9 year old sons behaviour at school - Dad at wits end!

(14 Posts)
sc00bynic Wed 23-Jan-13 16:48:13

Hello,

I'm not very good at asking for help, and I'm not a mum so I hope I don't upset anyone by posting.

Sons profile is: he's very happy all the time, has a lot of energy, healthy, popular, he's very polite but not in a shy way, he is confident for his age. He has a sharp mind and it's impossible to put one past him. He talks back to his mum and myself sometimes in a cheeky way but his behaviour at home is generally good. He has no violence in him and he respects his grandparents etc. Overall, he is a good natured person.

The "problem" started basically in primary 1. All the way through school, we have received reports of his unacceptable behaviour which can be summed up as:

1. Not paying attention and following instructions
2. Talking to others, meaning he does not complete his work and he disrupts others from completing theirs
3. Does not complete his work to an acceptable level due to inattention

Some years back during a parents evening, we decided that the teacher would start sending small daily reports home. These have been consistently poor and on the latest parents night, his current teacher said she is very worried about him as this has got no better throughout primary school and it's likely to impact his education increasingly as the years go on (esp. into high school).

He has so far kept up with all the class work, just, but some of the work we've seen on parents night has been very poor indeed. Like they've been asked to write a story based on a picture, and he has managed 1 poorly written sentence in a whole hour.

We have tried everything we can to effect this behaviour from home. For example, when he has a bad report for the day, he gets 10mins off his bedtime, good he gets 10mins added (and this accumulates each month). Bad report means extra homework, no TV and no xbox, good means extra story at bedtime.

As soon as he gets to school though, he forgets this whole system, he doesn't think about the consequences, it doesn't cross his mind. No matter what we do from here, once he gets to school it's talking talking talking and all the work he should be doing and any consequences he may face at home with a bad report are completely out of his mind.

I apologise that this is long, I have attempted to only include relevant information.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 23-Jan-13 16:50:24

I am no way an expert but have all the obvious things been checked?
Deafness
ADHD
Dyslexia etc?

Welcome to mumsnet! I hope we can help you smile

titchy Wed 23-Jan-13 16:57:06

What is he like if there are no distractions? Say if he is sat at the dining table in complete silence and told to write four sentences about wht he did at the weekend, can he do that? If he really can't, or still gets distracted, forgets what he's supposed to do, maybe consider ADHD? Dd's friend has this and similar personality - super happy, confident, bags I energy, doesn't stop, ever! Exhausti g to watch!

MarianForrester Wed 23-Jan-13 17:06:24

I think this sounds a bit different to just wilfulness- agree about the checks for the stuff mentioned above?

What about the school, class sizes, etc? Have you ever considered a move?

And I'd probably lay off the punishments/rewards at home for school stuff. Might seem just all too much and whole life about school. Relaxing, maybe with another activity might be another way to deal with it.

What's he like with other activities? Does he pay sport or anything, and can he sustain concentration there?

I am no expert btw smile

Ineedmorepatience Wed 23-Jan-13 17:30:26

It seems a little sad to me that you are punishing him for behaviour that has happened at school. I agree that you should support the school but reallynif he is not completing his work then the teacher needs to be looking at ways to help him focus I agree with the others who say there could be an underlying reason for why he is like he is and this needs looking into.

I would recommend going to see the class teacher again and asking him/her what strategies they are using currently or have tried in the past to keep him on task. If they have tried lots of things then I would ask if they have considered any special needs.

There are many reasons why children struggle at school but often when children are not doing well and their behaviour becomes a problem they are labelled naughty and the wrong strategies are used and the child continues to struggle.

Good lucksmile

sc00bynic Wed 23-Jan-13 17:41:02

Thankyou for the responses. To answer the questions:

A [self professed] expert at his school said he did not have ADHD nor was he dyslexic and I would concur.

Sitting at home at the dining room table, he can sit and write 4 sentences about his day if there are no distractions. He does his homework every night with fairly independently. He is a totally normal kid outside of school in my opinion. This problem is solely in the school environment with kids all around him and no Dad to keep him in check.

MarrianForrester you are spot on by saying it's a whole different life when he goes to school. The punishments at home change all the time as we don't know what else to do, we're just trying anything.

I am not hugely impressed by the school in many ways. For example, he has 1 teacher Mon-Wed and another Thur-Fri. However they both seem competent and this situation exist well prior to that arrangement. Class sizes are fairly standard, which is big, around 25,26,27 ish.

We have talked at length about moving him to another school (or the local private school) but my gut feeling is that this will not help.

happynewmind Wed 23-Jan-13 17:41:12

Apart from the notes home what are school doing to help?

I taught a similar boy, he just found the hustle and bustle of the classroom too distracting, he too was bright.

We had ed psychologist in, we had strategies to stop him being distracted, fidget toys, a table in a quieter area of classroom, sitting next to children who were not easily distracted, lots of reward and praise and golden time.

sc00bynic Wed 23-Jan-13 17:45:29

We have talked to the teachers and the headmistress on so many occasions about this. The tell us they are trying this and that, and always end up asking if we have any ideas.

As his behaviour at home is good, we really have no ideas for them.

Maybe we should demand more of them.

titchy Wed 23-Jan-13 18:10:36

You should demand more of them. I can't believe he's the only distract able 8 yo they've ever had. And I agree don't punish him for the school's apparent fAilings. Reward him when he does something on task though. And maybe check out other schools.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 23-Jan-13 18:10:57

A self professed expert is not good enough.

My own child is showing similar behaviours and although the school have had a guess at what's the issue they admit they it needs a professional assessment, they aren't trained to say he has or doesn't have an attention problem.

I had to go to the Dr to ask for a referral but i know some schools arrange them themselves.

MarianForrester Wed 23-Jan-13 19:05:32

If I were you, I would consider a move to another school. Might be worth going to see the options; state and private, and discussing the issues with them.

My dd was failing badly in her primary but has been transformed by a move to another, smaller, school. This was really against my better judgment initially, but has been a boon for us.

It is a terrible worry, so you have my sympathy!

Ineedmorepatience Wed 23-Jan-13 19:21:05

The only people qualified to tell you whether your ds has adhd or add are a developmental paediatrician, clinical psychologist, pyschiatrist!

Dyslexia can be diagnosed by other proffesionals trained in this area.

I would be looking for another school I think. They are failing your Ds sad

ellesabe Thu 24-Jan-13 19:40:41

I would be asking school what they are doing about it. And asking ds...what does he say about the whole thing?

Hassled Thu 24-Jan-13 19:43:54

When he's doing something he really cares about (Lego? Match Attack?) can he focus for longer periods?

I think you should push for an Educational Psychologist assessment - if the school won't refer him then I believe your GP can.

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