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Gifted, talented and naughty!

(17 Posts)
CardiffUniversityNetballTeam Wed 19-Mar-14 10:31:00

DS is in year one. He is listed as G&T in literacy and is also working ahead of his class in numeracy. He has always been a very bright boy and me and his dad are ever so proud of him.

However, recently his behaviour both at school and at home has become increasingly "challenging" to say the least. I feel lime I'm banging my head against a brick wall. It feels like the arguing and answering back and not listening is never ending. When he is good, he is so much fun to be around. He's great company and a real character. But when he is bad he can be an absolute monster!

He shouts, throws things and lashes out. The tantrums come from seemingly nowhere. He asks to go to the park, I say we have to go home and change out of school uniform first. Cue a complete meltdown, screaming and shouting, tears and telling me how I've let him down and disappointed him!

I have to go and see his teacher this afternoon for the second time this term about his behaviour in school. I feel I could cope with behaviour at home better if I knew he was a good boy at school. His teacher tells me he doesn't listen to the instructions, calls out in class when he is supposed to be being quiet and is disruptive. She says oftentimes he is like this because he is so enthusiastic about the task but can't seem to keep himself under control.

Because he is so bright I think, and perhaps we have told him he is clever a lot, he thinks he knows the answer to everything and is always right. So when I tell him off he is always arguing back and questioning me, to the point where it's driving me mad. I often wish he wasn't so smart so I could just say "because I say so" and have done with it.

I feel like a bit of a failure as a mother this morning and really was just looking for some advice or support from parents in similar situations.


MrsSteptoe Wed 19-Mar-14 10:35:51

Oh dear, CardiffU, don't feel a failure, please! Life's too short to spend time being sad about your shortcomings as a mother. It's all a learning curve. I can't help directly with suggestions as your DS sounds very different to mine, but lots of other people will have. Read them through, and take those on board that sit right with your intuition, I suppose - good luck!

neolara Wed 19-Mar-14 10:39:37

I don't think being clever has anything to do with it. It sounds like he's just pushing boundaries and you need to treat him as you would any other child who is behaving badly. If he answers back, tell him he is being rude. If he doesn't do what he is told, issue a consequence. Like all children, he needs to learn what's appropriate.

Incidentally, it's probably really worth you reading this book. It's talks about the potential problems of telling your dcs they are clever. You could be setting him up for many problems later on.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 19-Mar-14 10:53:30

a lot of people think having a bright child should be easy but it isn't. honestly they are often INCREDIBLY hard work.

look at dabrowski's overexcitabilities on google, you might find a lot of things are familiar.

possible reasons he is playing up?

age - children this age do that, bright children often take it to more of an extreme IMO

something is bothering him - he can't deal with it or express it so is lashing out randomly (we get this a lot in our house)

intellect is way beyond emotional development - his brain is functioning at a different level to his emotions which are right for his age and may actually be a little immature for his age so the difference between the two leads to frustration and emotional outbursts

he is bored at school - he may be doing well but he could possibly be doing better.

he might be complacent at school - repeated dull easy instructions can cause bright children to switch off. DD complains of this. she says she has to sit through the same explanations and same instructions repeatedly for some of the children in the class and that why does she need to and I keep trying to explain she MUST keep listening or she might miss something important that might be different. I think it is quite common with bright children, the work is often so easy they assume they know what it is and they get used to that so assume they will always know what it is. they don't realise some children can't do those things as easily as they can.

school aren't being strong enough on discipline with him for speaking when he shouldn't? very hard - the teachers have identified it is enthusiasm so he can't stop himself so probably therefore don't want to be too hard on him but equally perhaps they need to be firmer with him so he learns not to do it.

possible ADD? I don't know - just a thought. I don't know anything really about ADD and ADHD but might be worth reading about just in case it might apply.

Any of us with even marginally difficult children feel like we are failing somehow but we really have to stop blaming ourselves. they are their own little people and we can influence them and try to teach them but they think for themselves and when they are particularly bright they tend to have an answer for everything and are probably brighter than we are.

CardiffUniversityNetballTeam Wed 19-Mar-14 10:53:42

Thanks to both for such quick replies.

I will definitely have a look at that book recommendation. Thank you.

I would like to add that I do, always tell him off when he is badly behaved, perhaps it sounded like I didn't in my OP. He has a warning to stop the behaviour and then there is a consequence. Sometimes a time out, a loss of screen time, removal of a toy.
At the moment he is also not having any screen time, sweets, trips to the park or pudding except fruit, until he can get through school without being on behaviour tracking.

It's the constant arguing back during the telling off and the always assuming he is right that I am struggling with.

