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To feel upset at schoolgate comments?

(108 Posts)
1979Liz Thu 17-Jan-13 23:37:38

I am feeling rather devastated by a comment made about my son by a grandparent at the schoolgate this week. I had just picked him up (he is in Reception), and as I called my son by his name, the grandfather, who was stood right next to me turned to his grandson and said rather loudly "Oh, (my son'a name), isn't he the naughty one?". He then looked directly at me. My face showed my shock, but I didn't respond I just smiled at him and walked away feeling utterly crushed.

Now I can't say my son is an angel. He has found it difficult to adapt to a more structured environment. He is bright and gets bored easily and can have a tendancy to get distracted and distract others. He is not aggressive and has never hurt another child in school ( though had a tooth knocked out in Dec when another child headbutted him in the face!), but I have been asked for a word twice this term as he has ignored his teacher and then because he emptied the sand tray with a friend all over the outdoor play area. These are the first issues I have been made aware of but obviously they may have made me a little sensitive over his behaviour.

I am really shocked that someone could be so unkind. I could have cried. I am now so concerned that my son has been labelled and that the parents could be telling their children that my son is naughty.

Do I need to get thicker skinned about this sort of thing or am I right to be upset and concerned?

Growlithe Fri 18-Jan-13 07:04:56

Oh well, I know I'll get flamed for this but here goes.

Some grandparents have a lovely little relationship with their grandchildren which makes them kind of a grown up friend who can listen to the child, and be completely on their side without having to be PC about it.

It reminds me a bit of my very dear FIL who sadly passed away last year. A couple of years ago my DD didn't like one of the TAs in her class. She was a nasty sarcastic woman, and I'm not saying that just because DD didn't like her. I had to be very diplomatic about it, but when this woman put herself in the stocks at the summer fair, DFIL made sure he got her good and wet and had a giggle with DD about it afterwards, like an overgrown schoolboy. DD had a good friend and confidant in him.

Maybe this grandad was similar. Maybe his DGS has told him about an incident or two, and he's on his side rather than yours. Or maybe he is just a rude old man.

KhallDrogo Fri 18-Jan-13 07:07:20

Yes, the grandfather was rude

But totally agree that you shouldn't make excuses about him being naughty because he 'is bright and gets bored'

It suggests that all the well behaved kids are like that because they are not so bright!

Work on his behaviour, don't make excuses

Girlinpearls Fri 18-Jan-13 07:08:14

Just remember that it is possible to 'rein in' a spirited child but much more difficult to get a personality out of a flat child. Which sort of child would you rather have?

Branleuse Fri 18-Jan-13 07:12:34

I love that girlinpearls :D

EmmaBemma Fri 18-Jan-13 07:18:34

what on earth is a "flat child"?!

ChristmasJubilee Fri 18-Jan-13 07:20:08

Ds3 (6) keeps me well informed of the behaviour of all the children in his class. I know every child with a yellow or red card each week (and it's usually the same ones). Ds3, of course, has never had one in his entire school career.

Ds1 never mentioned these things as he was always the one with the red card or "on the black cloud" as they used to call it. I'm sure all the other parents new that he was the naughty one.

The Grandfather was rude but, I wonder if there may be more to it. Could there have been any sort of incident between his grandchild and your son? The "naughtiest" boy in ds3's class has form for pushing and hitting other children. He pushed ds so hard that he fell over backwards hitting his head on the ground. The school didn't name the culprit but ds did. I think you should speak to his teacher, tell her what happened and see if he is beginning to settle down or if they have any other concerns.

ChristmasJubilee Fri 18-Jan-13 07:22:36

Oh, and both ds1 and ds3 are "bright and get bored easily". So that's not an excuse.

seeker Fri 18-Jan-13 07:27:45

Hmm. Is it possible that his grandchild had fallen foul of yours and he as grabbing thenopportunity to make sure you knew? Because it does sound a bit as if your child might be quite a difficult class mate to be honest.

And do be really careful about the "he's bright so he gets bored easily" mindset. How about "he's bright so he can understand about appropriate behaviour better than some of the others"?

EugenesAxe Fri 18-Jan-13 07:36:27

I agree with Fellatio too, really. I don't think 'bright & bored easily' helps you much... unless you were talking about a two year old or something. I know enough bright (and in my friend's DD's case, exceptionally bright) children that by three years have a) learned to deal with boredom to a degree and b) known the difference between right and wrong.

