuss it with his mother. SHE is suffering far more than you are...not to mention her precious little boy. Been there, done that.
  8. JulienSam

    JulienSam New Member


    First, Welcome!

    As a parent, I appreciate seeing posts from an educator -- it warms my heart to know that there are educators (esp. administrators) that are so concerned with their students.

    I can kind of relate to the mom in your case -- It's so defeating to pick up your child from school and EVERY time have to hear about that day's problem and sign an Incident Report. But my DS (5 yr old Sam) has a very loving teacher who is so patient with- him, and cares for him very much. Her support gets me through the bad news.

    It's too bad that the mom can't see that her child's problems in school could be related to something off with the child -- not the school. I'm preaching to the choir here, but it's so important to have that open communication to make sure school/parents are supporting each other in what they do for the child -- solutions won't work if not everyone's committed to the plan.

    I agree with- SRL -- sometimes it takes an outside voice to really get through to people. I hope your parent comes to see the light and changes her mind about receiving the help offered to her child -- getting him the help he needs now at a young age will surely make a huge impact on him down the road.

    Wish I had some better advice, but just know that there are parents who really appreciate teachers & administrators who sincerely care about our kids and want them to succeed as much as we do.


  9. Mom is at the beginning of a long and difficult journey. It will take awhile for her to accept her child's limitations, struggles and future. She will play the blame game for a while before she realizes that these are not really normal behaviors. Because he is still young, I'm sure she feels he will mature out of them. It might even take years. I work with an elementary EBD program and the parents will usually come around when the child is in 3rd grade. Even given my profession, it took me a couple of years to really accept my sons issues for what they were and not something he'd outgrow. Without the concrete testing that an ID or Learning Disability (LD) label comes with, an ED label has a stigma (even for you!) and is subjective (maybe it's the teacher, maybe it's the school, maybe it's maturity, maybe if I change his diet, maybe if I disciplined differently, maybe, maybe, maybe).

    Good luck, tread softly and whatever you do, don't play the blame game with her.
  10. barbie

    barbie MOM of 3

    I intially with Danae, was hesitant to seek a diagnosis for ADHD, just because of the stigma attached to it, until it became a problem, I asked her dr, he gave me one survery and the other for the teacher, they were both completed and he called me and said we have to talk. I went with her, he says yes she has ADHD, and I really dont want to put her on medication but I think she needs it. We started on Adderall and Danae is a different child, she is able to focus on things in her classroom, we got her report card yesterday she has made imporvement overall and instead of where she was below grade level, she moved up a reading class, and has improved socially.

    I was frustrated that I would get daily calls about Danae, I was argumentative. But eventually I could see that she was struggling and it wasnt about what I wanted, it was about her and what she needed to succeed.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome!!! It is wonderful to have an administrator join us!! I know it is hard to see a sweet little boy with so many problems. It also must be scary to know he may hurt other sweet (or not sweet) little kids, endanger himself by running out of the building, etc.....

    Thank you for caring enough to find us. And for not giving up on the child or the family. It is the entire family that is suffering, not just the child.

    Maybe the father is around? Would it be possible to meet with both parents? Or have the mom in and have coffee and cookies or fruit? Set it up as a chat, not so formal a meeting?

    What options does the district offer? I know we wanted a non-mainstreamed class for my son at one point and our SD did not offer one. It was very very difficult. When he had one later it was wonderful. Mostly because the teachers were amazing.

    I don't know what the outside agency offers, but is there a way to help find some of those benefits within the school?

    I think trying to be non-confrontational, and getting hte parents to see you are trying to work WITH them, rather than apart from them would help.

    You are on the right track. Others will come with more ideas.

  12. CLB4

    CLB4 New Member

    I'm back! You have no idea how encouraging it is to come here and read all of your ideas and feel your support. The past 3 days, we tried some other strategies which allowed him to get through his anger without fueling it to the point of him raging for 20 minutes. They worked! First, We gave him a space where when he began to feel anxious or upset he went there and with his teacher's help talked about what he wanted and why he was mad. The area is a quiet space, where he can go and remove himself from the hustle and bustle of the classroom. (I think that sometimes the classroom gets too overwhelming being a lively Kindergarten class and all) A few times he even moved to that area on his own, rejoining the group on his own after about 5 minutes or so. Other times, his teacher suggested it, but it was not met with the screaming, cursing, and other behaviors we usually got when we tried to curb his behaviors. I also suggested he not participate in one of his specials with a teacher who, how do I say this nicely, needs alot of work in coping with children of different abilities. We finally noticed that when he went to her class he would come back about 10 times worse. We substituted a therapy session during that time, where he is able to talk to our couselors but also go outside, play talk and learn some other strategies for trying to cope with his emotions. For the first time in along time, he had 3 concurrent days of no hitting, biting, or primal screaming. He did have a tantrum but nothing like before. I called mom and left her a message that we are trying some different techniques and I would like to talk to her about them. No response, but Monday is a new day, so I'll try again.

