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Bad behaviour being caused by school?

(16 Posts)
26minutes Wed 21-Sep-11 07:31:51

I've had problems with ds2s behaviour for years, I've seen a variety of people since he was 2, he's 6 in a few weeks. He's been under CAMHS for a couple of years, she discharges him then I get re-referred and this has happened a few times. About 6 months ago she said she thought he may have ADHD but that assessments couldn't start until he was 7.

We had noticed that in the longer holidays (Easter & Christmas) that his behaviour was much better but we have seen his behaviour escalate when he returns from his dads every other weekend so we thought it was just that he had more time at home to adapt to the changes better and quicker. By June/July last year I was at the end of my tether, seriously considering giving SS a call and begging them to take him away. CAMHS were no help just sent me on a parenting course that taught the most basic of parenting 'skills'.

During the summer holidays his behaviour improved immensely, he was like a different child, the visits to his dad were hardly affecting him and we had a really nice summer, I didn't want him to go back to school (ds1 on the other hand!). He's now been back at school a week and a half and I'm back to wanting SS to step in. I can't cope with him, he's controlling this family, we don't have the time to do things with ds1 & dd because we're having to deal with him. It's not as 'simple' as ignoring the bad behaviour which is what allthe 'experts' say we should do. If we did that we'd have no house and no children.

I'm seriously considering taking him out of school and home educating as he's 100% better at home.

Has anyone else any experience of this? I've posted in SN section before about ds2 because of the suspected ADHD but due to the fact that he can clearly control it I don't think it is that and not sure if SN is the right place to post.

joruth Wed 21-Sep-11 13:19:43

It sounds a bit complicated for a "proper" answer but here are a few thoughts:

Some children really can't cope with the stress of big school classes and expectations, get easily distracted or confused and massively underachieve thus starting a cycle of poor achievement, poor behaviour and frustration.

Some children are very noise sensitive and get distressed because of this.

There are a couple of non-mainstream options you might consider.1).look at the new "free schools" if there is one near you they may have smaller groups and a more flexible approach 2) Home schooling...I love this but it is a big commitment...if you are lucky there will be a big supportive group of other home schoolers in your area that you could go to for advice and share skills with. There is no doubt that you can complete the curriculum in foar fewer hours at home than at school but then you need to work out how you would cope and where the social skills will come from.

you might find this website helpful
[www.education-otherwise.net/]

It is very interesting that he was so much better over the summer and gives and indication that his behaviour can be changed by relatively simple measures.

Whatever you decide, I wish you well

joruth Wed 21-Sep-11 13:20:19

sorry www.education-otherwise.net

26minutes Wed 21-Sep-11 15:44:32

Thanks for your post joruth. HE is something that I was thinking about over the summer holidays and since his return to school I am thinking of it even more. DH and I spoke on the phone earlier and we're going to have a good look into it this evening and over the next few weeks. I've spoken to CAMHS today who gave me the exact reaction I expected when I mentioned HE.

The social side of things is the easy part imo. Having had a quick look at your link there is a large, active HE community in the city where I live and several in the wider area so that is no problem, plus there are plenty of clubs etc that he can join. It's the other practicalities that are the difficult part...We have a 9mo DD. DS1 hates school with a passion, but the school is very good for him and in reality he likes the competitiveness of school and the assessments (strange child grin) and I think it would be very hard for him to see that DS2 is not going to school, he would just see it as him having fun at home and of course wouldn't see the truth behind it. There are other issues that sound a bit selfish I think, but DHs wage barely covers our rent let alone anything else. Yes we get benefits to top these up but that's hardly ideal and not exactly something we aspire to. I'm not exactly SAHM material, it drives me crazy and I'm not sure how I'd cope with him at home all day, *BUT* I'm not coping with him the way things are so something has got to change.

Tgger Wed 21-Sep-11 16:09:04

Is there an alternative school- can you afford private where there are smaller classes? - or maybe just a different dynamic at a different state school?- small village school?

He's very young still- just year one. Think, they don't start formal education in Scandanavia until about 6 or 7, so maybe you will see him settle into it a bit more this year?

Or maybe you could HE for a year or two and he could join his school again- or alternative when he is year 3 and a bit more mature? You don't have to explain yourself to your other DS, do what's best for the family.

