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At what point should you intervene in aggression at school?

(11 Posts)
LittleLionMansMummy Fri 10-Jun-16 14:18:45

Ds is in reception. He's quite popular, easy going, confident and has a circle of friends. They have fall outs of course, and we're always fairly measured in our response when he tells us about it. But on the whole he gets on with others and they get on well with him.

A little while ago he was sent home with a note explaining that he had a red patch on his arm, caused by another child. Ds wasn't all that bothered, just said Tim had done it (not his real name) and that the teacher dealt with it and Tim's name star was put on the thunder storm cloud. I knew the teacher had dealt with it so didn't make a big deal out of it.

Yesterday he came home with an enormous bite mark on his hand, again was none too concerned by it fortunately, said Tim had done it. It looked like it had almost drawn blood and was still very clearly visible when I collected him from cm at 5pm (it was done at lunch). Again he had a note in his bag from first aid and the teacher told the cm personally that she spoke to Tim and the headteacher this time and Tim's parents were informed too. The bite mark was still on his hand this morning as a bruise.

Dh spoke to ds about it last night and ds told him he'd wanted to hit Tim in response, but hadn't. We both praised him for his self control and for not retaliating and said he reacted appropriately. The teacher confirmed that ds had dealt with it really well - hadn't reacted but told the teacher it had happened. I think the school have taken it seriously and acted accordingly so no real complaints on that front.

We've spoken to Tim's mum before, who seems nice enough, and I'm sure she must be mortified. I suspect there may be some learning/ developmental issues for which she has my sympathy. But all the same, my duty of care is to my child.

For now we've suggested to ds that he gives Tim a wide berth and plays with other children. Tim isn't really a member of ds's friendship group anyway. But tbh if it happens again and ds retaliates I won't be punishing him at home and would be a bit cross if the school did knowing this has been building up. Ds can be pushed so far but if in the wrong frame of mind can certainly react, as I suspect would many 5 year olds. There are only so many times I can ask 'did the teacher deal with? Well then that's good, well done for not reacting.'

It's not bothering him, he's not worried about going to school etc but I strongly suspect this could happen again. Should I ask to speak to the teacher about behaviour management if it happens again? Or should i be asking now that they're kept separate?

WorstWeekNotCoping Fri 10-Jun-16 15:48:48

Human bites are dangerous and I'd expect to be told and not have a note in a bag. This comes from someone who's DS was a biter when he was younger, I would expect the parents to be told about the bite as they can become badly infected very very quickly.

Other than that, there's not a lot you can do really. Especially if there's developmental issues. Perhaps ask the teacher if your DS is doing anything to trigger it (NOT victim
Blaming before anyone says I am) but I know DS had a little friend who was very in your face, and she kept getting hurt by him. Me and her mum worked together and DS eventually learnt to tolerate people being in his face and learnt more appropriate ways of dealing with it and she learnt not to randomly jump on people and squeeze them.

That might not be the case though, sometimes these things are totally unprovoked and I suppose you just have to trust that school are dealing with it.

WorstWeekNotCoping Fri 10-Jun-16 15:51:00

Just to add, if it isn't a developmental issue and is just nastiness, I would (and have) be having words with the school.

I don't know which is the case here at all.

DPotter Fri 10-Jun-16 15:59:43

I think a word now with the school would be a good idea - asking is this becoming a 'thing' between Tim and your DS / is it only DS who is being attacked or are others also being hurt ? How is the school proposing to protect you DS (and others) ?

Worst - sorry if I misunderstand your post - but why should your DS have to learn to accept people randomly jumping on him and squeezing him ? As an adult walking down the street I am fully within my rights to defend myself if jumped on and squeezed.

WorstWeekNotCoping Fri 10-Jun-16 16:38:25

Yeah he did. But he's going to be in special schooling or projects the rest of his life and some people with severe needs can't help it, so needs must. He knows now how to say no, and how to walk away etc. But he doesn't totally freak out and hit and bite anymore.

DPotter Sat 11-Jun-16 12:48:55

Sorry Worst - didn't mean to be so confrontational.

branofthemist Sat 11-Jun-16 13:03:33

Speak to the school. Whatever the cause, your job is too protect your son.

My Dd was bullied and I once asked the school (who were rubbish) what would happen if Dd smacked him back. They said she would get punished too. So I told them to try it.

As it happens Dd didn't hit back back but in year 6 he was charged with assault.

NarkyKnockers Sat 11-Jun-16 17:01:53

If the child is hurting your son a lot I doubt you need to tell him not to play with him. I agree with the pp I would ask what is coming immediately before the incidents or if there is any pattern as to when they occur. If they are completely random then the child needs more support - for their own sake as well as they won't make friends if they can't control their behaviour. The school will, quite rightly, discipline your son for retaliating by hitting back though so I wouldn't encourage this. The message needs to be consistent for everyone that violence is never ok. You don't get away with assaulting an adult in a tit for tat fashion because they have assaulted you if it's not necessary to prevent further injury. If you teach your son that hitting is ok if someone makes you angry you will be setting him up for problems long after this one has resolved.

Imaginosity Sat 11-Jun-16 18:59:13

My child was diagnosed with autism shortly after starting school. I know you don't know if that child has special needs but it is possible. Or maybe he just has standard behaviour problems which the school can hopefully help him to overcome.

In reception, my DS lashed out and hurt other children - not too often. The reason why he did that was that he was very overwhelmed and confused with the amount of children and noise. He doesn't always interpret things correctly - and sometimes thinks a child trying to play with him is trying to hurt him. He lashed out to defend himself but I don't think the other children were actually trying to upset him. He also had sensory overload so was on the brink of a tantrum and the slightest thing would set him off.

I felt really embarrassed when DS did hit anyone. I hoped they'd understand everyone was doing their best to manage it. Other parents weren't always understanding which is fair enough - but it's so, so hard when you are starting to realise that your child has a life long disability and other people think he's just badly behaved or badly raised. It really is a hidden disability.

Some parents were really kind about it - the ones who had some understanding of special needs. They recognised it wasn't DS's fault.

I have huge empathy and patience when I come across children who remind me of my DS1. There was a little boy in DS2's class who was often hitting other children - he looked quite wild. I could see his mother looked embarrassed and was trying her best. I wasn't sure if the little boy had some other issues but I suspected he did. DS2 would say there was a 'mean boy' in his class - I told DS2 all children have to learn the rules about how to behave - but some children (like DS1) find it much more difficult and take longer. I kept emphasising that the boy was not 'bad' but just taking a bit longer to learn the rules. I told DS2 to tell the teacher if anything happened. I talked to the teacher and got reassurances about how they proposed to manage things in the class. I had nothing but sympathy for the boy's mother the whole way through, having been there myself.

I would speak to the teacher if I were you as you need to protect your child - but I'd approach it on the basis that you understand all the children are just settling in and getting used to how to behave with each other - not assuming it's simply bad behaviour by the other child.

Imaginosity Sat 11-Jun-16 19:05:21

Oh, and if someone had retaliated against DS1 it would not have helped matters at all. What helped get his behaviour under control was constant reminding about appropriate behaviour as well as all the supports the school put in place - like a TA would monitor him at playtime. If a child does have special needs they need understanding and managing - not retaliation.

I think your advice for your child to a avoid the trouble is much better.

Fairuza Sat 11-Jun-16 19:12:51

Personally I wouldn't complain. There have only been two incidents, one quite minor, and your child isn't distressed. The teacher knows there is an issue and I expect they will be working with this child.

It's not really possible to keep children separate in Reception, how would they do that? I doubt speaking to the school will make the teacher do anything differently.

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