CardiffUniversityNetballTeam Wed 19-Mar-14 10:54:27

Ooh x post there nonickname. Will read your post through one and reply shortly.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 19-Mar-14 11:00:37

sorry meant to finish part of that - the bit where I said they don't realise some children can't do those things as easily as they can should have gone on to say I think bright children in the lower years of school don't actually know what 'working' means, they might 'do' something but quite often they don't really have to think about things so they genuinely haven't yet learned that most people in the world do have to think about things and learn new things every day. I am not sure if that makes sense but I really think they do switch off and just think 'this is easy' without realising that it won't always be easy so they need to listen and apply.

with regards to the telling children they are clever thing I am split on that. I can see the argument for not doing so, there was similar said about not telling little girls they are beautiful and so on but I think it is ok to tell them they are clever, it is ok to know you are clever but you need to do it in such a way that they process it internally and therefore THEY recognise how they are succeeding and why. so telling them you are proud of them because they are clever should be changed IMO to saying something like you are proud of them because they worked hard, even if they found it easy, and tried to do x y or z and that they should be proud of themselves. that way they are feeling praised by you, recognising that the praise is because of effort and work and also learning that they should be pleased with themselves for the same reasons. Does that make sense?

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 19-Mar-14 11:02:48

thing is YOU might be telling him off but what are school doing?

I am not one for reward charts particularly but do you think perhaps him having one that if the teacher says he has been better in class, not shouted out or something then he can have a sticker and then save up the stickers for something or if that requires too much communication with the teacher then maybe say to him that if the teacher says after 2 weeks he has made a real effort and improved then he could have something small as a reward?

CardiffUniversityNetballTeam Wed 19-Mar-14 11:14:54

Thanks. Nonickname.

Some really interesting points. The overexcitabilities definitely seem very familiar, I will read some more about them later.

I think, and certainly hope, his age might be a factor. I read somewhere that they have a big hormone surge at this age so I think that might be having an impact, especially the aggression which is a new thing.

I think the school are quite good in recognising his needs. He goes into the year above for literacy and always has differentiated work. I can understand how it must be hard for him if he has to wait for things to be explained to others when he already understands or thinks he understands what needs to be done. I will talk to him about listening all the time in case the instructions change though.

The behaviour tracking at school is in six stages. They start everyday on the Rainbow then move through Reminder, One, Two, Three and Four depending on how naughty they are. Children who stay on the Rainbow all term get a gold certificate and their name on an honour roll at the end of term. DS starts every term desperate to stay on the rainbow. In the past he has usually been in rainbow or reminder most days with the occasional One. Before half term he made it to a Four and he has been on a Three yesterday and the day before, hence my having to go in this afternoon.

I think I am going to move away from praising him for being clever and try to praise him more for his behaviour, like for being polite or kind or helpful instead.

Thanks again for the replies.

Martorana Wed 19-Mar-14 11:19:26

I used to tell my children that they had the sort of brain that finds school work easier than some other children. In the same way that somebody else might find football or music easier than others. Nothing to be proud of- certainly something to be pleased about- but just a difference like loads of other differences.

Basketofchocolate Wed 19-Mar-14 11:37:27

I don't have any solutions, but it seems that there is a general feeling that high performance = high maintenance.

I already have the answering back with rational arguments - about since he could talk! smile

We try really hard not to tell him that he's clever but nursery and school seem to have no problems with it - drives me mad.

I would agree with above about teaching them to learn. If school is too easy challenge them at home as much as possible.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 19-Mar-14 12:14:50

perhaps not one to tackle at the moment if he is having a difficult patch but it is also worth teaching them to fail and to persevere. otherwise they don't get to learn that nothing bad happens if you get work wrong and that you have to practice to get good at something. most children learn this very early but it can be hard for children who find work easy to learn this.

Kleinzeit Wed 19-Mar-14 18:07:03

Well, first things first. Don’t punish him at home for anything he does at school, not unless the teacher specifically asks you to or it’s something really really serious like aggression. The school have got to figure out what discipline works for him in the situation. You can’t do it for them later on at home and all that double punishments achieve is to make your DS feel more and more stressed and miserable and ratty at home as well as school.

“Because I say so” is a fine attitude to take no matter how clever he is, though it may not be the right thing to say out loud – maybe repeat “because it’s what we need to do” instead. And use the old “when-then” to get him to do what has to be done - “WHEN you have changed your shoes THEN we can play in the park” . Be boring and repetitive. Avoid “telling him off”, just tell him what you want him to do right now. Neither of you need the argument.

By all means using consequences for disobedience etc when he’s with you but also do lots of extra “positive parenting” too. Praise, rewards, shared play, shared attention. He’s having a tough time at school and he probably feels pretty bad inside about it.

You can of course take all this with the usual pinch of salt, but I am the mother of Mr Highly Intelligent and Atrociously Behaved and the above is what I did to get the teacher saying to me “well I don’t know what you are doing at home but please carry on it’s making a huge difference here” smile

Best of luck, it isn't always easy!