26minutes Wed 21-Sep-11 16:39:35

We are wondering whether it's school or the school. I'm more inclined to think it's school in general as he was just the same at his pre-school, although this is on the grounds of his school and so most of the children that were there are now at the same infants. He was also like it at the day nursery he was at before that. I was made redundant early in 2009 and found within a few weeks of me being at home and him being at nursery much fewer hours - dropped to the 12.5 free hours as opposed to 4 almost full days that he's been doing before - his behaviour improved immensely. I decided then not to go back to work until he started school but of course his behaviour has steadily got worse as time has gone on.

There is another school nearby but that is a primary rather than infants and juniors so not sure how he would cope with the near seniors there, but the school does look smaller than the one he is at. Looking on Ofsted reports, there are less children in the entire primary than there are in just the infants, although when I was looking into other schools last term they were fully subscribed.

Unfortunately we can't afford private school (£7,500 a year for this age rising to £13,000 a year once 11+ - they were the prices 6 years ago when I looked into it for ds1 when he was starting school).

I'm going in to speak to the deputy head tomorrow, I know she will so her utmost to try to convince me to keep him in school, it's her job, but I'm hoping she'll be able to help me out somehow or at least have some ideas.

joruth Wed 21-Sep-11 16:55:42

HE doesn't have to be you full time...think of your skills and look at the network in your area. perhaps there is some swapping to be done ( cookery for art for language etc??) also the library and other groups may be useful to you so you may be able to have some regular times for dd as well. It is hard work but it may be better than what you have now of course DH could be an educator too and do some of it jointly with DS1 at weekends.

to encourage you my friends have 8 (yes 8) children and HE worked for all of them well. Their middle daughter opted for school at 14 but the others all did HE all the way to A levels all are lovely functioning human beings and the parents are surprisingly sane!! There was always a baby in the house and no-one seemed to be neglected ( except possible the house-work)

Tgger Wed 21-Sep-11 19:35:17

What's his behaviour like in school? Can they get him some of the stuff he needs there?

Also, have you read the Dr Christopher Green books- there's a toddler taming one and one for older ones (5-8s). I found both really helpful at times- re behaviour- takes a very straightforward and practical approach.

Clearly his behaviour deteriorates at home when he's at school- that is the same with a lot of children- well, same for my DS, but I suppose it's a question of how extreme it is and if you can find a change of approach to deal with it.

26minutes Thu 22-Sep-11 09:27:11

Thanks joruth, certainly lots to think about.

tgger - Yes I had the toddler taming one and also have his ADHD one. The ADHD book is interesting as it describes his home, term time behaviour perfectly. It was kind of a relief reading that book as it felt somebody understood, I haven't found anyone in the medical profession yet who does. I highlighted parts that were relevant adn there were chapters where the entire page was yellow! Many parts were not a simple case of being able to relate to what was written but they were so true to ds2 that it was as if we had written it.

At school he has been described as sensible, quiet, helpful, considerate...the list goes on. During holidays I would describe him as many of those things plus funny and happy. He complains of a stomach ache every morning as ds1 leaves for school (something that only clicked with me last night), he walks to school with his head down, won't speak to anyone, infact goes out of his way to ignore everyone, stands in a corner with his back to the playground and looks so lost and upset as he goes in. Today he has a school trip, there were no complaints, he chatted to his friends, even calling out to them as we walked across the juniors playground. These are all things I'm going to bring up with the deputy when I see her today. She was also his classroom teacher for much of last year so she knows him well, won't need to be reading off of a sheet given to her by another member of staff.

At home he couldn't be more different. I know many parents and teachers would have differing views on the childrens behaviour, but I don't think as extreme as I am seeing. His behaviours are total polar opposites. He's destructive, violent, very very angry, he spits, he growls, he screams. We have a glazed door in the back room of the house, the bottom 2 panes are perspex as he smashed them when I first moved in. The door frame of his old bedroom has completely come away from the wall, and the door in his new bedroom is now beyond repair due to having been fixed so many times. Both his & ds1s beds are broken, DH has had to repair these a couple of times, the floorboards int he bedroom are broken, the list is seemingly endless.

We asked him last night why he behaves the way he does and he said "school makes me do it" but couldn't explain any fyrther. We haven't discussed any of this in front of him or where he could overhear so he won't be just saying what he thinks we want to hear.

