Foul behaviour since starting school- normal or not?

(49 Posts)
olivo Thu 23-Sep-10 19:04:24

DD was 4 the week before she started reception. In past couple of weeks, her behaviour has been foul; cross, rude, screaming, throwing things. It is behaviour we havent seen much of before, although she had the usual 3 yo tantrums.

Is this a normal reaction to starting school or have we got a real problem on our hands? I am currently putting it down to tiredness, although she was used to doing full days at nursery. We are trying to be firm with her but we are already exhausted and her little sister is missing out on attention sad

Please tell me it's normal.....

fattybum Thu 23-Sep-10 19:07:29

I hope it's normal because this sounds similar to my ds1 who has also just started school! He has actually hit me (very gently) a couple of times since starting school and having big two year old tantrums!

He also seems really hyper, which is so irritating!

Let's hope it doesn't last...

onimolap Thu 23-Sep-10 19:13:05

It's normal!

Tiredness is probably a factor. Also, exposure to other children with other habits and mannerisms, which may be fine in those other children but become foul when yours tries them out. I would suggest that you do hold the line about the standards of behaviour you expect at home (all children become "bilingual" between parents/grown ups and the playground). But a gentle approach might be indicated until stamina increases.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 23-Sep-10 19:17:38

Oh yes.

My DD had some tantrums at the start of term, it was like having a toddler again. Caught between tiredness and hunger and just not knowing what to do with herself.

This was starting secondary school! grin

electra Thu 23-Sep-10 19:32:55

At just 4 she's very young for the school year. Have you had a chat with her teacher to see how she's settling in? That may shed some light.

It's also possible that one specific thing, say to do with lunch for example is bothering her and her way of expressing it is to get angry.

cat64 Thu 23-Sep-10 19:35:20

Message withdrawn

MollieO Thu 23-Sep-10 19:35:22

I have this at the start of every year with ds. He is now in yr 2 and I look back on the reception age tantrums with fond memories. We get those now with attitude.

olivo Thu 23-Sep-10 19:48:22

oh trust me, mollie, we have attitude too - I teach secondary and find a class of 30 teens have less at times!

thank you, it seems tis normal then. she loves school,a rough first week of tears but loads better. I do know she hates having to go to after school care, but we have no choice and have tried to play it down.

can't wait till near the end of term then hmm grin

MollieO Thu 23-Sep-10 20:25:03

I'm impressed. grin

We get "You can't make me" and "I don't care" complete with sneering facial expressions. I do think it is a glimpse into teenage years only with better hygiene at this age!

Jugglers Fri 24-Sep-10 19:06:14

I've had it all today - my DS started this term too - he's nearly 4.5.

Been told he wishes I wasn't his mum, that he wishes I wasn't alive and he's going to throw me in the dustbin, he hit me (hard) - the works.

I feel like shit, needless to say (and on top of this going through hell with DD who is 7) and feel like an utter failure as a parent.

They're at it again now while DH tries to put them to bed.

I can't wait till wine o'clock but am going to search MN for advice and help books

FattyArbuckel Fri 24-Sep-10 19:08:34

Normal but you have my sympathy

Starting school is very tiring and most poor behaviour stems from tiredness ime.

Early bedtime and no TV for 2 hours before bed may be helpful.

olivo Fri 24-Sep-10 20:13:01

put her to bed early last night as she was being really agressive and horrible. nearly 12 hrs sleep and what a difference! she was fab today. phew......grin

thereisalightanditnevergoesout Sun 26-Sep-10 19:20:31

We go it when DD started reception, then it calmed down. And now we have it again in Year 1 - oh joy. For me, picking my fights is definitely working - the meltdown can't continue if I don't react to it.

Ceebee74 Sun 26-Sep-10 19:25:25

Glad I found this thread - me and DH were just having the same conversation about DS1 who seems to have reverted back to a toddler grin

We have had full-on tantrums today for all sorts of minor reasons - he hasn't had tantrums like that for months and months. Although his tantrums now involve kicking anything in sight (including a wall this afternoon and he had no shoes on grin) and stomping away with his hands folded.

