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4 yo hs big problem with authority figures!

(17 Posts)
shelsco Fri 28-Jun-13 02:23:08

DS4 who has just turned 4 is having problems at nursery. Over this year there have been 5 occasions when he has said no to a teacher or refused to do as they asked. they asked me to go in to discuss it earlier in the year which I did. I contacted health visitors for advice and we discussed having a consistent approach etc.
Yesterday I was asked to go in again and they said basically it has to stop. he's going into full time school (with same teacher!) soon and he just has to stop it.
At home we have been using lots of praise for good behaviour and clear sanctions for bad behaviour and it has worked really well. We've had no major problems. when he gets confrontational we give him choice to do as asked or explain consequence. this has worked really well and 99% of time he is lovely with just the odd blip when he doesn't do as told and does suffer consequence. We discuss it afterwards and he usually seems to realise and change behaviour for next time.
At school however, he has still had these times when he says no and no matter how much I talk to him, he still insists that he is right and that the teachers are wrong.
He is lovely in a holiday but the week he goes back to school we have confrontations (but manageable) and lots of role play with him being teacher bossing people around. He does obviously have an issue with being told what to do ( a problem seeing as he is going to have to at school) but I don't know what to do.
the school said he is nearly always good, its only these odd times when he confronts but then also said his behaviour is affecting the behaviour of all the other children and making them naughty as they see him getting away with it. I said he shouldn't be getting away with it (he doesn't at home and it seems to work) and they then said he doesn't he is put in time out! I'm very confused and also very upset that at four is behaviour is so disruptive that it is upsetting the whole nursery!!!
I asked if there were any triggers as it seems odd that it happens so infrequently and she said no, just when he doesn't get his own way.
any ideas anyone? Or experiences with children who are usually well behaved but have an issue with authority figures?! Weird I know but I'm really worried! sad

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 28-Jun-13 08:51:57

How was his language development? Did he meet all his milestones on time?

SoTiredAgain Fri 28-Jun-13 10:39:24

shelco. Yes, my DS is like that. His first response to a request or instruction is no or variations on a theme. I strongly suspect that he has Pathological Demand Avoidance and we are very lucky that his teacher and school deal with him in a positive way. They agree that it's an anxiety issue with him. And if he refuses to do something then generally, they have to explain to him why and then he is more likely to do it.

How exactly is he being "naughty" at school? is it point blank refusal? Does he shout? Is it a tantrum? Or is it where he goes all lifeless? I'm a teacher and I have children refusing to do things, especially in nursery. Especially at the start, there are a lot of non compliers. And even now, there are still children who refuse to do certain things. grin

I think you need to try and work with the school on what his triggers are. With DS, it's change. He doesn't like it when his routine changes eg change in PE from morning to afternoon session. Or a supply teacher instead of his usual teacher. And also, if he has not eaten well. It could be he does not like, for example, messy play or finger painting, or a particular activity.

And don't fret about this too much. He is "good" most of the time so that's a positive sign.

And just a small issue of semantics (sorry). Please try not to say good or bad or naughty. I talk about ok (thumbs up) and not ok (thumbs down) behaviour.

shelsco Fri 28-Jun-13 15:37:58

Yeah thumbs up is good idea. He met all his milestones but is emotional quite immature. Problem with working with school is that when I said what are the triggers they said when he doesn't get his own way but he does negotiate with his brothers and friends. Just doesnt like it when teacher tells him to do something. If you ask him nicely and explain he will usually comply but if you just say you've got to do it or else, he point blank refuses! The teacher seems to either avoid confronting him and ignore issues ( which I dont agree with) or goes for head on confrontation. She just says he's naughty but usually he isnt!
its only when confronted. I get the impression they think I'm not strict enough with him but what we do at hook works at home.

SoTiredAgain Fri 28-Jun-13 17:24:17

The teacher seems to either avoid confronting him and ignore issues ( which I dont agree with) or goes for head on confrontation.

Mmm. Tricky, this one. What has led you to believe this? As a teacher, I would do neither - it's not productive, especially with the little ones. There is a middle ground. It sounds like the parent-teacher relationship is starting to get a bit strained? If she is going to be his teacher next year as well, I think you need to re-build that relationship.

