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Is this fair?

(22 Posts)
gracemargaret Wed 14-May-08 19:42:29

Today my dd 8 was not allowed to use the computer at school which she had been promised she could when she'd asked (politely) yesterday. There appeared to be a valid reason but she had been planning to work on this project she is doing and had spent ages planning exactly what she wanted to do and so consequently burst into tears and continued sobbing for some time (shaking, repeating how unfair it all was over and over again).

Whilst she wasn't rude or naughty I obviously understand that she needs to learn that it is not acceptable to fall to pieces over tiny disappointments, but what annoyed me is that my dd was told - "of course you can help it", "snap out of it" and "get a grip" along with "you're only doing it for attention" (which I know is not true). No one would dream of saying these things to a kid who was struggling with maths and yet somehow it seems OK when a child struggles with emotional control.

Just wondered if this was unfair or whether I am being unreasonable/oversensitive.

Have had a bit of teasing about the way she talks also this week so maybe just letting it get to me a bit too much.

Elasticwoman Wed 14-May-08 20:11:35

Gracemargaret - have you ever tried controlling a group of 20 or 30 8 year olds, with perhaps one other adult in the room if you are lucky?

"Get a grip" etc are unsympathetic, unhelpful instructions, but the teacher was probably at the end of her tether, perhaps with insufficient support.

As a teacher myself, I would want to let the child have some time out in this situation, in order to calm down, but this may not have been possible. Also, did the teacher suggest another time when your dd would be allowed to use the computer?

I think it would be worth having a word with the teacher, letting her know how distressed and disappointed your dd was and asking how dd can work towards the emotional maturity that at 8 years old she doesn't yet have. If you can discuss this in a non-confrontational way, the teacher may take on board that she or he dealt with it rather badly, without your having to point it out.

Twiglett Wed 14-May-08 20:15:19

have you ever taught her how to get control of her emotions through breathing exercises? I think that might be valuable to you and her

gracemargaret Wed 14-May-08 21:42:35

Have tried breathing but she forgets when I am not there (although haven't done for a bit so might try again) - we have also had a scale system where I asked her to think of a 1 to ten scale of disappointing things and appropriate reactions to them - have had some sucess with this ie she will acknowledge that she is at an 8 when she should be a 2 etc - although then she feels very confused and ashamed and cries more.

The teacher (not her usual class teacher which may have also contributed) said she could not use the computer at all if she was going to behave like this - it's a village primary with very small class of 9 very well behaved children (mine being the exception today!!) so I do think it could have been managed better.

I know I am probably am being oversensitive and will let it go as her usual teacher will be back tomorrow - just made me sad as I realised it is going to get harder for her the older she gets as this kind of behaviour is viewed as less "acceptable".

Twiglett Wed 14-May-08 21:46:01

I'm afraid that beyond reception year this kind of behaviour will always be viewed as unacceptable, which probably doesn't make it any easier for you

I think you should probably resurrect the breathing techniques, but maybe also speak to her form teacher about what you perceive happened and whether they can do any supportive work in school

is it just dealing with disappointment she finds difficult

Heated Wed 14-May-08 21:51:31

Are the phrases verbatim? Some I could imagine being said like 'of course you can help it' and, depending on tone, 'snap out of it' if dd did prolonged crying and toddler-tantrum(?) 'it's not fair'.

Have you had a chance to speak to class teacher about dd's upset?

The fact that she is G&T, I would hazard, is irrelevent.

gracemargaret Wed 14-May-08 22:14:42

phrases were verbatim - don't think she would lie and usually remembers things accurately.

It is disappointment mainly, particulary if things don't go as she had planned or turn out how she had hoped - she also worries constantly about crazy things that "might" (in reality won't) happen. However she is very good at acccepting criticism and when she has been naughty (which is very rare tbh) she will not cry when told off so her emotional immaturity is only in certain areas which I think probably are tied in with her being bright - although agree this is irrelevant when thinking about how best to deal with it. Will mention to class teacher

What breathing techniques have you used Twiglett - we just did in through nose and out through mouth (or was it the other way around).

Heated Wed 14-May-08 22:46:20

Poor dd. Does she visualise how to cope with situations? How she might respond? Obviously you can't cover every eventuality but it gives her the phrases and an approach to use - 'the tools' - that she might not yet have. That worked for me when her age and I hate to say it, but just growing up too helped a lot. It's a tricky stage where emotional sensitivity that makes her bright can also be problematic. But a firm 'no' to the tantrums (maybe not the right word, but the 'it's not fair' reminded me of ds today) as otherwise she'll not get the more sympathetic response from an adult in charge and might heighten the teasing you mentioned.

gracemargaret Thu 15-May-08 09:44:46

she can visualise how to cope and does try very hard (sometimes at home she will go to her room and I can hear her talking to herself saying things like "I musn't do this, it's stupid, just calm down and gulping in trying to control her breathing). dh and I used to take a much firmer stance on it than we do now ie "Firm No/this is not acceptable/ignoring" but after years with little success and self esteem issues, we are now trying to be a bit more supportive and focus on trying to help her calm down. As you say though heated she won't always get this sympathetic approach at school so maybe we are making things worse. It's a shame because school say the rest of the time she is a delight to have around etc etc. Thanks for all your advice and hope, as you say, it is just something she will grow out of.

binkleandflip Thu 15-May-08 09:47:11

Is she an only child?

gracemargaret Thu 15-May-08 09:57:20

No has a younger sister who we have no problems with at all - very confident happy little girl. She has also had me as a SAHM for 3 years running toddler group, having lots of other kids back to play (not that she ever played with any of them much!) so has had ample opportunity to learn these skills.