There was something else I was going to add but I can't remember now what it was and it was quite vital. blush confused

26minutes Thu 22-Sep-11 11:04:26

I've just remembered what I was going to add. His behaviour is such that no-one wants to be my friend. That sounds a bit whiney and needy but it's the best way to get across how much of an effect his behaviour has on others and how bad it can be. When ds1 was at his old school I used to go out regularly with the other mums. We'd meet at Costa or one of the mums had a beach hut and she'd invite everyone down there. After a few of these they stopped inviting me, even to the point of not telling me where they were going. Once one of them did say oh we meet here now, come down, you should have seen the others faces when they saw ds2. They stopped inviting me because of how he behaved. There were other younger dcs there so it wasn't a case of wanting adult only time. They would sit there and constantly critiscise him and me (I was a lot younger than them so I think they thought I was just some silly young mum who couldn't control her child). They'd try to tell me I shouldn't be doing this, that and the other, blaming things I was doing for his behaviour even though that wasn't causing it and they would just tut and look at me like I was stupid if I tried to explain how he was. It even got to the point where if another child went near ds2 in the playground while waiting for the older children to come out the parent would rush over and grab them as if his behaviour would rub off on them.

Another example is my niece. Now her son is very spoilt, runs riot, is rude, obnoxious, doesn't do as he's told etc. Her and her OH came round mine once with their ds, they 3 boys were playing and he was doing things that I don't allow my 2 to do. Ds2 doesn't hold back, if someone is doing something that they shouldn't be he'll tell them straight. He didn't stop though, I told him, told niece but he carried on. In the end I had to tell ds2 to try to ignore it. He was acting the spoilt brat, ds2 didn't like it and so his behaviour started to go downhill very quickly. DH & I tried to put a stop to it, but the boy was still winding him up, so he got worse and worse. They left the house as quickly as they possibly could and I haven't seen them since, no really, and that was over a year ago.

I have another friend who will not see me if ds2 is around. She came round once and left after half an hour looking scared and refuses to see me during school holidays unless the boys will not be there. He actually wasn't even that bad that day, but still he managed to scare her off.

He makes my mum cry. She has said on so many occasions that she has never met a child like him. She comes from a large, close family, a couple of her sisters have 9 children and most have 3 or 4 so she's not a stranger to seeing lots of children and their different behaviours. She can't handle him at all and h does run rings around her, I have to try to keep them apart as she just sits there virtually begging him to stop and you can hear the lump in her throat, she then leaves the house in tears.

And now SIL doesn't even want the boys at her house. She makes every excuse possible as to why we can only go to hers when the boys are at their dads, but to us it's quite clear the real reason. Again he hasn't even been that bad when we've seen her but she's been shocked and dragged her dds away when he has been a little bit bad.

I think everyone at one time or another has come away from a friends house being judgemental about one of their children, you hear it so often, and how many judgey threads are there on here, but when it is everyone that you know who won't invite you to places, won't come round or even won't speak to you because of the way that your son behaves, then it really becomes a problem. In a way I don't care as people annoy me and I'd be quite happy living a hermits life with just me & the family but it's hard and so upsetting. And not normal to be ostracised by everybody you meet because of your sons behaviour.

mummytime Thu 22-Sep-11 11:17:38

When at school is your son holding in his anger, frustration, problems etc. etc.? If so this could be why he's freaking out at home. Is there a chance this (or another school) could provide him with space when everything is getting too much? (Like a sensory room.)
Is there a big change to his diet when at school? What about exercise?

Personally I would try to keep a diary, and talk to him; try to find out connections between his behaviour and school. Also do not accept that he cannot be diagnosed/helped for another year. Talk to the SENCo, see he is on the SEN register, see what issues they see with him. Maybe talk to your local parent partnership and see if they can help, or guide you as to where to look for help.

threesnocrowd Thu 22-Sep-11 11:46:10

I alsways notice that behaviour deteriorates as sonn as school starts. We had the most amazing summer. DS1 was beautifully behaved and soooo happy. DS2 who has just started school last week is already completely exhausted and poorly (he's only there till 12 noon). His asthma is starting up again too. DS1 has started fighting and grumping, he's stopped eating properly and is still up wondering about the house at 9pm because he can't switch off the stress. Its sad. I have considered (and still very much consider) HE. Perhaps you could post this on the HE thread and see what responses and help you get. School can be wonderful, but for some children/families, it's just simply not the answer. Fortunately, there are other alternatives.

