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6 yo Getting into Trouble at School

(23 Posts)
Beatrix22 Tue 27-Sep-16 12:53:55

Hi all

Bit of assistance required.

Adopted LO age 6 started in year 2. Started well but now getting into trouble (letting situations around her take her away from school work). Has been bullied and has bullied other children. Now being physical (kicking and digging nails in) to other children. Bright but not working to full potential which both us and teacher see. Teacher very good with her and LO had to visit deputy head for chat yesterday. LO has been honest enough with me to tell me she had been in trouble.
LO is very impulsive and excitable - anyway of calming that down?
Do I discuss it with her tonight when she comes home? Do I have to have a consequence even though school are dealing with it? Both school and us want to pay attention to her positive behaviours.
Any advice gratefully received.

crispandcheesesanwichplease Tue 27-Sep-16 13:35:56

Hi OP. Have an adopted DD myself. Stop me if you know this already but a significant number of adopted children have experienced emotional trauma in their early lives. Either through abuse, neglect or even separation from primary carers.

This often leaves them with difficulties regulating their emotional and social behaviour. They can be highly anxious, hyper-vigilant, defiant, and basically very hard to parent.

My daughter (who came to us at 18 months) was constantly in trouble for 'naughty' behaviour at school. She used to argue with teachers, fight boys, get into all kinds of difficult behaviour. She was very easily distracted and would face up to any dare the other kids put to her. However no-one listened to my concerns either at school parents' evenings or during looked after reviews.

When she was 6 we moved house and she had to move schools. Within 2 weeks of her moving to her new school I was called in and told she stood out like a sore thumb amongst her peers. I shared my long held concerns and school immediately got her involved in a nurture group where they worked constantly with her on different ways of managing her emotions/behaviour. This helped significantly and mirrored what I was trying to do at home.

Please see if your school can offer a nurture group and help her. I dread to think where our daughter would be now without that help. She is 12 now and although some issues persist she is a different kid. Happy, calm, got good friendships.

Also, have you read 'An unofficial guide to adoption' by Sally Donovan? She is an adopter and says it exactly how it is. Adopted kids have a whole different set of needs to other children. They are traumatised and anxious.

I'd also recommend googling attachment difficulties and adoption.

Do you have an adoption support worker?

fasparent Tue 27-Sep-16 13:42:42

Must work in conjunction with home school partnership both singing the same tune be Shure your DD Understands this situation.
See and Google Sensory Diets for school's may give you some idea's.
Kindest regards

RatherBeIndoors Tue 27-Sep-16 13:57:13

Perhaps share with the school if your child has a history of witnessing violence, as that may help them and you to develop some strategies to help her? If the teacher isn't already clued in to attachment needs, then perhaps a meeting to decide how pupil premium can be directed to support your child with their emotional needs and to build them security in the classroom? I'm probably projecting, but the not fulfilling her potential sounds like possibly easily distracted, which could mean hypervigilance? There will be lots of ways to help, but the school should contact the local virtual school for guidance and training, as it's vital they create an environment where your daughter feels safe, which should reduce these behaviours.

JustHappy3 Tue 27-Sep-16 13:57:35

flowers for you.
I'd compartmentalise into 2 things - the academic side including to some extent not paying attention (which i'd give low priority) and the behaviour side (which is the most important).
Ask school for help/input. Can you get CAMHS involvement? I'd throw everything at this - including doing the talking out loud thing of naming their emotions/possible reasons for doing x. Stuff like "It's hard when other kid does x - it can make you feel angry." Exploring other ways to let her emotions out - telling the teacher, fiddle toys etc. I've adopted but bc had some sn and i can't tell you how much we benefited from school help/camhs.
Immediate family were shocked and faintly embarassed that we took the sledgehammer approach but we have never regretted it. Don't be afraid of going all out for your traumatised child.

JustHappy3 Tue 27-Sep-16 13:59:49

Easily distracted is also an FAS trait - which can come out in yrs2/3/4. And the child can be bright. Don't want to alarm you but something else to have at back of your head along with adhd etc.

fasparent Tue 27-Sep-16 15:59:02

FAS is an umbrella term related too the many many conditions related too children with complex needs , most of these condition's would be treated with interventions, much the same as ADHD, with the exception of a different understanding and parenting skills.
These are available in module form for SEN teacher training if you want too know more pm me.

slkk Tue 27-Sep-16 22:57:26

My son has enormous problems at school and regularly attacks teachers etc. We found that the more he received consequences at home, the worse it got. We have tried all sorts but are now going with advice from a therapeutic parenting perspective - school deals with school behaviour. This goes against my instincts but life is so much better. We communicate closely with school and he knows we are disappointed with incidents, but there are no further consequences at home.
I have to make myself remember that the most important thing is his relationship and attachment to us and if disciplining him for school incidents is affecting that, then he won't start to heal as he needs to and things will never improve.
When we do talk about his behaviour, we talk about 'big feelings' and I tell him that we must work hard not to let our big feelings hurt other people.
It's really hard.