Me and DH have put it down to starting school and we may be right (the last time he was this bad was when DS2 was born a couple of years ago although DS1 was only 2.4 at the time so it was more 'normal' then iyswim).

Partyof52010 Sun 26-Sep-10 20:20:09

We had it all with DD last yr and again this yr starting yr1. Also be prepared for them coming home and trying out every phrase/word ever associated with toilet habits/bodily functions and thinking its hilarious and very naughty!

herbgarden Sun 26-Sep-10 20:45:32

Me too !! Another one here. Sounds entirely normal in our house. DH and I have spent most of the day exchanging glances with raised eyebrows. I've taken to ignoring the things which don't matter but when he gets really hysterical /naughty about something (like wanting own way when completely unreasonable) it's up to his room and he can't come out until he's calmed down. They stayed at in-laws last night as we were out and they (we have 2 year old too) were both hideous when we got them.

I err towards having as much down time as possible post school - putting to bed at 6.30 and trying to give plenty of cuddles when I can feel like things getting out of control. I find that more often than not that's what he's really after.

I work 2 days a week but have a childminder to do post school pick up - it's all quite calm at her house but I'm trying to leave work when I can just for now so that we can get home and get to bed in good time.

It's a bit wearing and a bit trying isn't it !

Mama2Monkeys Sun 26-Sep-10 21:46:15

So glad I found this thread. Thanks ceebee. I now realise that my DS 4yr is acting normally hmm. Although I still feel pants!

LadyBuzz Mon 27-Sep-10 14:01:23

Oh this thread has saved, DS1 seemed to coe home the first full week with homework and an attitude problem!

I even took him out for some 1 to 1 time on saturday and he was horrible, i could have throttled him grin

olivo Mon 27-Sep-10 19:58:48

thank you, it is kind of reassuring to know it is not just us. I thought everyone might say - oh no, no problem for us- grin

the only problem nwo is that the early beds are leading to early wake-ups! I just cant win!

My mum taught reception for years and years, and she told me that every single September she would have concerned parents queueing (sp?) up to ask what the hell was wrong with their DCs. And all because they are simply exhausted with all the new routine. Just keep everything else as simple as possible for a while - no playdates, chilled out weekends, and as many early nights as possible...

Same here too, DS is a late July baby and did his first full day today (last week was mornings and lunch). Today wasn't too bad as I had prepped by making soup for tea during the day so just had to heat up and could snuggle on the sofa with him watching beebies. DD (21 months) thoughtfully fell asleep on the school run too.

The worst day was one day last week when he paddied all the way home and I actually had to carry him/drag him. Not our finest hour! Early bedtimes all the way here, and he's not waking up until nearly 7am most mornings (in the hols it was more like 6am).

wearymum200 Mon 27-Sep-10 20:17:21

So how do you keep them asleep in the mornings? DS1 has just started reception and although he is not full-on horrible, he is defintely not his usual lovely self and I know he's exhausted, but he's still waking at 5 without fail (even on days when I've been late putting him to bed becuase got a bit stuck at work; I try to compensate with early bed when possible- 2DC asleep by 620 today, hurrah); and he's wrecked. It's a long time till half term.......

PoopyFingers Mon 27-Sep-10 21:10:37

Our DS1 (3.2) has just started nursery, and is in need of an exorcism at present blush. I also had to literally drag him kicking and screaming to nursery (100 yards from house) and then spent 30 minutes comforting him in a quiet room after he spent 15 minutes throwing himself around on the floor in the hallway (thankfully outside main play room).

I realise this will pass, but what on earth do we actually DO when he's doing this?

Went shopping this afternoon, and he had a mad meltdown in Debenhams, screaming and going berserk, again throwing himself backwards on the floor etc etc...