CardiffUniversityNetballTeam Wed 19-Mar-14 19:57:38

Thanks Keinzeit, a really useful, helpful post. I appreciate your insight.

I see what you mean about not punishing him at home for bad behaviour at school. What I really want to do is reward him for good behaviour. All I want is to be able to say "well done for getting on the rainbow, let's get some sweets and go to the park to celebrate."

Sitting with him and his teacher this afternoon was hopefully beneficial. She asked him for his own ideas to help improve his behaviour which was really nice. He has asked to sit in a different space on the carpet and to sit next to one of his classmates who is always good and has never been on behaviour tracking. Hopefully some her good choices will rub off on him!!

I am going to focus on keeping discipline simple and no nonsense, it worked when he was a toddler and I'm definitely going to use some of the suggestions on this thread. And I'm going to really try not to lose my temper.

Oh and I will drink wine after he has gone to bed!

simpson Wed 19-Mar-14 21:09:24

You could be writing about my DD, also in yr1 and very strong in literacy and reading.

What has worked is making sure she is catered for at school (this has stopped the most of her tantrums) and going with whatever she is into at home (keeping her busy) which is currently her microscope.

Her behaviour at school is now great (was awful at the beginning of the school year) but she will push buttons.

Personally I am not a fan of kids going to the year above for lessons as it seems a very easy way to accommodate a child and maybe makes them feel different/stand out and the older kids resenting the younger/smaller kid who might be better than them academically. DD's school luckily feel the same and she is more than catered for at school although she does have a couple of 121 lessons a week with KS1 Head.

At one point her teacher mentioned a home link book for me to write her bad and good behaviour in and the school would support me (luckily we did not need it) so maybe you could try something like that?

AbbyR1973 Sat 22-Mar-14 22:25:21

Am having similar issues with DS1 just for the last 2 months.
I was called in to discuss some behaviour issues at school- this was mostly low level thoughtless, impulsive behaviour. His teacher, who is lovely and very good said she didn't think he was being naughty on purpose but just a bit thoughtless. Since then at home I have had more very impulsive behaviour and he completely loses a plot if he persistently does something naughty and I put a sanction in place. I'm on my own and he's a big strong boy so it's hard work. The teacher was very clear to say that she doesn't think it's that he isn't being challenged- not that I had suggested it might be a cause- but she was clearly worried I might think this.
At home I have been on a 2 pronged attack. Firstly trying extra hard to notice any positive behaviour from DS1 or DS2 and make a big fuss of it. Secondly I have bit of a script prepared when he is persistently naughty. He has warning, he continues then there is a consequence. If he has a consequence I make a point of saying that he has a choice, that he can choose to carry on with naughty behaviour in which case there will be a consequence (which he won't like) or he can do as he has been asked. Afterwards when he's calmed down we have a debrief and again I point out that choosing to continue with naughty behaviour won't get him what he wants. If he's had a really bad day at bedtime we might discuss what he's learned, what went well, what he would do differently tomorrow/ if the same situation arose. I've also found that if he misbehaves there is usually a reason. At the moment he seems to be having some difficulties with the year2 boys. Individually it's all very trivial but it seems to be repetitive and I think he's finding it difficult. He is in a mixed year class but does all his work with the year 2's, rather than his year 1 peer group. I am wondering if some of the year 2's are beginning to take exception to this bright little boy as they consider the year 1's to be the babies in the class... Also he came out of school one day saying he didn't know why he was doing xyz piece of work anyway as he'd only have to do it again next year when he is in year 2. I think he hasn't figured that next year when he's in year 2 he'll be doing something beyond year 2 work so thinks he'll have to repeat it because that's what you learn in year 2.
On the stretching front, the report came home last week and says his next steps are telling time to half/ quarter hour and multiplication/ division. Now since he has been telling the time to the nearest 5 mins since the summer hols and understands multiplication as repeated addition, is able to apply it to problems and knows 2,4,5,10 and bizarrely 9 times tables. The homework he gets in maths takes him less than 5 mins and he doesn't need to engage his brain to do it.
Long post OP but the bottom line is I think the behaviour issues are a big mash up of being 6 years old, beginning to realise you're not quite the same as the other children, and trying to process what his place in school is and what it means for him as well as being very bright. If it helps you aren't a bad Mum unless I am too!! I am going for the being supportive and loving but very firm with clear boundaries but it is blooming hard work.

CardiffUniversityNetballTeam Tue 25-Mar-14 15:24:04

Hi Abby. Thanks for your post. Always comforting to know others are facing similar challenges. I hope you are continuing to make progress.
We have seen some good improvement over the last couple of days with DS behaviour at home and school. By no means the model of a perfect child, but I am happy to take the small victories where I can!!

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