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To have cancelled my son's 6th birthday party

(315 Posts)
MumtoJacob Thu 26-Sep-13 16:49:28

I think I have done the right thing, but I feel truly awful. I have cancelled my son's 6th birthday party because of discraceful behaviour both at home and at school. I have had his teacher talk to me four times already this term, twice this week, about his attitude. When he is corrected for misbehaving, he is rude and disrespectful to his teachers. He has told them he doesn't care if he is in trouble and he is so defiant.

He is really out of control at the moment and has been warned many times that he will not have his party if it continues. We have never had a party for him before as they are so expensive, and had said both children could have one on their 6th birthdays. He has looked forward to it for a long time, but the threat of cancelling hasn't made a difference to his behaviour. Nor have the rewards and praise for his good behaviour on good days and his treats for earning house points or other positive achievements.

He doesn't know yet. I am waiting for his Dad to get home so we can sit him down and talk through why we have had to cancel it. AIBU to cancel the party? sad

PeterParkerSays Fri 27-Sep-13 10:27:58

When he behaves badly in a social situation, such as with you rather than at school, relate it back to the party:

You said that I was an idiot and you wanted to kill me. You threw your bags at me, you threw rubbish at me, bottles off the floor, whilst shouting all the way. We have talked about you having a party at Bob's soft play for your birthday. If you went to someone's birthday party, and they shouted at you, or threw bottles at you, would you want to be their friend? Would you want to stay at the party?

Focus on the behaviour, not the child - so they might want to leave the party, not stop being friends with him. It sounds odd, but could you have something to give him to signify his emotions? When I hold this red plastic spoon I am angry, when I hold this blue one I am sad etc? It would give him a non-physical means of expressing his emotions and feelings, and give you chance to praise him when he does that.

Others have mentioned the "talk so children will listen" book, which has some good techniques for the next step - how you handle the conversation with the "child with the spoon" to find out why he's feeling what he is.

cjel Fri 27-Sep-13 10:32:06

Just read one of your posts in which you said his teachers said he is coping well with structured part of school. I have generations of dyslexics in my family including MIL H,dcs,dgcs, nephews etc and would say that teachers (sorry teachers) don't have a clue about recognising it unless it shows as bad reading and writing. They are usually very clever people who find ways of coping and because of this it is hard to diagnose without full assessment by educational physcologist.
Luckily for my family we have learned to watch and get it sorted before it shows in extreeme behaviour, but it is a battle all the way including the education secretary to allow some to drop all languages at school. It is very common for schools to look to' problems at home' first and our experience (through all parts of the country)has been to get private testing and out of school teaching is the only way. I think he is probably on the age edge for testing yet though.

ToffeeWhirl Fri 27-Sep-13 10:37:32

My son was diagnosed as dyslexic at six, cjel, so it can be done. Turned out to be an incorrect diagnosis, mind you, but it was the beginning of the 'pathway of diagnosis' for us.

pigletmania Fri 27-Sep-13 10:43:45

Look mumto. There is nothing wrong with seeking help, it looks like you need it! Seeking help will not harm but probably improve things. Isent that what you want. If you think he is on the spectrum, don't just sit teir doing nothing, you have to seek help. In the long run you are doing your ds no favours by ignoring it, if he does have a sn that could be helped!

MerryMarigold Fri 27-Sep-13 10:46:57

YABU. I'm pretty harsh and I wouldn't do this.

If punishments are not working, what makes you think this will?

Something is up imo. Kids generally behave badly because of:
a. Poor boundaries
b. Something is making them unhappy

Perhaps he is struggling academically or being bullied, or has a genuine problem like dyslexia/ dyspraxia/ adhd which can make being at school very difficult and comes out in frustration/ anger/ rudeness.

MerryMarigold Fri 27-Sep-13 10:48:54

PS. My son was uncharacteristically difficult in Reception. Turned out there was A LOT going on. Threats and punishments like this would have made his life even more miserable.

MerryMarigold Fri 27-Sep-13 10:51:52

Sorry for multi-posting.

I would re-instate the party and explain why. Then talk to him about how he is feeling. A lot. Plus the advice on a good chat about behaviour at the party. Things may start coming out, you will have to read between the lines quite a bit too.