Sunday 8am he went insane as he had an itchy bum and only Daddy (sleeping) could sort it out. He was roaring for about 30 minutes, sobbing his heart out, hitting me etc... confused

Aside from staying calm etc etc (we do OK on this) what do we do to actually calm him, or stop him in his tracks?

It's too far gone for distraction.

herbgarden Mon 27-Sep-10 21:50:36

Poopyfingers - your DS is in the "threenager" stage unfortunately....we thought we'd come out the other side of that and then reception started !...

Same rules probably apply - lots of sleep and quite time until he gets used to it....

PoopyFingers Mon 27-Sep-10 21:54:24

Thanks Herbgarden - do we put him to bed early - or allow a lunchtime nap (thus running the risk of him running amok through the house until 11pm....)?

Is it just a matter of what scenario is more tolerable? He has had 2 major (hour long) tantrums today, and I do find it odd that they start so early in the morning as he sleeps very well (in our bed, nice and cosy for him, but buggering any chances of us resting hmm)

PoopyFingers Mon 27-Sep-10 21:58:45

Jugglers - loving "wine o'clock" grin

Must go to off licence tomorrow smile

Olihan Mon 27-Sep-10 22:03:05

I agree it is normal - ds1 did it at the start of YR, Y1 and now Y2 and DD has done the same with YR and Y1.

The extra explanation that someone told me of, in addition to the tiredness, is that they spend all their time at school putting lots of energy into being 'good'; sitting still, listening, following instructions, etc. So by the time they get home they all 'good behavioured' out and need to rebel, in a way.

That's definitely the case with ds1. I had a chat with his teacher a couple of times last year because I was in despair with his behaviour at home but she assured me was an absolute angel in class. I think he just needs some time to let go and release some of the built up mischief and energy that's in him.

I take sugar laden snacks to school now at pick up so we all survive the 20 minute walk home without too many incidents of the screaming variety grin.

DastardlyandSmugly Mon 27-Sep-10 22:19:00

We're also getting it here. Lot's of crying, screaming and just saying 'no' to everything. I can totally see that it might not just be tiredness but also a reaction to having to behave all day.

Mama2Monkeys Tue 28-Sep-10 21:25:10

I mentioned the other day that DS was a right mare over the weekend with very unusual intense bad behaviour. Well on Monday morn I had a quick word with his teacher to see if he has shown this at school. She was shocked and said he is lovely and not seen it. Anyhoo when I picked DS up at the end of school the teacher said "i have seen what you mean today and it shocked me as he is such a nice boy". Also that he even broke some posts inside a tent they had up shocksadblush and that he hasnt been listening. She was lovely about it all. As I was walking away I asked DS why he broke the tent and he had said basically another child wouldn't let him in so he got angry. So I took him back to his teacher and got him to apologise and told her I think he is acting like this out of frustration. Now I understand his behaviour even if it is wrong.

His teacher was lovely and explained to him that if he feels upset, angry or someone is just annoying him to tell her or one of the other ladies. Also that he needs an early night and to sit at the front of class so he can hear her (glue ear hmm) or tell her if he cant hear. Such a lovely lady. He went to bed at 7pm without watching TV no arguements smile.

Apparently he has been great today at school. Also not as "intense" at home. Oh and his missing trousers have returned smile. He went to bed just after 7pm tonight after reading his school book and paying attention. He loves his "reading corner" i have made him on his bed with his little lamp. But also maybe he paid attention because the book is about the jungle hmm.

Just thought I would say then realised I have gone on. Apologies.

Leish Mon 04-Oct-10 13:22:01

Thank God it's not just us going through this (almost all of the above!). Have been feeling really, really cr*p about this and have felt like crying. Good as gold at school, loving it and doing well making friends etc but at home we're getting explosive tantrums and rage.

Mine's also being exacerbated by the fact that he has to take an antihistamine about 5ish in the evening (which has always makes him hyper) and now it seems to be tipping him down ino the ravine of tantrum and loss of control. It's really distressing and I'm just not used to it as he has never been tantrummy - even at the age of tantrums he was a bit of a cool dude. I hardly recognise him sometimes at the moment!

