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Advice/ideas on behaviour please

(15 Posts)
Bolloxonabike Tue 14-Jul-15 20:22:14

Hi, usually more of a lurker than a poster but, our DD is struggling with her behaviour at school. They operate a traffic light carrot and stick reward system culminating in a end of term "Celebration Day" if sufficient good days achieved. For the last 2 years DD has gradually improved term on term, initially missing the reward by a mile but culminating in this term blowing it in the last 5 days, not achieving a single good day after having averaged 4 out of 5 good days since half term. I suspect it is still her taking control by rejecting the opportunity of the carrot by failing on purpose iyswim, or if it might be something else but either way, before September I need to have a solution to the problem that the system is causing. Has anyone experienced similar, or have any ideas we can try? She responds reasonably to daily stickers, building to weekly rewards at home, but at school, she is among the few who spend the reward day with the Designated Teacher, as a failure. She is not. I think they will work with me but I need a solid approach. DD is 9, with us since she was 20 months. Thanks

Buster510 Tue 14-Jul-15 20:48:53

Our DS (when he was 4) sounded quite similar. This went on a few weeks.
His teacher changed his rewards slightly. As in he still got "house points" etc like all of the children, but instead of focussing on giving him "warnings" and the like. They just started primarily focusing on the positives, any positives. So even if he didn't act in a certain way / do a given task which would usually warrant a warning or no points, they were really homing in on the things he was doing well.
They also provided him with opportunities within smaller groups to learn as well as more structured activities in the form of "nurture".

He improved from then on. He was getting too many 'negatives' self fullfilling (at the time) his lack of confidence, as well as feeding into his thoughts that he couldn't do it anyway. Changing things to be more 'positive' albeit small things initially improved his confidence he then wanted to try harder in return.
I hope that makes sense. Perhaps you could speak with the school about their reward system?

Lweji Tue 14-Jul-15 20:50:33

What is the carrot?
Could she actually be avoiding it?
Is there any other reward for good behaviour?

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Tue 14-Jul-15 21:20:57

Frankly their reward system sucks....

Alljamissweet Tue 14-Jul-15 21:30:05

I am outraged for you!
Would it be worth you asking the school to speak with the virtual head for LAC's?
Asking them how they could review their reward system so there are no failures (that is truly offensive IMO).
Finally could you ask them how they could use the PPP to support your DD in her temporary behaviour struggles?
Stay strong xx

Italiangreyhound Tue 14-Jul-15 21:46:27

Bloody hell! I am with * CloserToFiftyThanTwenty* and Alljamissweet... what a crapola 'reward' system.

Buster has some great ideas.

Personally, I would say a class party should be for the whole class! And incentives of stickers or other 'treats' e.g. watching a short funny clip on line, getting to turn the lights on the class Christmas tree, choosing songs in the sing-a-long, brag bracelets or badges, or whatever, should be assigned to children for any small successes to ensure all kids get rewarded and get to feel special for doing any good specific things - rather than losing one big treat for making mistakes or for 'bad' behaviour after a lot of 'good' behaviour.

Try Googling 'classroom treats and incentives for good behaviour ' and see:

Or alternatively ask the school to think about it in a different way...

But whatever you do, please ask them to stop this abusive system of denying social inclusion to children who need it most!

Bolloxonabike Tue 14-Jul-15 21:53:07

Thanks all, Lweji, the carrot varies, anything from bringing games in from home to afternoons on the field with organised activities, bouncy castles etc. No other rewards unless she earns a Wicked Work award which is usually for a piece of work as the name suggests!
I may have been a bit strong with the use of the word failure, but that is her perception, and probably that of her peers. Does make me sad that the reward system is so predictable BUT it works for the majority, and in fairness, until crunch time, it has seemed to be working for DD. She just seems to blow it in the dying days. Very frustrating but I want to start next year with a plan! Buster, I will see if we can get them to focus more on the positives, thanks.

Bolloxonabike Tue 14-Jul-15 21:55:10

Cross post Italian - thanks, will do some research. The more informed and positive I am, the better the chance of change.

Lweji Tue 14-Jul-15 22:02:01

Does she have anxiety? Because it sounds like she either doesn't like Celebration Day and "fails" almost on purpose, or she gets so high strung thinking about whether she will make it or not that she is overcome.

I agree that Celebration Day should be for all.
Also, rewards should be fairly immediate and relate to short periods.

Could it be that she thinks that as she hasn't been "perfect" during the year, that she will fail anyway and stop trying in the last week?
I am asking this because DS, who is a good student, tends to get worried about things he fails at. He once got upset because I told him I'd get him something if he had Very Good at the key disciplines, which I knew he was going to get. But as he had only Good in the last test for each he was convinced he wasn't going to make it to Very Good in the final grade.

So, it might be worth encouraging her by pointing out that the occasional stick doesn't mean she won't get the final reward, and encouraging her that she is doing very well.

tethersend Tue 14-Jul-15 22:38:22

I agree with others, this is a terrible system. Apart from anything else, it isn't working.

The reward interval is way, way to long. If your DD has difficulty regulating her behaviour this will ensure that it is impossible for her to succeed. Add self sabotage for fear of failure into the mix and it's a disaster.

I would talk to the school and work out a system whereby your DD can earn rewards more frequently against targets she is certain to achieve- she needs a sustained period of experiencing success. It is essential that she takes part in whole class rewards at the end of term, the fact that she is being excluded and rejected in this way shows a fundamental lack of understanding on the part of the school- some of her PP money may be best used for staff training. The Virtual Head will be able to signpost appropriate training for them.

Kewcumber Tue 14-Jul-15 22:43:24

My DS is 9 and if his school had a similar reward/exclusion day he would be a nightmare. It would reinforce all his negative self images that we work so hard to remove and as he has executive processing problems he would be immediately set up to be shot down.

If you can't persuade the school to change the system then her achievements need to be measured differently. Smaller targets - so 10 half days and she has to get 6 of 10 good for example of depending on how difficult she finds it hourly sessions and she has to get 5/7 in a day to get a tick that day.

DS doesn't self sabotage I'm almost certain however towards the end of the year/term he is (like all of them) much tireder and what little control he has evaporates, also he worries about the transition to a new teacher although he covers it up well. This might all explain the deterioration as well as the possibility of sabotage for some other reason.

Kewcumber Tue 14-Jul-15 22:44:29

Cross posted with tethers who has some similar points

Italiangreyhound Wed 15-Jul-15 01:00:59

* Bolloxonabike* Re The more informed and positive I am, the better the chance of change. Definitely! The first temptation (of me!) is to go in all guns blazing. And that is not great! So do make a note of whatever they are doing right, and start with that (IMHO) and also acknowledge that they are trying to help and doing what they think is best.... but... that your child and many others do not respond well to this kind of thing.

And as tethersend says Apart from anything else, it isn't working.

abeandhalo Wed 15-Jul-15 09:02:39

Are there any elements of surprise regarding the Celebration Day? I'm wondering whether if she knew exactly what was going to happen, she might be less inclined to either deliberately sabotage or be so anxious about it that she is unable to control herself.

Bolloxonabike Wed 15-Jul-15 20:56:44

Thank you all. Honestly, I think I just wanted some reassurance that my dissatisfaction was justified - birth parent friends sometimes make the right noise, but sort of glaze over in a "no smoke without fire" way. Yes she can be challenging but her effort and progress deserves recognition. As an aside, abeandhalo, there are no surprises, details are given fairly early on so they know what they are aiming for. Onwards and upwards fair lady mumsnetters - thanks again.

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