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problems with a child in DS's reception class - what do i do next?

(32 Posts)
vnmum Tue 21-Sep-10 16:33:19

DS started reception this year and this is his third week in school. The first week went without a hitch. From the second week DS has either come home with bruises, scratches or saying that his lunch has been thrown on the floor or he has been ragged around by another child. It is the same child that he says is doing everything.

When the first incident happened it was the other child throwing DS's sandwich on the floor so DS couldn't eat all his lunch. I told DS not to sit next to the other boy at lunch then the next day he said the other boy followed him and through some other lunch items on the floor. By chance that night we had a meet the teacher evening so i mentioned to his teacher what was happening and they said they were addressing it.

Anyway, yesterday this child pushed DS over, today DS had scratches on his face and said this same child had pushed him over again. DS also said he had told a teacher what had happened and that the teacher hadn't done anything. I spoke to DS's reception teacher after school today and she said they were aware of problems and that the other boys mum was being spoken to tonight.

Now i know boys can play rough and things can get out of hand but DS is also a timid character and i have seen him being pushed around by so called friends at soft play areas and not standing up for himself. We were also told by his nursery teacher that because of his personality he could be a potential target for bullies when he is at school.

So really i would like ideas of where i go from here if the behaviour from this other boy continues. DH wants to teach DS how to punch so he can hit back but I think that will then get DS into trouble for hitting even if he felt pushed to it.

Obviously i am only hearing DS's side of things and don't want to be all PFB about it but i also don't want him being potentially bullied.


LinenBasket Tue 21-Sep-10 16:38:59

At this stage, i would mention it to the3 teacher and ask them to keep an eye on lunchtimes to establish just what is going on.

midnightexpress Tue 21-Sep-10 16:41:32

I'm afraid I don't have much advice for you, but wanted to mark my place, as something similar is happening to a friend's DD in DS1's class. She's actually quite feisty, but a bunch of boys rugby tackled her and gave her a right old shiner the other day - even the doctor was a bit shock when he saw it. The teacher has addressed it with the boys, but it still seems to be happening. It's hard when they are so young, as I don't think they really realise at that age how easy it is to hurt people.

DuchessOfAvon Tue 21-Sep-10 16:44:48

It is the teacher's responsibility to resolve this not your son's. He did the right thing by going to the teacher.

Fine that the teacher is addressing it with the other child's parent, but I think you need some reassurance about how any future incidents will be handled so that your son feels supported and you are confident he will be lsitened to.

I think you need to see the teacher and ask what her strategies are for dealing with this child and how you can encourage your child to avail himself of her support. You and your son need to be confident that the right people are there for him - sounds like he needs a named person in the dinner supervision team too.

BellevilleRendezvous Tue 21-Sep-10 16:45:06

Bullying in Reception is not on. Well it's not on at any age, but 4/ 5 year olds should not be having their lunch thrown on the floor or being hit and scratched.

I would escalate it right now. it is no good teacher saying "we're keeping an eye out". They need to tackle this and stop it right now. It is the other boy who needs to be stopped.

sure your ds needs to learn how to deal with it, but you can coach him in responses all you like, he may not be able to find those words when someone is hitting him or picking on him. Hitting back puts him in the wrong too. Though imo there is nothing wrong with trying to defend yourself if being beaten up.

MissisBoot Tue 21-Sep-10 16:46:01

I'd put in a complaint to teh school if the boys behaviour continues and impacts on your son in this way - your son should be able to go to school and feel safe.

I'd also be asking questions about lunch time supervision as well.

As it is still early days I imagine the school are assessing children's needs etc and it has quickly become aparent that this little boy is going to need additional support for whatever reason. Hopefully they should nip it in the bud so that it stops effecting your ds.

Don't think your DH should teach your ds to hit back - perhaps helping him to develop the confidence to say 'No Stop It' in a loud voice?

ReigateMum Tue 21-Sep-10 16:48:08

Your DH's approach won't help hmm Chances are your son will just end up getting into trouble...

You're doing the right thing raising it with the teacher. They are obviously aware of the situation and will be trying to deal with it.

Meanwhile it's obviously not fair that your child is the punchbag/target. Can you teach him to stand up for himself verbally more by shouting "Stop it!" "You're hurting me" or similar.

It might be worth jotting down a record of various incidents/ dates etc and any teacher responses, so if you do have to go into school/ speak to Head at any point you have a proper record?

The first few weeks of school are hard, and bring out the worst in many kids. Hopefully things will settle down.

hocuspontas Tue 21-Sep-10 16:56:11

I would assume that this child has some sort of behaviour problems and that the school are in the early stages of deciding what support and intervention are going to be necessary. Unfortunately your child is being hurt in the process. He needs to feel safe and supported in school. Hopefully the school will put something in place shortly but I would ask them for strategies that your son could use to deflect attention away from himself. E.g. Saying NO loudly, standing his ground, reporting every incident to his teacher not just lunchtime staff etc. Good luck!

hocuspontas Tue 21-Sep-10 16:58:20

lol! I took so long to write that, so just what MissisBoot said basically!

vnmum Tue 21-Sep-10 17:26:51

Thanks for the replies everyone. I have explained to DH why i think his approach is not the best but he understandably is concerened about DS and i think is thinking like a typical bloke. I have told DS before and keep telling him to say "stop it i don't like it" "stop that hurts" and if the child doesn't stop then he should tell the teacher.