Also agree that the grandfather is a prat; he should know better, despite being of the 'nothing a good hiding wouldn't cure' generation.

bigbuttons Fri 18-Jan-13 07:39:33

My kids are bright and easily bored, they are not naughty. What sort of crap reasoning is that? You need to get a handle on you ds's behaviour. All this woo woo stuff about free bloody spirits. Be a free spirit if it doesn't impinge on any one else.

Kids are labeled naughty if they are naughty. Not nice for you to hear, but shouldn't be a total surprise since you have already been called in twice. I suggest you do something about your son's negative behaviour and hopefully he won't be seen as the naughty one in the long term.

When you see him again, look him in the eye and say "I imagine you were quite the playground bully in your day". If he comes back with a comment about your son, say, "yes, I am aware of the situation and am addressing it. I certainly hope by the time he reaches your age he'll have got the hang of it"

KhallDrogo Fri 18-Jan-13 07:42:19

He might have meant it in an endearing way. My dad loves the 'naughty' kids amongst my dcs friends! They are much more fun! smile

1979Liz Fri 18-Jan-13 07:44:13

Thanks for all you responses, helping to get situation into perspective.

We are most definitely concerned with and dealing with the behaviour, asking for daily feedback from his teachers. He has had a few days of exceptional behaviour since the incidents.

I am going to have to toughen up. It is just a shock to find ourselves so suddenly in this position after such a positive parents consultation and no negative feedback last term.

Didn't wish to offend wiyh the 'excuse' for his behaviour. This was the feedback given by the teachers and most definitely not something I have shared with other Mums.

Thanks for all your views!
Xx

CloudsAndTrees Fri 18-Jan-13 07:52:02

Children themselves give labels to other children vey quickly ime, especially when it comes to 'the naughty one'. It's because they are right there to see and hear what goes on, all the tellings off etc, and they draw their own conclusions because they are only four and five and discipline is usually a fairly big feature in their lives.

The man was rude, but I very much doubt it was intended that you hear the comment and get upset.

This doesn't mean you are going to have problems at school forever, your ds is still very small. I'd go with the thicker skin development, and stay off the 'bright so gets bored' comments when talking to other parents.

Tailtwister Fri 18-Jan-13 07:58:26

YANBU to feel upset OP, that man was very rude. It never ceases to amaze me how readily other parents criticise and label other people's children who they hardly know. We've never been on the receiving end (so far!), but I had to walk away from a couple of parents who were talking nastily about a child in DS's class recently.

He's only in reception and of course there will be blips in behaviour here and there. That is for his teacher and his parents to address, not for other parents to comment on.

ShowOfHands Fri 18-Jan-13 07:58:33

Oh there are so many issues here. It's a common mistake to excuse incorrect choices in your own child as 'spirited' or 'bright but bored'. Truly bright children are ime quite self motivating and if a child is bored in reception then there's something wrong at school (I accept that occasionally this is the case) and if you genuinely believe that then you've got quite a battle on your hands and not with a potentially rude grandad in the playground. They are flat out busy/engaged/playing all the time. If you are prone to excusing the behaviour as coming from a good place and somehow blaming the school (they aren't challenging him, he's bored, easily distracted), then you're more likely to see people forming an opinion about your son's behaviour than if you challenge it for what it is. Bad behaviour is rarely about being bright (all children are bright actually in some way or another, they're really quite astonishing) and in reception more to do with just finding their way. Your job is to help him with this alongside the teachers, not excuse him.

There is a child in dd's class who could probably be called 'the naughty one', in that the rest of the class I'm afraid do come home with tales of 'x did y to z' where x is always the same boy. And the methods of managing his behaviour are very visible to them. His name is on the board or he's excluded from certain privileges. Children will talk about this, loudly and without thought. His Mum's main concern is helping her ds and she does worry a lot about how her ds is perceived but she is working hard and going about it in the right way. She is the first to come over to you and talk if there's an issue. She doesn't excuse her son. He isn't bright or bored or spirited. He's making the wrong choices and she is frank about this and clear about trying to change it and make amends. Nobody but nobody judges her or her ds and in fact, people are trying flipping hard to include her ds positively and encourage friendships with him so that he doesn't become isolated or labeled. I very much admire her. On the other hand there is a little girl in dd's class who has the potential to be a bit manipulative and unkind on occasion. Her Mum will not have it. Her dd is bright, bored, misunderstood, blamed, picked on etc. Her dd is never made to apologise, never confronted about her behaviour. And I'm talking about clear wrong choices where she's kicked another child in the shin at a party because she didn't win pass the parcel. Her mother's resolution to this was to ask the child who had won if she would share the prize with her dd 'like a good girl'.