fasparent Wed 28-Sep-16 10:08:26

Quite agree a good school and home partnership is important, from experience all the children really loved school , and had talents would go the extra mile trying, many time's overdoing things, wanting too please , getting frustrated.
Only too vent their frustration at home mainly due too over load , getting the home and school balance right working together is quite often the simplest solution.
Our OT , speech therapist etc. divide there visits between school and home. mainly on an observation basis , recommendations come the week after , this way the child is not singled out also the group behaviour can be observed and addressed, School's sensory diets have been used in some situations , with good results.

Castasunder Thu 29-Sep-16 21:57:59

Fasparent- I would like to know more, how do I PM on the app?

fasparent Fri 30-Sep-16 09:04:24

Click on Message poster on fasparent tag

MintyLizzy9 Sat 01-Oct-16 13:52:54

Are the incidents happening during free play (break time)? If so it maybe that she is struggling with this 'freedom'. I've just read a very similar case study as part of some training, my DS is toddler so no hands on experience but others on the course had similar issues with their 6/7 year olds and agreed that it helped by cutting back that free time, so for example letting them have that first five or ten minutes playing out when things generally went smoothly are but then they come back in under the pretext of a special job (the case study suggested something like art monitor who collected all the felt tips etc and sorted them into colours to be put away) so the child felt special to have the responsibility (and gave the opportunity for some one on one time with the teacher to have little chats), gave an 'alibi' so they didn't stand out to their peers as not playing out because they are 'naughty' but also the act of sorting was also very grounding and helped them stay calm before the rest of the class returned and lessons resumed.

The message they delivered was as someone up thread said, let school manage school behaviour, no further punishments at home. By all mean if they bring it up talk through what happened but that the 'shame' they may feel shouldn't be carried on at home. I'm not explaining it very well I know, the concept being that our kids spend their early years feeling shame due to neglect/abuse and that can be the default feeling for them even when they have been in a nurturing home for a number of years.

Is the teacher on board with attachment? I was astounded to hear from some of the group the types of rewards systems being used in classrooms...just setting our kids up to fail.

All easier said than done though flowers

Italiangreyhound Sun 02-Oct-16 23:44:16

Beatrix22 I am sorry you are going through this and I hope it will get better.

I think you have had some great advice so far.

My ds is aged 6 and in year 2 as well, he has been with us two and a half years. May i ask roughly how long your little one has been with you. And if it is a while whether you saw this behaviour in foundation or Year 1, r if it is all knew?

My best advice is (in addition to all the good advice here), speak to your country council/local counsel for post adoption support, whether you little one has been with you for a short while or a long while, I would get assistance. I would ask about theraplay and see what else might be on offer. If you adopted from a different area from the one you live in (and it was within the last three years) you may need to speak to the area authority from the one you live in.

I agree that punishments fpr things done at school, should stay at school - certainly at this age and level.Although I would make opportunities for your child to talk about what has happened at school. The best way for this might be doing activities where you can sit or stand next to each other, doing something (gardening, painting, cooking, cake decorating, cleaning or arranging toys or models or whatever) and allow her to talk about her day. You talk about your day too. You might even (in a non-threatening way) ask her opinion on things and she may do the same.

Loud video games, TV, loud music etc will all distract from this and make it harder for you to talk together.

We have used a wonderful game called The Nurturing Game, it is expensive but really very good. It is designed to help kids discuss feelings and to express appropriate affection (a longing touch) and take turns etc.

Italiangreyhound Sun 02-Oct-16 23:48:41

Sorry I meant... I would ask about theraplay and see what else might be on offer. If you adopted from a different area from the one you live in (and it was within the last three years) you may need to speak to the area authority other than the one you live in the one your little one comes from but that support might still be delivered locally to where you are by agreement.

Italiangreyhound Sun 02-Oct-16 23:50:03

Sorry, TYPOS! not a longing touch, a loving touch!

Italiangreyhound Mon 03-Oct-16 00:59:15

I want to also say I really agree with JustHappy that I would also "compartmentalize into 2 things - the academic side including to some extent not paying attention (which I'd give low priority) and the behaviour side (which is the most important)."

I also wonder if the mention of " Bright but not working to full potential which both us and teacher see." might potentially reveal that you and the teacher (and your partner) are all thinking that this child can reach potentials in the short term that a non-adopted child can due to being bright. I'll unpack that a bit...

I do think that adopted children in the long term can reach their full potential both in terms of academic ability and just as people generally, going on to parent brilliantly, live their lives full of good things etc.

