They are fine at school...


Mom? What's a difficult child?
I was thinking about this topic the other day especially after going on a field trip with difficult child 1 and witnessing her lack of friends, anxiety, pure frustration when dealing with life!!! Her teacher in her pre-school is always saying she is fine, she seems fine, she is so happy, blah, blah, blah.

At this field trip NO-ONE noticed a thing... husband and I had to help her at least 4 times. Afterwards we asked each other what does she do when we are not around? I have witnessed little things like this in the school before as well.

I have read from lots of you that the teachers say your g'sfg are fine in school.

This made me wonder if some of these teachers have no clue what subtle issues would look like? As long as they are not raging, freaking out, causing a huge scene, everything is fine???
But do they notice the anxiety, the elevated moods, the shaking, the fear etc. The major issues that come out when they come home??? From trying to keep it together in school? I wonder if we sat in the classroom and observed them more and with the teachers ( without difficult child knowing) if we would be able to point out things that the teachers never noticed?
I have yet to enter public school, but I have witnessed this in our Waldorf and Montessori programs many times. Because our difficult child is usually smiling and changes mood quickly, they don't pay much attention to her unless she is causing a scene.

I don't know what I am saying, kind of rambling, I just wonder if some of the kids that they say are "fine" and are only "bad" at home, maybe are not. Maybe the teacher's just know what to look for? I also realize they can't just sit and observe 1 child all day... but I bet some teachers would see the kids a little differently if they were tuned in to the little subtle things. hmmm


Active Member
Totoro, my difficult child has a remarkable way of holding it together at school and then venting at home. In his early elementary years it wasn't uncommon for him to blow within a minute or two of getting into the van. Sometimes it was a direct result of something that occured during the day but othertimes it was just releasing the pent up steam from having to hold it together all day. Because I've seen him before, during, and after that transition I really don't fault the teachers. He can hide it well plus they have 24 other students in the class so it's unrealistic that they are going to be tuned in to how he's feeling every moment of the day like I would be at home. That level of attention would be possible with a 1:1 aide, but definitely not to be expected from a classroom teacher.

There were also many times that they did recognize something was up from his behaviors or facial expressions and offer redirection in the form of a classroom break, change in activity within the classroom, verbal exchange to try and work out what was bothering him, etc. Last year I remember his teacher catching me after school to let me know they'd had a looong and loud music assembly and that she could just see the overload he was dealing with. She'd offered him and out but he decided to stay with the class despite the assault.

My difficult child is in 4th grade now and these days I'm thinking that it's important to strike a balance. I would be very concerned if the teachers never noticed anything at all because that would suggest to me that they either weren't very in tune with my child or that the student to teacher ratio wasn't appropriate for my child's needs. There are times when it's very appropriate for a teacher to step in, but difficult child's do need the opportunity to learn to hold it together and to learn coping skills and that won't occur if an adult is stepping in every time they see them struggling. When they are emotionally up to the task, it's important to nudge them along and sometimes that means letting them struggle a bit. There have been times when a teacher has told me she'd seen my difficult child struggling over something but decided to give him a little time to see if he could work it out.


In my experience, they just don't notice the behavior. She does do much better at school, so you're right in that it is more subtle, but also the teachers just don't notice - even after it's been brought to their attention.

Example: When difficult child was in 3rd grade, she was in a classroom of 24 students and 2 teachers. Every morning when the kids got to school they had a paper to do. It was about 1/3 the size of a regular piece of paper and had some simple math problems and a language arts problem. They had 20-30 minutes to do this. 3-5 times a week this sheet came home with difficult child as homework because she hadn't completed it - so more often than not. Often she had done none of it or only one problem was done. I asked her teachers what she was doing during this time. I figured if she was being disruptive, I would have heard about it. Their answer? I don't know. Even her therapist was astounded by this. He asked, they don't notice her pencil isn't moving?


Mom? What's a difficult child?
I totally agree with you both-
I don't really want someone to step in all the time, but even to notice, would be nice. :smile:
I am not the pushy type of Mom I am learning to be a bit more assertive. I tend to think kids will figure it out. But I also think at times g'sfg obviously need help... I would assume this is why mine is most likely going to get an aid for K. I even worry about that, I want them to let her struggle a bit. Not rush in like you said SRL. But I don't want her lost in the system her first year either.

I was just wondering if soemtimes they miss little things that can build up to much bigger things?

I know they have big jobs and lots of kids... it is hard. I don't have the answer. Just lots of thoughts.


Active Member
My difficult child had an aide in K--turned out that he didn't need her and went on his own after first semester. I'd much rather it go that way than in reverse. A good aide won't hover 100% of the time--they'll learn to help when help is needed and step back when it's not.

One of the best tools we used in school was a home-school journal. If difficult child let me know there was an issue we addressed it through there as did the teacher from that end. Sometimes it was just informing me of an upcoming schedule change that might impact behavior at home since they rarely saw it there.


New Member
The neurologist told me yesterday that often times BiPolar (BP) kids are "little angels" at school where it relates to emotiona nd behavior.