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Extreme, violent tantrums in school age ds. Advice desperately needed!

(19 Posts)
Lanky Fri 13-Feb-09 11:18:43

Ds started school in January and his teacher has complained several times that he is badly behaved in the class. He?s fine during activities, but when they are required to sit down on the carpet he won?t sit, he talks and fidgets and even lies down. When he gets told off he often throws a tantrum.

His behaviour at home since he has started school has been appalling. He?s been throwing terrible, violent tantrums. If something goes wrong or he doesn?t get his own way he flies at DP or me, hits, kicks, bites and throws things around the house. I can?t put him in his room because he will simply throw everything around in anger and possibly hurt himself in the process.

These tantrums are worse on Saturdays than any other day.

I?m extremely worried about this and have spoken to the teacher. Unfortunately, she has no experience of the nice, well behaved DS and thinks that he is a naughty boy who throws a fit if he doesn?t get his own way.

When I mentioned to her about the tantrums coinciding with the start of school, she thought I was implying that he had picked up this behaviour at school and was quite defensive about it.

It?s not all bad news though. He attends the after school club and the woman who runs it told me what a very well behaved and polite boy she found him to be. I quizzed about this and told her the problems he?d been having in the classroom and she was surprised.

In terms of how we deal with him; he has a reward chart for good behaviour, which he does seem to respond to and he loses TV and/or computer privileges for tantrums and bad behaviour at home.

I really am at a loss as to how to deal with this. I feel so sorry for him as he seems so desperately unhappy at the moment. I make sure that when he is well behaved that we are pleased with him and I remind him constantly of how nice life is when he is well behaved.

Any advice would be very welcome.

Thanks in advance

Lanky Fri 13-Feb-09 11:43:45

Any advice?

MrsPurple Fri 13-Feb-09 11:52:23

Hi Lanky, poor you attached is a link you made be interested in to another thread, very similar.

Lanky Fri 13-Feb-09 12:16:07

Thanks. I'll have a read

Dingbatgirl Fri 13-Feb-09 12:22:31

Hi Lanky ..... My ds also had difficulty settling down in school when he started reception, hitting, crying alot, etc. I think you should go to the head of year or the Headteacher, the teacher does not sound very helpful. My son had (and is still having, at year 2) special help in a small group with a specially trained support assistant. He must be feeling very bewildered by the new experience and doesn't know how to respond.

PrettyCandles Fri 13-Feb-09 12:28:31

I have been reading this book recently. I don't think my dd is quite what is described, but, as she is having a lot of problems that are similar, I think it may help me help her. Idon't find it a very readable book, but I'm just at the begining of my search.

One of the major points he brings up is the difficulty some children have with switching activities, especially from a very engrossing activity or to one that requires a very different level of activity/involvement.

While your post suggests to me that the source of the problem my well be your ds's relationship with the teacher, if she is unwilling to change then you have to do so, and to teach him strategies to deal with the problems he encounters in school.

Smee Fri 13-Feb-09 12:29:31

I agree wiht Dingbat. Insist on a meeting with the teacher/ head. Tell them this is new and ask them how you can work together to nip it in the bud. If you tell the teacher what the afterschool person said it might shock her into listening. My son's old friend from nursery's been having similar problems, and he's a gorgeous boy, really sensitive, bright and funny. They've found the school to be really helpful and he's calming down a bit now (he started in September). I can't believe it's all that unusual tbh. It's a huge thing starting school. He's just finding it hard, that's all.

Lanky Fri 13-Feb-09 12:38:02

Thanks for all of your messages. The teacher makes me feel as though I were back at school! She is right in that Ds has to behave and has to listen to her, but he's obviously struggling a lot as his behaviour at home demonstrates.

The switching activities point that you make PrettyCandles is very interesting and will get that book.

Ds has been at nursery full time since he was six months' old and we've never experienced anything like this, which makes me convinced that its the classroom setting that he's finding disturbing.

Smee - I read some of your posts of the thread that Mrs Purple linked me to and you clearly have a lot of experience of this and you make some interesting points. Ds really can't help his behaviour and I feel very bad for punishing him. I have tried to hug approach, which sometimes works, but I sometimes get slapped across the face, which makes things worse.

If things don't improve after half term I will arrange to have a meeting with the head of year. She's lovely and I think will by sympathetic.

Thanks again.

estland Sun 15-Feb-09 16:12:35

Quite honestly, in no other country children are required to sit on the carpet at any time when listening to a book/story/chat etc.
This is a typically British (maybe American) habit at your Pre-Schools and Schools.