My DS teacher and support staff are really good at handling him actually. Like me, they use a range of strategies. Being playful (are you tricking me? Are you joking?). Throwing in competition (I'm going to get my things ready before you). Reasoning. Being firm by giving him choices and consequences. Whatever works at that particular time really.

shelsco Sun 30-Jun-13 13:35:16

Sorry haven't answered. Been away for weekend (great timing) and no reception on phone! So tired, what has led me to believe this is reading between lines of what teacher told me, although i must admit I can't say for definite.
As far as I know there have been 4 occasions this year when he has refused to do something and she said his behaviour is affecting the whole class and making them all behave badly because they see him 'getting away with it' and so she's lost their respect. She said normally if a child said no to her she would send them straight to head teacher but when she tried to do this to him, he got really frightened and starting crying (he's really frightened of the idea of 'the boss') and she couldn't get him to go as he was hysterical. So now she doesn't threaten to send him to the head anymore, she puts him in time out which, I'm assuming she sees as getting away with it as when I said he shouldn't be getting away with it, she said well he isn't really, he goes into time out.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like she has been perhaps turning a blind eye to things and means there have been more incidents that she hasn't told me about, as otherwise how can four isolated incidents over the course of the year be affecting the behaviour of the whole class? Then again, he did have a sticker book and he had a sticker most days and comment saying he had been really good. The days he didn't we asked about and she said he hadn't got the sticker because either she forgot or was too busy or (once) because the whole class had been naughty so even though he hadn't done anything wrong, he hadn't been good enough to get a sticker! There were only two occasions where he had not got it for saying no (and one occasion for crying when he went into school!)

I'm a teacher and I did call in behaviour support to try and intervene and help build bridges and widen the range of strategies used. It has worked really well at home but at school she doesn't seem to use them from what I gather. I've tried to be supportive but she basically said 'this has to stop now. We're tired of it all. He's going into Reception and he has to stop this.' I said I agree but didn't know what to suggest. I said I'll do whatever I can to support the school and will talk to him at home but didn't know what else I could do about his behaviour at school because I just don't understand why it is happening still when it isn't at home. Really confused and fed up. Don't know if he is as bad as she seems to think and if so why he behaves like that there but not here. We hardly ever have any confrontations with him now but he doesn't get his own way all the time. we just explain and he does it.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 30-Jun-13 14:06:22

Can I suggest that you go in whenever you can to watch and help out? Our school is very open and I found that when my DD was struggling a bit, my turning up to help with crafts or whatever seemed to improve things. I don't know just did.

shelsco Sun 30-Jun-13 14:54:26

I don't think the teacher will be very open to that but it might be worth suggesting anyway just in case! I'm going on the school trip on Friday with them so that might be a chance to ask about it. The behaviour support lady went in to observe but all she saw was him being good because apparently he nearly always is!! That's the bit I'm finding really hard to understand: if he's nearly always good how can his behaviour be affecting the rest of the class. Either he isn't anymore and I haven't been told or he is but only because she's avoiding all confrontation. I feel completely devastated that she thinks his behaviour is having making the rest of the class misbehave.

McFarts Sun 30-Jun-13 15:11:51

I think they're expecting far to much from him tbh, i mean sending (or threatening to) 4yo to see the head?? seems way over the top to me.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Sun 30-Jun-13 15:34:09

I'm a SEN TA for a child in yr 5 with PDA ODD .I've had him for 2years now and he really is a delightful child.I could be bias as I have him 5days a week.
If I could pass on some things that work for me are
Be consistent do not deviate unless really necessary.
Choose your battles carefully.
Always where possible give enough notice of changes.
Please DO NOT tell him if he is good at school for a week you will reward him.Do it on a day to day basis otherwise he is anxious all week that he is going to fail and its to much.
Last but not least humour usually gets me through the tricky times.
Hope this helps.

shelsco Sun 30-Jun-13 17:27:58

Thanks. I might give him a daily sticker then. I don't know if he does have PDA but it seems weird that he doesn't seem to be able to cope with authority well.