I know the first few weeks/months at reception can be hard and a settling in period which is why i didn't want to escalate it straight away but when it is the same name mentioned every day i don't want it to go unaddressed and then it affect DS wanting to go to school.

I will have to see what the teacher says tomorrow as she was speaking to the other childs mum tonight and then keep an eye on things to see if they settle or not.

onimolap Tue 21-Sep-10 17:52:12

Something else you might like to consider idc is whether your son might enjoy/benefit from martial arts classes. There are various junior firms around (eg taekwando tots or little dragons Kung fu).

I suggest this, not only as a sop to your DH a attitude, but also as it is fantastic at boosting self-esteem and physical confidence. It's taught in a very disciplined way that absolutely forbids use other than in self defence.

TheSistersGrim Tue 21-Sep-10 17:57:37

I would agree with your DH. Ds went through a similar thing and did all the 'right' things, saying "No!", telling the teacher, avoiding the other child. We spoke to the teacher several times, and the head, the other boys parents were told but it dragged on for over a year spanning YR and Y1. Eventually I told him that if he was hit by this boy again he should hit him back. The next day he went in and said "If you hit me again I will punch you in the face" and that was that. There have been no incidents for over a year when it was pretty much daily before.

The thing which led me to it was that I wanted it to stop, not because the other boy didn't want to get in trouble, but because ds was no longer viewed as an easy target and it has worked from that pov. However there is a boy in dds class who has hurt her several times but he doesn't single her out and it is more a behavioural problem than simple bullying and I wouldn't give her the same advice.

I would rather ds defended himself and got into trouble for it than be bullied indefinetly. Its a sad situation.

allbie Tue 21-Sep-10 21:51:44

Have you tried speaking in a pleasant manner to the rough boy's parent and pointing out what is going on? I've found this tends to work rather well.

follygirl Wed 22-Sep-10 09:19:36

Personally I wouldn't speak to the boy's parents. My dd was bullied by a girl in Reception and Year 1. She wasn't physically hurt but this girl was really nasty to her.
I had a 'gentle' word with the girl's mother about it and she didn't take it well. She escalated it all and we ended up having a meeting at the school as we were being accused of being racist. This girl was the only non-white in the class. I found the whole 'racist' thing extremely offensive as we are certainly not and had had several playdates with this girl before she started bullying dd.
I would let the school deal with it but I would ask what they are doing to prevent it happening again.
Good luck, it is horrible when it happens. Luckily my dd isn't being bullied anymore but it was horrendous whilst it was going on.

vnmum Wed 22-Sep-10 09:35:26

thanks again for more replies. I really didn't think bullying would happen in reception because the children are so young. obviously i was a bit naive.

Hopefully i will find out soon if this is bullying behaviour or if the child does have behavioural issues. Its the fact that DS says he hasn't seen this boy doing anything to other children that makes me suspect it could be bullying. Also in DS's nursery there was a boy with ADHD and DS said he got a bit rough sometimes during play but he didn't have any problems with him and he didn't do things to my DS as much as the boy at school

1234ThumbWar Wed 22-Sep-10 09:41:07

I know it's not what the school would say, but we taught our dc's to give a loud warning to the other child ie. if you hit me again I will hit you back. Then if the child does hit them again our dc's are told to hit them back even harder. I've got three dc's and none of them have ever had to hit back, but have warned many times.

niminypiminy Wed 22-Sep-10 09:58:15

I just wanted to add the perspective of a mother whose child has hit others.

My child has an autistic spectrum disorder which means that school, in particular the playground, is a very frightening and difficult place for him, and he finds the noise, proximity of other children, the playground games whose rules he can't understand all very scary and stressful.

He wants to be friends with other children but doesn't know how, and he can't handle the normal conflict that is part of any playground interaction.

As a result he hits out.

I think it is very unlikely that what your son is experiencing is bullying, bullying doesn't start this early. It is much more likely that the other child just doesn't know how to behave with other children, either because he has problems such as my son has, or because he has never been taught (or never learned) the social skills you need for school. Just because another child who had ADHD didn't hit your child doesn't mean that this child has no special needs. You simply don't know, and because the school has to respect confidentiality, they can't tell you.

It is a good idea for your son to say very clearly to the other child 'no', and 'that hurts me and I don't like it', and then to tell the teacher/lunchtime supervisor every time.

It is the school's responsibility to deal with it and they should have strategies for this (for instance my son was not allowed in the same half of the playground as another child for several months in reception). If necessary they will speak to the other parent.