I was myself quite horrified by it when saw it in our pre-school.

I specifically said to teachers that our child should not sit on the carpet like a monkey in the zoo. There are chairs and tables for this purpose!

Smee Sun 15-Feb-09 20:41:22

Will the teacher let you go into the school and watch for a morning or something. Okay so it might make him behave badly - my son's always worse when I'm there grin - but then you'd know what he's faced with and how strict it is. You'd also get a clearer idea of how the teacher deals with him. From what you've said, his teacher sounds far from good. If my son's reception teacher was like that I'd be far from happy. At DS's school, they do loads and loads of free-play and then there are set twenty minute bursts of concentration time scattered throughout the day. Seems to work well for his class. Maybe your son's school's more structured?
Estland, was curious about your comment. At my DS's school there simply aren't 30 chairs/ tables, so no way could they all sit at them for stories. I think I'd hate it if they did as it would feel more regimented. Am not saying there aren't chairs and tables, but the clarssroom space is used imaginatively with space for them to roll around and build things on the floor if they want. Seems preferable to me.

Lanky Mon 16-Feb-09 10:56:40

I think there is a lot of free play and not that much structure. I think tiredness plays a part in this. The teacher says he often starts to fall asleep as soon as they sit down. He's probably fidgeting to prevent himself from sleeping.

Smee Mon 16-Feb-09 11:36:03

Aw, he's so little still, it's no wonder he's being a bit unlike himself if he's that tired. Not sure if your life allows it, but have you thought of taking him out for a couple of afternoons a week until he gets a bit more stamina? I've kept DS at home a couple of days this half term because I felt he was too exhausted to cope. He was getting to the point where he wasn't enjoying school as he was so tired, which imo is counter productive. I told him he had a temperature because I don't want him to think school's optional. Am glad I did it though, as it topped up his energy levels and both times he bounced into school next day really happy to be there. I don't think I'm that unusual in doing it.

Lanky Mon 16-Feb-09 13:46:19

He is little, but he's on half term this week and very happy and hopefully will be able to catch up on sleep.

I wonder if some of the problem is down to the structure of the class. Half the class is year 1 and the other half reception. Vertical streaming I think it's called.

It must be quite difficult for the teacher to manage such a wide age range of children, which is probably why she finds ds's behaviour annoying. Ds is expected to behave like a 5/6 year old even though he's not 5 until late spring.

CarGirl Mon 16-Feb-09 13:49:55

If he's been at the same daycare nursery since he was 6 months old until he started school in Jan perhaps that is a key part of the problem? Everything he has ever known has gone, his friends, his routine, the building, his keyworker, his "position" in the nursery pack. That is a huge thin IMHO

Lanky Mon 16-Feb-09 13:56:19

That does make sense cargirl, except that he hasn't been in the same place. He's changed nursery a couple of times due to a house move and problems with a nursery. He never had problems settling in and has always proved to be very adaptable. He took to the after school club straightaway and is very happy there. It's just the class room that he has problems with.

thecloudhopper Mon 16-Feb-09 19:23:00

what I would make sure I would do is I would make sure that you and the school are singing from the same hyme sheet with regads to tackling negative behaviour. One thing I would suggest is that if the school find him difficult during times when he must comply, is give him pleanty of warning explainin g that in a few minuets he will need to sit on the carpet. I would also suggest the use of an egg timer where he knows he can play until the timer goes off, when it does he must come and do x. Maybe the new routine has thrown him. Perhaps you could ( I know its hard) ignore the bad behaviour and walk away so that he learns for good behaviour he gets youyr time and attention buit for a tantrum he gets nothing. If in the process he makes a mess, when he has calmed down i would make him clear up the mess he has made, praising him after for tyding up.

thecloudhopper Mon 16-Feb-09 19:23:22

Ihope that helps

Lanky Wed 18-Feb-09 11:33:19

Hi cloudhopper. Thanks for your suggestions. I do the warning/kitchen timer thing at home and it does work. He also has a clear idea of what will happen if he doesn't comply - ie lose computer/tv time. Not sure how they deal with this in class. I need to speak to the teacher after half term.

thecloudhopper Wed 18-Feb-09 20:53:49

Yes I would and let them know what you do at home. It sound like the teacher is not copeing very well. Sit down have a chat. The other thing I would suggest is that there are some good sticker charts/ behaviour chatrs on sparklebox (just type taht into google) maybe the school could look at those.

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