At home it's manageable as he's getting used to taking him self upstairs to rant. But at the weekend he did it twice in public - at new school friend's birthday parties. It was excruitatingly embarrassing blush and on the second incident I nearly lost my rag angry, which is just the worst thing ever!

Roll on happier times I say.

twoflakesanight Mon 04-Oct-10 14:10:19

Oh my GOD I'm so glad I've found this - been so upset. My boy (4.5) is just a tight, rude ball of anger all day at the moment though his teachers had no idea, since he's charming at school, apparently and was even Star of the Week in his second week! Saves it all for me...

I knew he was tired but the anger seems disproportionate! He had his worst meltdown ever in the playground on the way home from school the other day in front of DS2's prospective new childminder who'd come along to meet them both since she'd be collecting DS1 from school. So humiliating; I was having to chase him and carry him, kicking and screaming in to his brother's buggy where he insisted on a dummy(!). There was a lot of 'he's not normally like this!'

Does anyone else feel like they're a bit young for all this? Part of me feels that I know he has to learn at some point that he's got to do things he doesn't like and stick at them etc etc but why so young? He was used to full-time nursery and loved it, so it's not so much the hours as the new routine and rules; 'sitting up nicely', assemblies etc. I wouldn't want to go so far as home schooling or withdrawing him from his peer group, but I feel like I'm handing him over to an institution that simply doesn't have the manpower/time to handle him as an individual, and he's having to learn to conform out of sheer necessity. Makes me feel sad!

twoflakesanight Mon 04-Oct-10 14:13:40

Oh loads of new posts bout the good behaviour at school and letting off steam at home. Course that's what it is - makes sense when I see other people writing it. Thank God for mumsnet!

Leish Mon 04-Oct-10 14:34:59

Twoflakes - you seem to have a carbon copy of my life! I tend to agree about the bit too young (my lad turned four in June). I might talk to the teacher about taking him out of school on a Wednesday to give him a break and for us to have our own time together (which is what he's used to). More and more I find myself thinking about it, but the thing that stops me is that I don't want him to feel different from all the other kids and also, he genuinely loves going to school. Lots of deep breathing, counting to 10 in my head and practising of my own sef-control is needed I reckon! Good luck x

twoflakesanight Mon 04-Oct-10 14:59:09

Well Leish your boy's 6 months younger than mine even - they're so little!

Before you talk to your teacher, I think she prob won't be able to advocate anything like that since it's all a legal requirement etc (though not until they're 5.5 or something), but I think they'll say if you're sending him now then you need to abide by the rules they all have to abide by - maybe not, but likely. Anyway, I was chatting to a mate who has 4 kids and she was saying she took one of her middle sons who was having a hard time at school, to 'cranial osteopathy' every fortnight, and gave a line about it taking hours to get there on the bus etc so she wouldn't be able to get him back in time for the afternoon. Anyway, she said that having that quality time together - going for a hot chocolate etc and chatting - made all the difference to him and let him know that she was supporting him and rewarding him for going every day when he didn't want to. Doesn't have to last forever, but if you have a 'valid' reason (could you use the antihistamine thing - regular clinic or check-ups?) then the school see it as an authorised absence and you can ease him in more slowly? Just a thought... I might do the same.

God luck too! Made all the difference seeing other people all saying the same thing!

nasu Mon 04-Oct-10 15:13:28

My DS2 has stopped going for poos since starting reception and it is driving me mad. He's just too tired to make any effort and had a couple of painful experiences after leaving it for too long and now in spite of laxatives we're on the 5th day with no result. I kept him at home because the thought of him needing a poo at school and then screaming with pain was too much to bear, but I don't want him to think withholding bowel movements will mean extra days at home. What to do??? Anyone with similar problems?

twoflakesanight Mon 04-Oct-10 19:24:12

Oh no, you poor thing - poo to add to the mix! My only experience of this is my niece, who's much younger (2.5) but has had big issues with pooing and letting it all out. I think her longest has been two weeks! Surely an emotional reaction to something? Apparently very common. Anyway, they bought a trampoline in the end, on someone's advice - one of those big ones with a net round to stop you falling out - and it's made all the difference. The gravity brings on a healthy urge... You need a big garden, obviously.