It's really hard to hear somebody say negative things about your dc and who knows where it came from. I agree that it could be conspiratorial (my Dad is the same with dd, he's her biggest ally in a very big and brilliant way), it could be ill thought out, it could be sour grapes over an incident you're not aware of. DD was quite badly hurt (bleeding eye, looked bad) by the school 'naughty boy' and I was diplomatic. Her grandparents reacted by fighting the urge to tell her to 'hit him back'. All they saw was their grandaughter bruised and bloody and they wanted to stick up for her and there was some instinct in them to do this by denigrating the child at fault. Thankfully, they know I don't condone this but I can see why they react that way.

I am sorry you were upset. It is tough seeing your child out there in the big world, making mistakes, finding their way and sometimes getting it wrong. It's likely that tomorrow it will be another child or another issue. That's they way with primary school. All you can do is try and guide your dc to make better choices.

And 'flat' child? <snort> Oh yes little Johnny only tortures the other children because he's so much more interesting than they are.

Samnella Fri 18-Jan-13 07:59:14

YANBU.

My DC tell me who the children tell me who the naughty ones are but Luke most adult I take it with a pinch if salt. There are many adults who believe everything their children say and get too involved in their friendships. Normally the same ones who can also never see when their children are doing wrong. This old man is just one of those people. Ignore.

Molepom Fri 18-Jan-13 08:12:28

Ignore the kids and ignore the parents is my advice.

If something has happened the teacher will tell you, and it nearly always delt with by the school before the day is out anyway.

Branleuse Fri 18-Jan-13 08:25:04

its a reception kid ffs. what is he? 4? Its a baby. Loads of them are still learning how to sit down and listen especially little boys.

Hullygully Fri 18-Jan-13 08:36:43

<waves to showy>

I spent a few years in classrooms with reception and up children, and it seemed to me that the "naughty" ones, not the spiteful/bullying ones who were a whole other case <glares at their parents>, were simply not ready for school, they didn't want to sit on the mat, or pursue a specific activity, or sing nicely, or do PE and they didn't "get" why they had to or what the point was, but of course also lacked the maturity and articulateness to say so.They were just not engaged with the process.

But there are thirty kids in each class, one teacher and if you're lucky one TA, so they do all have to fit the mould and co-operate.

Have you talked about it with him, rather than just saying, be "good" (very abstract), or do what the teacher says? What about, In school you have to do this this and this, I know sometimes it's a bit boring, but hey that's life. After school we'll go to the playground etc. Some kids like honesty that reflects their real experiences.

And I agree, don't tell people he's bright and bored!

WhereAreMyWellies Fri 18-Jan-13 09:35:31

Why is it that so many parents use 'he's bright and he gets bored?' as an excuse for bad behaviour? It's yawnsome.

A truly bright child is mature beyond their years and generally well behaved

Growlithe Fri 18-Jan-13 09:37:26

I would worry about the school/teacher if a child is showing signs of being bored in Reception. Reception IME has been full of fun, stimulation and exciting play for my DCs.

I agree with what you are saying Hully but I would possibly not say to the child 'I know it's sometimes boring' but rather 'If you're not being silly on the carpet you can join all your friends having loads of fun with the teacher'.

WorraLiberty Fri 18-Jan-13 09:46:41

I'm laughing at whoever called the grandad a silly 'old' man grin

Some of the reception grandparents at my DS's school are only just turning 40.

OP, It can't have been nice to hear but I really wouldn't get stressed about it. They're 4 and 5yrs old...they're all naughty at times and it's not necessarily any reflection on how they'll behave for the rest of their school years.

Just keep a handle on it, don't make excuses and work closely with the school.

Which is what every parent should be doing anyway.

And remember your child won't be the only 'naughty' child in the class. My kids used to come home with daily reports about a different child every day.

Never themselves for some reason wink

CloudsAndTrees Fri 18-Jan-13 09:51:24

I agree Welly. In my experience of reception children, the brightest ones are not at all disruptive.

That's not to say that ones that are disruptive are not bright, I'm sure they can be, but being bright is not a reason or an explanation for bad behaviour.

I find it hard to believe that a school would use the 'bright so gets bored' to explain a disruptive pupil. It's basically admitting that their class room and teaching isn't stimulating enough and therefore they are doing very badly at their job.

Growlithe Fri 18-Jan-13 09:58:07

Worra I have to believe that Grandad is an old man because I am 44 and have a DC in reception and if all the grandads are the same age as me that would make me a weird nan mum and I'm not having that. grin

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