shelsco Sun 30-Jun-13 17:48:09

Just read up on PDA and I'm not sure if that describes ds or not. He is quite heavily into role play and did role play teachers a lot but he will do things and doesn't avoid every demand made by any means. He does avoid certain tasks if he doesn't feel like them but will usually do them for a bit then lose concentration and make excuses rather than making excuses from the start. He is very keen to please though and if you ask him nicely he usually does it.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 30-Jun-13 18:03:25

I am inclined to agree with the poster who said they're expecting a lot from a 4 year old. He's small...he sounds bright....that often combined to create a challenge! I have a 5 year old DD in reception...she's good at school generally but she's such a handful at home! DS is probably suffering from endofterm-itis like a lot of DC at the moment.

I expect the teacher is too! I would relax about on his concentration and all the usual things we need to do with little ones and he'll probably be fine by September. They do sound a bit unsure at his nursery....a good reception teacher works wonders imo!

SoTiredAgain Sun 30-Jun-13 19:50:45

shelsco, I don't get either how time out is "getting away with it" and why does crying when he gets to school mean that he does not get a sticker - surely its what happens in the day that matters? And I don't understand what the problem is if it is just an occasional thing. confused Is this teacher experienced?

Like I said, I teach nursery and reception, and I have a few non-compliant children in nursery still (there were a lot to begin with), it's really not a big deal. I and the rest of the team just work around it.

Do you think its worth having a meeting with you, behaviour person and teacher so that you can all work what the problem actually is? If the teacher is not putting in place what the behaviour person has said, then that needs to be flagged up and remedied.

I totally get your anxiety about it all.

(Gotta go, will finish off later)

shelsco Sun 30-Jun-13 21:57:26

Thanks so tired, teacher has been teaching about 5years but mainly in KS1. She hates it in nursery so the head has moved her into reception which she also dislikes and means she has the same class again (and my ds). Tbh, although I teach Ks1 I have taught nursery and reception and
I did come across kids who refused to do things from time to time. I just wasn't sure how often it happens as this teacher seems to find it so unusual that there can't be anyone else in the nursery who does it. I did ring behaviour support again on Thursday and she was going to ring teacher and have a chat then get back to me. She didn't so I'm hoping I get to talk to her tomorrow. I think I might suggest that we all meet and find strategies to deal with the situation.
It does seem that the teacher has a very black and white view. Twice when there were problems he reacted to someone hurting him and then he got punished but the person who instigated it didn't(because the teacher didn't find out why he acted as he did but just reacted to what she had seen). I think that was why he refused to come out of the area, because he felt he was being treated unfairly. If she had acknowledge his feelings and talked about what would have been an appropriate way to act if it happened again, at least he would be taught how to handle these situations. At the moment, she just thinks he's naughty and I'm making excuses for him. Really frustrating. I I know his behaviour isn't right but I can't do anything about it without her help!

SoTiredAgain Sun 30-Jun-13 22:40:40

I really get your frustration, especially if the teacher is unwilling to see your DS as anything but naughty. sad Did he lash out at the other children or throw things?

Sounds like actually that he is not emotionally immature (as you have said previously) but more that he is unable to express his frustrations (my DS is the same). Of course, he is 4! My DS just completely loses it sometimes, especially if he thinks there is an injustice.

Anyway, yes, I think it's a good idea to ask for a meeting. Good luck, let us know, how it goes. smile

shelsco Mon 01-Jul-13 18:27:13

Thanks, he hasn't really hurt another child in a big way. Once a little girl kept knocking his tower over so he pushed her out of the way. Another time the same girl threw sand in his eyes so he hit her. The third time he and a friend were fighting over a spade and he snatched it and I'm not really sure what happened the last time. He hurt a friend of his who we know well and see often out of school. Usually when they argue they both give as good as they get and when I asked her mum, she said she knew nothing about it so I don't think he did anything more than they usually do when they squabble. He does get frustrated though by unfairness and when he refuses to do what the teacher says, he does say its because she's being nasty. I think he means unfair but doesn't know how to verbalise it.

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