She is just incredibly oversensitive and I truly believe does find it genuinely much harder than say her younger sister does to control her emotions.

The self esteem is a problem because she really hates herself for behaving like this and feels a failiure.

ahundredtimes Thu 15-May-08 10:00:40

Gosh, it's all quite intense isn't it.

I don't think she's let herself or the whole school down by crying because she wasn't allowed on the computer. Do you?

You sound like you do all the right things, and that the teacher was just a tad exasperated by the wailing.

Don't fret too much. She's not difficult, she presumably just thought it was a terrible injustice. I'd have probably cried too, and I've have wanted to thump annoying denying teacher - so she didn't do that.

To be honest - I would leave it. Supply teacher, long day, upset daughter.

Open the windows. Tell a joke. Let her do the project at home?

binkleandflip Thu 15-May-08 10:00:51

Its tricky, my dd is also hyper-sensitive - she has just turned 6 - is in year 1 and cried every morning going into school still - upsetting for me but no doubt irritating for her teacher who has to settle her every day before attending to the rest of the class.

I have tried to give her tools and motivation to calm down a bit but I think I am beginning to accept that the only way she will learn is to get on with life and be upset basically and when she stops crying thats when she will realise she can and has addressed and overcome those feelings.

ahundredtimes Thu 15-May-08 10:02:45

Also, you know what I wouldn't say to her 'you must control how you react in situations like that'

I would say 'you cried and cried because you wanted to go on the computer and you were told you were allowed, to and then you weren't. That is very frustrating'

And then let her talk about it.

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 15-May-08 10:05:49

my dd does tend to cry when shes not happy with her work - shes very self critical (doesnt cry when she hurts herself or teased though) Her teacher is really good - she just ignores the crying and tackles the problem. At home when it happens I ask dd if she needs some space - she always does and it calms her down really quickly. The more people badger her whether to stop crying or to try and calm her down the worse she gets.

I wonder if it might be helpful for your dd, if it is, then you could talk to her teacher and say that you 'understand there was an incident where she lost control of her emotions; heres what I find works well at home....'

I've the same emotional make-up as dd. My parents did the 'don't cry approach' which actually didn't help - still had the emotions, just learned to stuff them inside.

Have you read 'The highly Sensitive child'? I did find some aspects of it quite helpful.

binkleandflip Thu 15-May-08 10:05:49

yes, agree with 100x - you have to allow that anger and frustration to come out - its natural. Dont try and suppress it . You know yourself that if your peed off, nothing is more annoying that being told to calm down and b-r-e-a-t-h-e grin

She has to learn to acknowledge that its ok to be annoyed about stuff - but then move on, get over it.

ahundredtimes Thu 15-May-08 10:11:11

Oh yes, I should have said I'm not saying this lightly. DS1 VERY like this but less so now he's ten, and ds2 AND dd actually. My god, I've got a house full.

So, in my experience when you say - and I have said - 'but you can't react like that when someone has done something unjust, it's life'

not helpful - they KNOW that. And then they feel bad about their response too.

So I learnt much better to say -

'yes, very frustrating, awful feeling when you're told you can't' or whatever. In fact since I switched tactics, everyone much better at managing their intense feelings, because they don't feel bad about them.

Though really, we need to be telling the teacher this don't we?

seeker Thu 15-May-08 10:25:51

What would you have liked the teacher to say?

TBH, I think I would be a bit unsympathetic to a NT child having a meltdown because she couldn't have exactly what she wanted when she wanted it - although I do object to the "you're only doing it for attention" bit - that's one of my pet hates!

And actually, I do thing repeatedly saying to a teacher that something's unfair - (particularly when it's not) - is rude, and I would expect my child to get into trouble if he did that.

Sorry - am I being too harsh?

gracemargaret Thu 15-May-08 12:20:58

Given that she is so well behaved most of the time and had been "promised" the day before I can understand why she "felt" it was unfair. She has been taught to believe that promises should be kept etc and will have probably taken this far too literally. I do know the sense of huge injustice will have felt very real to her!

I agree that once she had calmed down then a discussion about how disruptive to others her behaviour was or how life sometimes can't always be fair etc etc might have been appropriate - but I'm not sure telling her off would help (she feels bad enough about it already) or make it less likely to happen again.

I do wonder about how NT she is sometimes as she does have other problems (tics/synesthesia etc). But maybe you're not being to harsh seeker and I'm just looking for something to excuse bad behavior.

ahundredtimes Thu 15-May-08 12:27:17

But the behaviour wasn't BAD. She was pissed off and let down and felt that intensely and let it show because she is, um, 8, and she feels things strongly. Fair enough.

You can understand why the teacher was snappy? Yes? I can.

You seem v. preoccupied about it. I wonder if you have niggling doubts and concerns about her? Is this something else where you think 'is that OK? Is this a normal response?' and then that becomes a bit defensive, and you blame the teacher.

That's what it sounds like.

I know that feeling. DS1 used to have tics too.

gracemargaret Thu 15-May-08 13:03:58

It's not really this incident in isolation you are right - and I do have corncerns about her (history of bipolar disorder and suicide in family doesn't help).

God I am probably worrying far too much - although I still stand by what I said - the teachers comments were not very well chosen or helpful (I have let it go though honest! - just came on MN to assist in that process!.

100x hope you don't mind me asking what age did your ds1's tics stop - she's in a quietish phase atm and hoping she will grow out of them.

Rookielove Wed 05-Oct-11 19:03:51

binkleandflip, please tell me you're not generalizing all only children. You don't have to be an only child to cry. All children cry.

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