26minutes Thu 22-Sep-11 13:25:10

mummytime - One of the mums of ds1s friends suggested the same thing. Her son is in ds1s class and was having real problems last year, this year though he's apparently much better already and she thinks it's because they are now giving him an outlet to deal with his anger and frustration. So they are certainly able to do it in the juniors, I will ask if there is anything similar in the infants. I think the school are well able to deal with children with 'problems/issues' as there are quite a few who are in care or foster homes, maybe I just really need to make it clear how ds2 is at home. wrt diet the only thing that is different is the frequency. His diet is quite strict as there are a lot of foods that badly affect his behaviour so he has packed lunch which is pretty much the same as the lunch that he would have if he was at home, the only thing that's different is the amount as he doesn't have time to eat the amount he would at home. He also snacks alot at home. Being hungry for him is just as bad as eating the wrong foods. I've seen him at school close to lunch time for a salt appointment and he was then just like he is at home - unable to concentrate, talking ten to the dozen, head rolling about as if it's not attached properly, eyes rolling into the back of his head, so now salt appointments are done first thing in the morning. He obviously doesn't have this opportunity to snack at school like he does at home. Exercise wise, I don't know, if he tears about the playground like I did at his age then he probably gets just as much if not more than in holiday time in general.

I've tried a few times to be referred elsewhere by the doctors and CAMHS. Everyone I've seen insists that nothing will be done until 1. he is 7 and 2. until he starts causing problems at school. CAMHS will not refer elsewhere, just keep sending me on parenting courses. GP will agree to look into it only once I refuse to leave their room until something is done. 3 so far have fobbed me off and written back telling me they ahve checked with the necessary people to see if a referral would be suitable but are told no because of the above reasons. (I think it is CAMHS that they are getting in touch with over it [frustrated]) How would I contact the parent partnership? Is that something trhough the school, council, sure start? Also SENCo, do I just make an appointment with them at school?

threes - "School can be wonderful, but for some children/families, it's just simply not the answer." Very true statement, it really looks like that is the case for ds2. It's very sad how this seems to be the case for quite a few children. I wonder if too much pressure is being put onto their little shoulders? Spelling tests, assessments for all types of things. DS1 thrives on this and would be happy having tests everyday, but it seems common that you hear of children becoming stressed out over some kind of test at school.

Thanks for your replies. I see the deputy in an hour, so it will be interesting to see what she can suggest to help him. I wonder if they will even be bothered if he is causing no problems in school?

mummytime Thu 22-Sep-11 14:47:16

If he is as you describe at school then his behaviour is not normal at school. Maybe it is because it is so deprived that the SENCo hasn't asked to see you. I would request seeing her, and discussing his progress and whether the school believe there are issues.
Parent Partnership use this to contact your local one. If the doctors aren't helping try to get it flagged as a SEN problem, it might work better.
Does he have a snack at break time?

26minutes Thu 22-Sep-11 15:49:44

Well I've just got back from picking the boys up from school. His deputy couldn't have been more understanding. As I said she was his classroom teacher for a lot of last year so knows him well. She said that she had noticed a big change in him since the start of this term and had been watching him to see if he improved at all over the next couple of weeks before calling me in. She said that she had been speaking to him asking if he was alright as she said he was very withdrawn at school adn the way I described him in the playground before starting she could relate to exactly with him.

She's going to speak to his current teacher, the TA in his old class and also the man (I can't remember his official title) who deals with anger management etc in the juniors. Have had dealings with him in the past over ds1 so I am familiar with him. SHe's going to see what he can do, what else can be done to help him and they're going to look at putting a case together to support me with CAMHS or anyone else that I need to have dealings with. She was really supportive and it's nice to have someone backing me and understanding where I'm coming from. We're going to have regular meetings to see how things are going and what can be done.

Progress wise, educationally at least, he is way beyond where he should be. She showed me the points list that they have and he's actually only a few points behind where ds1 was at the end of year R and ds1 is working about 4 years ahead of his age so educationally there are no worries which is maybe why they haven't shown any concerns with him at school. Apparently he's been put into the top groups in his class and is currently doing work that they would be expected to do at the end of yr1 rather than the beginning.

I think with me having flagged things up today adn now with the backing of the school things may move along better and it's a relief knowing that they are backing me and eager to support me and my son. They now know that there is a problem behaviourally and are going to be looking at all the ways possible to support him and help him.

joruth Thu 22-Sep-11 16:12:53

hooray for professionals who care and want to help...interesting about his school work..I wonder if he is bored as well as having other probs...if he finds the work boring and the social setting pressurising then school is all bad for him.

Really feel for you re social isolation...you need friends and friends who can cope with you in your family context...have a virtual hug and I am going to go away and have a think re support structures for you.

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