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anarchic child: have you got one? What do you Do with it?

(6 Posts)
binkie Tue 09-Aug-05 12:04:50

This is sort of funny and sort of agonising, so bear with me ..

ds, who's six, has been doing a drama club which ended up with a little performance based on Midsummer Night's Dream.

As it began, with a stageful of little kids hunkered down (except one) director announced "here is our performance of A Midsummer's Night's Dream". The unhuddled down child yelled, "nah, Winter Night's Dream" - a good few times till director gave in; to background of faint squeaks of disappointment from co-operating children. Glint in eye got sharper, rest of display got Worse. Frantic, verging on throat-cutting, gestures from me, which did cut some of it short - but aagh.

Now I realise an obvious answer is not to make him do precious stuff like baby Shakespeare BUT he was completely loving it, till it came to the performance. Then we got this compulsive transgression. And again, maybe that's not so bad in itself, but it was Not Fair on the other kids and their parents.

What would you do? And, since yet again no other child was doing this, do any of you have a child that would behave like this?

tabitha Tue 09-Aug-05 12:28:07


I don't have a child who would behave like this, but according to my dm I was the child who behaved like this
On many occasions I have heard her retelling the embarassing (for her anyway) story of my attempts at ballet lessons. Everything went fine until the 'BIG DISPLAY'. Ballet teacher is putting 40 odd little girls through their paces, says "First Position" girls. 39 little girls 'do' first position, I sit down and so it went on, and on with me doing the exact opposite of what we were supposed to do until the end of the display when she told the class to sit down and 39 little sat down and one (me) pranced around like an idiot.
Apparently my mother denied me many times that day and never, ever let me go back to ballet lessons again.
I however remember having a wonderful time and loved all the attention and power
So, don't worry too much about it. You'll look back and laugh one day, so my dm tells me.

triceratops Tue 09-Aug-05 12:35:35

I would cling to the faint positive that at least he is showing confidence and individuality. I imagine that the behaviour was not planned but after the initial joy of all that attention for being cheeky he would have revelled in it. Unfortunately some of the other kids may well think he was being funny, and he may grow up to be a comedian, but he risks being excluded from an activity that he obviously enjoys.

I would speak to the director and ask if he has any ideas on prevention next time. I bet your child is not the first one to do this and will not be the last.

frogs Tue 09-Aug-05 12:52:26

Binkie, you have my sympathies. I was similarly appalled by my dd1 putting on a knicker display during the infant Christmas play (think long white angel dress, tinsel halo, pink Barbie pants, evil gleam in eye). I'm still not sure to what extent it was deliberate (she was younger than your ds, admittedly), but the entire rest of the school was in creases, rather ruining the effect of infant piety.

Now ds would rather eat slugs than do anything like this, but he is one of life's conformists. I was watching him today in his swimming lesson, and he's always the first and most enthusiastic in following instructions -- I can see exactly why all teachers utterly adore him. But his ability is much closer to the average, so he's a much better 'fit' all round than dd1 is.

What did your ds have to say for himself when you raised it?

binkie Tue 09-Aug-05 13:25:43

frogs, how funny that your dd1 has done similar! I guess I didn't get him to explain himself - on past experience, he generally can't - will just say whatever vague, usually surreal, excuse happens to flit into his head. Not one for articulate self-knowledge. I think I would cope much better if I were seeing a conscious heckling purpose at work - might even be secretly proud.

Tabitha & triceratops, you are both right about revelling in the power - and yes I guess he does have individuality and confidence, plus what my mum slightly despairingly calls "independence of mind". I will talk to the director - it's so encouraging to hear he isn't unique, as I am quite weary of his teachers saying "in all my xxx years of teaching I have never come across ..." etc.

Also, Tabitha:

frogs Tue 09-Aug-05 13:39:47

Poor you, binkie -- it is so agonising seeing them do something awful from a distance that you have no control over, even if it's something innocuous and unintentional.

I know there are Issues with your ds, but this does sound as if it might be within the range of normal if unusual behaviour -- after all, it was very targetted, wasn't it? 'Anarchic' brings to mind an out-of-control child on the rampage, trashing the joint without sense or reason. Whereas this sounds more like a 'because I can' sort of power trip. He's v. bright, he had spare brain capacity even while rehearsing Shakespeare, and once the idea had formed in his mind, it must have been irresistable.

FWIW, if his teachers are giving you the "Never in all my years of teaching..." routine, that must be at least partly down to the fact that he's at a school with lots of other well-behaved middle-class kids. I think some of the stuff my dd1 has come out with is pretty outrageous, but because the school are used to dealing with with very severe behavioural and social problems, one lippy middle-class bright kid is not really seen as a problem, compared with kids who crawl around the floor barking, or call the teachers all the names under the sun. I think my dd1 would have been summarily ejected from an uptight girls' school by now; and I suspect many of your ds's teachers have just led very sheltered lives, and need to get out more.

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