    Again, thanks for your support. I've been reading alot of books and articles as well as remaining positive. I am confident that we will uncover the best combination so that my student can thrive to the best of his abilities. As always, if any of you have any thoughts or suggestions, I'm all ears.
  13. LoneStar14

    LoneStar14 New Member


    I wish we had more of you! Blessings!!!
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Some suggestions - the mother has made a statement that she has no problems at home, therefore it is the school causing the problems. To a certain extent, she may have hit the nail on the head. Your observation, CLB4, that the new systems you have put in place are working, could well bear the mother's story out.

    The problem now becomes one of blame. And blame shouldn't come into this, but it going to be how the mother is thinking.

    School simply is different to home, in so many ways. You can't turn school into home. There appear to be factors in the school environment which are absent from the home environment, and it is likely that it is these factors which are causing the tip-over into bad behaviour. The mother needs to see (somehow) that you guys need help, that his behaviour is not normal, but this is not about blame. it's about the child's ability to deal with change and a more challenging (for him) environment.

    Some kids (a lot of kids) take to school like a duck to water, because it is more stimulating than home, they love the opportunity to learn and the enriched environment they find themselves in. But some kids find it all too much - the noise, the crowd, the push and shove, the need to do what everyone else is doing, when you're told to. A big problem for some kids is task-changing. I used to find with difficult child 3 - a worksheet would be handed out, it would take him some time to settle to do the task. Distractions were a big problem for him and he couldn't settle until other kids stopped fidgeting and all was quiet. By the time he was getting started, the teacher was almost ready to switch tasks to the next topic. difficult child 3 would be upset tat he hadn't had time to do his work, and with the new task - same problems, over again.

    I do feel you would benefit from a communication book, but this would require the mother's cooperation. Maybe if she felt she was in the driver's seat, at least a little, it would be enough to bring her round.

    A starting point - "You say he's fine at home - that is good to hear. Could you tell us about his home routine, so we can examine it and see how much we can incorporate into the routine at school? Perhaps if you and I sit down together and compare notes, we can find some answers, maybe a different approach, which can better help your son to make the transition from home to school."
    Telling her of good progress with the changes you have made could be good, also. If you also ask her opinion on the changes you have put in place and ask how it connects with how she manages him at home, then it could be the start of some positive communication.

    Another rather naughty idea - something we've observed for ourselves, when you begin using "Explosive Child" techniques on a difficult child, anybody who is not on the same page often has problems. So if you start using this at school and he finds school much freer and more amenable to his need to control aspects of his environment, then he may begin to break out with worse behaviour at home, saving his good behaviour for school. What will be her reaction then?

    A lot of us as parents find the child is worse at home. They try to hold it together at school, then when they come home to where they feel safe, they let it all out.

    A communication book needs to be informal, fairly regular, and needs cooperation from home and school. And it is important to write in GOOD stuff, too. A note saying, "He only had two meltdowns today, this is a great improvement," is still positive.

    What really opened my eyes to the problems difficult child 3 was having at school - we had transferred him to a school which invited parents in to help, in certain classes. We might read to the kids, or we might support the teacher in a class where he's handed out worksheets. I noticed difficult child 3 was distracted and not working, so I offered to stay away. The teacher said, "Oh, he's not reacting to your presence. He's always like that."
    I'm wondering if there is some way she can observe her child's behaviour in class, perhaps to quietly indicate to you situations where she handles him differently. Even observing him at play with other kids (if he has problems there too) can help her see that the school environment itself, something most kids can handle, is something he's just not settling into.

    Good luck with this one. It really sounds like she's in denial, in a big way. Until she personally has to face problems, she won't accept that he has a problem. It will always be someone else's fault, because otherwise she has to blame herself. But as I said before, it's not about blame. And it's so hard for some people to accept this.

    Thank you for being so caring. Do let us know how you get on. I'm glad your modifications have already made a positive difference.