Good luck - that's a horrible problem to have but also totally normal, I imagine. I know another mum in reception whose son has been pooing himself a lot, completely out of the blue. Just a very...primal way of expressing yourself I s'pose.

verybusyspider Mon 04-Oct-10 21:04:21

oh poor you and ds - would he respond to bribary rewards? maybe a sticker chart to get him back on track?
Oh and ds1 never ever poo's anywhere but home, he's just started reception this year but we had a bout of conspation when he started nursery, he was better on potty (having feet on floor - something to 'push' against, plus his knees are up in more of a squat position) I have to say we resorted to a dvd on and a potty in the lounge blush just to get things moving. Like I say he was younger but might be worth a try to get him back on track.

PANCHEY Mon 04-Oct-10 21:05:17

I am very glad that I have seen this thread, my DD1 has turned into a mildly badly behaved child at the weekend (was good all week) to something else. I clock watched my way through the entire weekend, as she ignored and stomped her way through the weekend. The worst thing was she bit me....she has not done that since....well I can't actually remember.

She has this "I know best " attitude and I can't stand it. I have no idea how I am going to cope with this if it keeps up. She is driving me crazy.

We can't even say poor love full time at school since her school does half days all the way to Christmas.

Tgger Mon 04-Oct-10 22:57:16

Yes, I think they're too young. My son is only nursery age (4 in October). He's doing 2 full days nursery and 3 mornings at the primary school nursery class.

We do get similar kick back behaviour which I think is from trying so hard with the rules and lots of children and new activities etc.

Hard to know what's best as he also loves it and is thriving on it. I had thought of upping his full days gradually over the year (you pay for the extra sessions), but no way now, he's only just about coping with those 2.

Hopefully by next year he should be more ready for school as he's one of the older ones, but from some of these posts looks like the fun continues! I wonder if teachers could be trained differently to let the kids chill out/have a bit of of less "disciplined" time. I guess that would be mayhem!!!

nasu Tue 05-Oct-10 09:46:17

We're trying the sticker chart to get him back on track, and I have resolved not to feel guilty about keeping him home from school occasionally if I know he really needs to poo and is holding it in. Better chance he'll go if I have him at home and can keep him running and bouncing around! I talked to his teacher who was very understanding and could probably see me shaking with anxiety at the time. I also find I'm feeling very lonely now I've got no kids at home... time for another one, maybe...

Olihan Thu 07-Oct-10 16:00:02

Leish, our reception teacher is always more than happy for the children to have duvet days if they need to, especially at this time of year. She'll often 'suggest' (in a very subtle way) to parents that their child needs a day at home. I know a couple of the children in dd's class had a regular day or half day off until the spring term or later.

AFAIK, YR children's attendance doesn't count on the overall school statistics until the term after they turn 5.

It's definitely worth asking the teacher, especially as he's so young (dd is august born so I know how you feel!).

swissmiss Thu 07-Oct-10 16:08:45

bookmarking to go back and read. I need some help with this too.

only read the OP but you are not alone, I was starting to think I was before finding this thread. DD1 , 4.5, has become a right nasty piece of work after school. Attitude, temper, etc. etc. She's throwing a fit right now as I won't help her put her pants back on after going to the toilet.

Pernickety Thu 07-Oct-10 16:09:11

Normal in our household. DD1 spent a term being like this and calmed down after Christmas. I remember she fell asleep on the sofa once at 5pm and that was unheard of. DD2 is going through this now. She's delightful during school and for about 5 minutes after I pick her up then she becomes a little monster.