But in the short term (as in, within a few years of being removed from their birth family, placed in foster care, potentially continuing to see birth family, potentially living with more than one foster carer/fostering family, being placed in a new forever family by adoption) I think it could be very hard indeed for any child to reach their full academic potential, no matter how bright they are. So I worry a tiny bit that either the teacher does not realise the full potential of what has happened to this child (not the specific details but the degree to which the child may be finding things difficult), or you may not (sorry I don't mean that rudely just that if the child has appeared to settle in well, or was adopted very young people can sometimes feel that all is well), or both.

Our son is academically OK but he is emotionally quite difficult, prone to upset, crying etc. It has taken some sessions of theraplay for me to really realize he cannot help the way he is acting, he is just coping. His early experiences have affected the way his brain develops and I really hope and pray that in the long run he will be able to handle emotions 'normally', and not get so upset, but in the short term (two and a half years in) he simply cannot.

His academic abilities are a super plus but I know that school for him is a mixed place, a place of fun and joy, but a challenge.

I knew all this in my head, having had lots and lots of excellent prep classes and post adoption support into attachment and post adoption parenting classes. BUT it really has taken a long time for it to sink in and to realise that he cannot always control how he acts and that punishments and incentives do not work the same way they work with regular kids. Even having a quirky daughter with autistic tendancies did not really prepare me for this and although it is hard it is, I feel, best to be honest about what my son is capable of at this moment in time. It does not mean he won't go on to great things but at the moment his early expereinces still massively affect him, even if most people look at him and just see a very cute little boy who clearly fits well into our family, and who is very much loved.

I hope that makes sense and doesn't sound rude. And if you are more than two and a half years in I am not trying to tell you how to suck eggs, because a few months ago, before theraplay, I would have felt quite differently and not been able to see fully how much my son is still affected by his early experiences. And that is in-spite of being on these boards for about 5 years plus and having this message drummed into me by a lot of people!

It does not mean we need to 'just accept' the diffiuclt behaviour but I think it does mean we need to be more creative and guided by experts (not teachers) in how to handle it.

PoppyStellar Mon 03-Oct-16 15:02:37

It makes perfect sense Italian and you've explained it really well. That's pretty much the point I'm at. Thank you for articulating what's been whizzing round my head for a while and for helping me realise that I'm doing exactly the right thing for DD in getting some adoption specific support for us.

Sorry to hijack the thread OP

slkk Mon 03-Oct-16 22:27:53

Good luck with getting some post adoption support. I would love some of that. Have the theraplay sessions helped ds, Italian?

Italiangreyhound Mon 03-Oct-16 23:22:21

I think slkk they have primarily helped me, but yes, DS s benefiting too. Our council have been so very helpful and good. I know we have been very lucky.But I think it helps to be persistent! And I am!

slkk Tue 04-Oct-16 06:53:54

I've been reduced to making an official complaint. This is so unlike me. Just sad for ds.

Italiangreyhound Tue 04-Oct-16 22:33:47

Hopefully you will get somewhere now slkk.

Kitsandkids Fri 07-Oct-16 09:17:18

My now nearly 8 year old was horrendous at school in Year 1. He's not adopted but is with me long term. He came to me in Reception.

With him it seemed to be mainly that if he didn't care about the adult, he wouldn't behave for them. After a few wobbles early on he became quite attached to me and my husband and would behave quite well for us. Impulsive and easily distracted yes, but not chucking chairs around the room as he was at school. He had a real temper aged 6 and while we could calm him down quite easily at home, at school he just seemed to explode! He was moved class, he was sent to other classrooms, he was kept in at playtime, none of it made a difference. I think I've got a thread somewhere about his horrendous behaviour. If he couldn't have his way he'd cause havoc. He also hated work, and soon learned that if he refused to do it the teacher couldn't make him. So he got away with doing very little (which we only realised a few months into the year).

We changed schools for Year 2. Over the summer I got him used to doing independent 'work.' Just very simple worksheets that he found easy, but it was just to break the habit of him refusing to do work. He had a brilliant year. The odd wobble, but nothing like what he was previously. Fortunately his teacher was very strict (which he needs and thrives on) and he soon learned to work for her. The only time I got told about real bad behaviour during the year was an afternoon when a cover teacher was taking the class. So, again, he didn't have an attachment to him so thought he could do what he liked.

Touch wood, Year 3 seems to be going well. He seems to be learning that you behave for teachers. His bad temper, which I was really concerned about, has improved massively. Partly because he's maturing but possibly partly because I was consistent in not letting him get his own way when he was angry. So I didn't always let him win a game just because I knew he'd be angry if he lost. And little things that would set him off don't seem to any more. If he ever tripped a bit while walking, not even falling just stumbling, he used to shout and holler. Now if it happens he doesn't even mention it.

slkk Fri 07-Oct-16 17:41:46

That gives some hope thanks kits

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