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5 yr old has had personality change since starting school

(6 Posts)
northernlass2 Sat 15-Feb-14 22:59:55

I'm having some problems with my 5 yr old son and wondered if any of you have experienced anything similar and could perhaps offer some advice?

My son started school last Sept and at first seemed to settle in quite well. However, since Christmas, it's as if he has had a personality transplant! He has become aggressive towards his friend from nursery (in same class) and has started having tantrums over ridiculous things (we somehow missed the terrible two's!!??) and trouble getting to sleep.

He comes home saying the strangest things, sometimes quite worrying...
"I'm going to kill myself"
"I can't go to sleep because my brain won't let me sleep"
"I wish everyone would just leave me alone at school"
"Everyone at school hates me and calls me stupid"

He has been obsessed with superheros since he was about 3 and I sometimes think he really does believe he has super-powers...! He has always been a happy, fun-loving child but recently he has become moody, almost like a teenager, naughty and sometimes quite withdrawn. Nothing has changed at home so I can only assume it's something to do with settling in at school.

I have spoken to his teacher a couple of times and she is happy with his progress although she said he is struggling to focus and doesn't listen in a group, but is ok on a 121 basis. He is a reluctant reader but I'm told that a lot of boys struggle with reading in reception class.

I realise that starting school is a massive change for him and it's possible I'm just being neurotic. The comments about killing could just be related to games about goodies and baddies in the playground..... but it's just worrying when he seems like a different child and when we sometimes have tears before school, I just want to be able to fix whatever is upsetting him.

Any ideas, anyone? Any advice much appreciated.

Thanks

stinkypants Sun 16-Feb-14 08:13:18

Hi
My son is 5 too and I am also a primary teacher.
My thoughts are that he is experiencing and adjusting to fairly normal things related to school. At home children are the bees knees and the centre of attention but when they start school they will be one of the crowd, waiting for attention and not always getting it. There will be other children who are louder and take up the adults' time and because they can't see everything the will be times when other children get away with being less nice than we'd like.
Coupled with that, it sounds like there are other children showing more reading readiness which maybe he picks up on and feels less confident.
I really think another chat with the teacher would be worthwhile so she or he can reassure you and investigate whether there is any thing else. They should be able to offer nurture groups or similar and maybe be able to give him a little job to do that he would look forward to.

PoorOldCat Sun 16-Feb-14 08:37:43

It' simple, he is really tired and really overstimulated.

I would suggest that you keep things very plain - pick him up and give him a snack immediately, to get his blood sugar onto an even keel - early bedtime, lots of one to one time, that sort ofthing.

Avoid too much sugar and chocolate as they act as stimulants - this is a boy who needs a lot of downtime to compensate.

Or if you're more radical, you could take him out of school for a year or two till you feel he is more able to cope with it.

School is very hard for some children - not the work itself, but the continual input from other people, not being allowed to follow their own moods and impulses - especially little boys with a testosterone thing going on - they have to sit down, sit still, not talk, not go to the loo when they want, not run about when they want, instructions instructions all day.

It's hard. He can't wind down, in this situation I found having half days at school very beneficial as it allowed ds to recharge his little batteries during the afternoon and sometimes have a nap.

Schools aren't always this flexible though and ours only let me do that for a term before they got antsy.

So I took him out till he was a bit bigger.

It's up to you how you handle it but I would put money on these being the issues.

PoorOldCat Sun 16-Feb-14 08:40:08

I meant to say, the good stuff is hard too - imagine you've gone to a big party type convention thing, loads of exciting stuff to do and interesting people to talk to and then you get home and you are buzzing.

you probably would be exhausted but wouldn't be able to sleep till you had processed it all in your mind. What did so and so say, what did I say to this person, did I make a fool of myself, etc etc

he needs to process all this every day. I think it is often, very often too much for a small child to manage.

MummyRaptor Sun 16-Feb-14 16:06:22

You poor thing, it must be so worrying! I think PoorOldCat gives some great advice.

My DD started reception in September too after turning 4 in July. All went smoothly for a time but she then rapidly descended into what I can only describe as a jibbering wreck. Huge blow out tantrums every night lasting for hours, then she stopped eating and sleeping, she regressed in all areas so she didnt feel able to dress or toilet by herself. She then developed anxiety itching!

I discussed these issues with the school on numerous occasions. I explained that she was tired and was possibly finding the classroom overwhelming. I was told that the classroom was not overwhelming and being tired was normal. At school she was very well behaved although as you say not focusing or listening very well.

As the problems got worse and I wanted to try part time the school really dug their heels in saying they had never experienced a child suffering from exhaustion and told me anything other than full time was illegal after Christmas! This is of course nonsense for 4 year olds.

As DS was in such a desperate state and the school seemingly so unwilling to help we pulled her out. She took a while to get back to her old self but now she is the happy fun child we know. Doing little bits at home with me her reading is now at the level of her peers where she was refusing to participate before.. At school her confidence levels also plummeted so hopefully we'll see an improvement there too.

We'll see how we go but maybe we'll try (a different) school for year 1.

Sorry for the long response I just thought how similar our children are and wanted you to know that I think this isn't uncommon at all!

northernlass2 Sun 23-Feb-14 01:30:44

Thanks everyone. We've just had a really nice half term week at home and he seems to have enjoyed having a break from school. He is definitely tired, there's no doubt about that. He goes to bed at 7.30 every night and has a fairly strict routine and we try to limit sweets to weekends only as I know that too many sweets can make them a bit crazy!!
Having spoken to several other mums over half term, it sounds as if this is a very common problem with reception class kids, and maybe even boys in particular. I am seeing his teacher after school on Monday so hopefully she will be able to give me a little bit more reassurance as well.
Thanks again for all the tips, much appreciated. :-)

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