I'm hoping she'll follow in her sister's footsteps and be less like this after Christmas. I am also hoping she'll follow in ther sister's footsteps and start sleeping in until at least 7am. School stopped DD1's 6am wake-ups and I am so ready for DD2 to let us sleep beyond 6am too.

sharnbird Thu 07-Oct-10 17:27:29

Hi All - I am so relieved to read this, and have actually been crying reading some of your messages. My son who is normally quite easy to get along with and well behaved has turned into a complete monster. I would be here all day if I told you all of the things he has done since Sept, but the worst 3 are hitting my mom (she adores him as her first granchild), screaming the highest pitched, loudest scream ever from the classroom to home because I would not carry him. He kept trying to trip me up and I was trying to hold his little brothers hand (2.5 yrs) it was awful. Then today refused to pick 3 books at library and when the classroom assistant passed me 1 to take home and try he snatched it and threw it at her - horrendous!!! I am at my wits end. I had PND after my second son, and feel I am spiralling down that path again because I am struggling to control him. Helps so much to hear that it is not unusual behaviour. Thanks all for sharing X

Lifebeganat40 Tue 09-Oct-12 21:56:43

Wow, I'm not alone. Same here, took a lovely calm gentle DS to school on the first day and appear to have brought the wrong one home. I keep taking this dopleganger back to school but they keep insisting he is my DS. I suspect the keep the good ones to increase school rating.

Stopping DS having sugary pudding after school dinners (why is it okay to give an iced donut with school dinner but not put 1 block of chocolate in a packed lunch?) and feeding the second he steps out of the classroom door help a little bit. Teacher being very supportive and had a chat with whole class about being nice at home as well as in class and now gives stickers for ANY good feedback on DS behaviour at home.

Also tried; buying boxing gloves and punchbag (for DS not me although I may have a go too); doing a lot of ignoring, not going out much; taking away electronic toys (they seem to make DS mood worse); waiting for the tantrum to turn to tears then giving hugs and love; oh yes and wine o'clock when DS finally goes to sleep (put to bed at 7 won't go to sleep until 9).

In his calm, lucid moments DS askes me to tell his Teacher that he isn't going back which is heartbreaking and just so tempting.

Thanks everyone for making what we are going through seem normal. I hope it improves for you all. Sharnbird, hang on in there. x

babyjane67 Thu 11-Oct-12 14:17:36

my dd just turned4 the end of september so doesnt start school til next year,but her behaviour has changed big time in last few months!!
shes very stubborn,strong willed&will argue the toss with me over lots of things!!
shes my third dd(my other2are adults1with a chid of her own)but i dont remember them ever being as bad as she can be!!
she also hits me sometimes,though not hard&hits herself too which is bit more worrying!we use the naughty step but it can take her up to40mins to calm down&be quiet enough to do her4mins!that plus banging the stair gate or pulling the bottom shelf of our shoe cupboard right out onto floor(god knows how she had the strength to do it!!)
shes always had a stubborn or determined streak but not to the extent it is now.shes otherwise a very lovely little girl.
she goes to preschool all day on a mon since the new term plus also a tues&fri morn which shes done since january.she also goes to gymtots on a thurs which shes done for last18months&started swim lessons on same day4weeks thinking its maybe just tiredness but dont know if its anything more?
any ideas?

babyjane67 Thu 11-Oct-12 17:32:42


Lifebeganat40 Fri 16-Nov-12 17:13:03

Great news, DS suddenly stopped having temper tantrums just as the second half of term started. The only things we can attribute that to are, having the week of half term back at home and ONE session of cranial sacral therapy. Also have just found an interesting article on tantrums being linked to Cortisol released from the adrenal glands as a response to stress.

I hope your lovely kids are turning back into just that and if not that the above helps.

Hang on in there.

Kiwiinkits Mon 19-Nov-12 15:19:24

Poopy - have you checked for worms? v. common in 3 year olds.

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