Mooycow Fri 27-Sep-13 10:56:30

I am a great believer in following through with a warning/ consequence. However if this punishment does not sit right with you then maybe it was a little harsh.
Make it an achievable punishment on a daily basis,ie, if you do not behave at school today then no tv/games/computer etc tonight. Also make a big deal out of all the positives DAILY ,remember he is only 6

pigletmania Fri 27-Sep-13 11:06:36

I would follow through, but if his behaviour does improve he can have te party. If it continues, tan no party. I would also sit down talk to him, find out if teir s anything happening at school, seeking help if you believe he's on the spectrum

YouHaveAGoodPoint Fri 27-Sep-13 12:10:10

My kids were raised by my husband and I AND our Nintendo blush.
I allowed them to play for a hour a day from quite a young age. They absolutely loved it and would do anything to maintain the 'privilege' of being allowed to play.
If they were naughty I would, after the appropriate warning, ban them for playing for a day and if they continued I would increase the amount of days.
It was such a powerful motivation for them that it really helped them focus their minds.

I used to set a timer for 55 minutes when they stared to play so that they had a 5 minute warning before they had to finish. If they then complained when it was time to turn the computer off it was an automatic ban for the next day and any further complaining would result in a week ban. It was harsh but they were good as gold grin

I quite often let them earn back any lost time by chores or good behaviour

I know this would not work for every family and that a lot of people hate the idea of letting young kids play computer everyday but it really worked for our boys AND our girls. You have to work out what motivates your child.

I did also use the naughty step.

( BTW , my DCs are now young adults and we still play some of Nintendo games we played when they were preschoolers such as Tetris and Bomberman. smile)

ClockWatchingLady Fri 27-Sep-13 12:38:44

Hi MumtoJacob.

I haven't read the whole thread so apologies if this is repetitive/irrelevant.

I think you're doing a great job by doing exactly what you said you would do. I think this is incredibly difficult and I'm all admiration that you're doing it.
To not carry this threat through would, in IMHO, probably be much worse for him than having a smaller birthday celebration. Whether you "should" have threatened this in the first place is only really a helpful question for future scenarios - not this one. To me it sounds a reasonable thing to have done anyway.
The fact that you clearly love him, show him this, and will continue to do so, is what matters. Emotional support and discipline are separate (albeit related) things. Good on you, and good luck!

Mojavewonderer Fri 27-Sep-13 13:55:08

Well done you for doing the right thing and following through with your threat. I don't think you should hold any kind of party though because that will be seen as giving in and he will behave badly again after the 'smaller' party.
You should say 'If he sorts out his behaviour and doesn't get into trouble where you are called in to see the teacher then maybe next year he will get a party'
I have 3 children and I have never been called into see the teacher because of bad behaviour and 1 of my children has autism which can be seen as 'just being naughty'
It is not acceptable behaviour and your child needs to learn the hard way. Good luck.

lisylisylou Fri 27-Sep-13 14:43:13

I couldn't threaten something like that. My ds at 6 was hardwork and is very deep and always whining,tantrums etc. he still is hardwork the school last year have put him through an arts and sound course with a psychotherapist and it has been fantastic for him. He turned to me after the 3rd session and said 'the lady says I am very sensitive and takes everyone's feelings as my own' he then went onto say 'I never wanted to tell you my problems because I thought they would hurt you and make you sad'. It broke my heart to think my own son couldn't come and confide in me and I can't imagine how lonely he felt. I've also been putting the kids 30 minutes earlier as I realised he was shattered through the day. The difference this has made in him has been huge plus i've been giving him a bit more freedom and choice. the other thing ive been doing is writing his behaviour down as only yesterday morning i felt bad that he'd done 6 things brilliantly and i only focused on the 1 bad thing that had gOne wrong. ive been finding that because my ds has been hardwork I've only been looking for the bad. Start writing it down and it might clarify how bad he really is. If the party is cancelled then I would expect a lot more extreme behaviour but I would give him the chance to earn it back. Good luck

kiriwawa Fri 27-Sep-13 16:10:17

MumtoJacob - I found it much easier to deal with DS's behaviour once I knew there was a reason behind it - it's made me a lot more patient and a lot more forgiving (and his behaviour has improved as a result).

Obviously, there may not be anything behind your DS's behaviour at all but asking for input from your school Senco/CAMHS may help you rule out certain things. Feeling at the end of your tether and not knowing what to do next is horrible.

farewellfarewell Sat 28-Sep-13 13:12:51

Don't cancel the party op, would be my advice. He is only a little one and even though he may be capable of making the association between his behaviour and the party being cancelled, it is a long way off and it seems that what is required of him is somewhat too much for him to achieve at the moment for some reason.
I think you sound fantastic by the way and I think you are doing a great job in difficult circs. I'm sure collecting him from school is becoming really stressful. I have been there.
Maybe there is something else going on with him, I do understand what it is like to have that feeling that there may be a problem, it is very difficult. Remember though that even if there is, once the diagnosis comes it really helps to understand the behaviours.
It could be that your little boy is really trying but is simply incapable of doing what you/the teacher are asking of him at this time. On that basis I think it is unfair to cancel his party.
Good luck op.

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