It is much better for you not to try to do this but to talk regularly to the teacher and make sure they are putting appropriate strategies in place. While your child is at school they are in loco parentis and it is their responsibility to deal with behaviour that happens at school. It is much better for all concerned to concentrate on making sure that the school are taking their responsibility seriously and acting properly by all concerned -- both your son, and the other child who may well need help to learn to behave properly.

MollieO Wed 22-Sep-10 10:02:15

There was a child in ds's year who was like this. Behaviour managed by the teachers but didn't stop lots of children getting thumped on a regular basis, including facial injuries to ds and others. I spoke to the teacher knowing others had done the same. We let them get on with it. Took two terms to resolve but child's behaviour was transformed and two years later is very popular.

I think labelling a reception child as a 'bully' is pretty extreme tbh.

BellevilleRendezvous Wed 22-Sep-10 10:26:52

I don't think it's extreme to say this is bullying, young children can be bullies. OP's son is being singled out by a boy who has hit and pushed him, taken his sandwich and thrown it on the floor - and singled him out to do it again when OP's ds deliberately tried not to sit near him at lunch. OP's son says the boy doing this is not doing it to others. That sounds very much like bullying to me.

Whether the boy doing this has SN or other behavioural difficulties is certainly a factor - however OP's son has the right to go to school and not be hit or scratched, and to eat his lunch in peace. And he has the right to do that now, not wait two terms while the teachers formulate a strategy.

OP - a useful link here

Hope things improve for you son - not a nice way to start his school career.

niminypiminy Wed 22-Sep-10 10:50:22

Point taken, BellevilleRendezvous.

I would just remind everyone that all behaviour takes time to change -- there are no magic buttons. All strategies take time to work, and some behaviours need years of work on them to get sorted out. So they may have the strategy sorted but it needs time and constant reinforcement to work.

Of course the OP's child must be kept safe, that is the school's responsibility, and she can and should pursue that.

In my experience though schools take any kind of aggression extremely seriously, and they won't stand by and let children be hit and scratched. And I really do speak from experience here as the mother of a child who has been violent.

Lastly (before I go, as this is a painful subject for me), I would say that I do feel for the OP and her child, and that it's awful for them. But there may well be another parent out there who's distraught at what their child is doing.

lovechocolate Wed 22-Sep-10 11:02:03

I really feel for you, your DH and your son, its not a situation you want to be in at all. I am a teacher (and Deputy Head) and there is probably so much more to this child's behaviour than the teacher can tell you. I don't think I would call it bullying as yet but as a parent I understand your concern is that you want your child to feel confident going to school and that school is a safe place where he will be looked after.

I would suggest the following...
Record all incidents incase it does escalate.
Definately do not approach the child's parent.
Request that ALL staff that supervise in the dinner hall/playground know what is happening so that they are all aware.
Ask for a named person that your child can go to (who they are comfortable going to) at lunchtimes to tell them of every incident. This adult is then to inform the class teacher at the end of every lunch time and it is to be recorded.
Explain to the teacher that you understand that she cannot breach any confidentiality but you would like to know how it is being dealt with. Hopefully she will tell you things like: a named person is watching this child in the playground, they are being sat far away from your child in the dinner hall, they play in a seperate area of the playground etc. Your child also needs to know these details so that he knows that something is being done. If you are unhappy with the response, tell her that (nicely) and at that point you would like to make an appointment with the Head of Year/Deputy.

Speaking as a Deputy I would much rather it be brought to my attention so that I could monitor and deal with the situation before it escalates. This would be for the sake of your child and the child who has been unkind. It needs to be explained to you and your son (and seperately to the boy and his parents) what is being done so that he feels happy coming to school. He also needs to be given strategies he is comfortable using eg.Say NO in a very loud voice- this will certainly get adult attention. He needs to practise this at home with you so he has the confidence to do it at school if he needs to.

sunnydelight Wed 22-Sep-10 12:07:53

I always find it totally bizarre that children are supposed to put up with being hit/scratched
/pushed etc. and parents are supposed to give schools endless time to sort things out without protecting the children in their care in the meantime. No other group of people are expected to put up with being assaulted on a daily basis.

vnmum Wed 22-Sep-10 14:00:23

belleville thanks for thast link, it is very informative.

lovechocolate Thankyou for that information, it has given me an insight into how i should expect the school to deal with this.

Although i understand that schools have to abide by confidentiality rules, if i was aware that this boys behaviour was due to a behavioural condition rather than just plain bullying i would be able to talk about this with DS to help him understand why it is happening and how he can deal with it.

I will see how the rest of the week goes and take it from there.

lovechocolate Wed 22-Sep-10 15:21:40

You are welcome. Forgot to say you, your son and the boy and his parents need to know what the consequences of this behaviour will be. Your son should then know these consequences are being carried out. It's important that your sons first experiences of school are enjoyable and that he feels safe.

Anenome Wed 22-Sep-10 20:27:58

I hope things went better for your DH today...very hard...I too think it unreasonable to expect kids to put up with this in the name of being fair!

My DD ad a similar thing in reception and what I did was play it out with her at home...she acted the part of the bully and did things that this other girl was calling and pushing...then I responded in the way I wanted my DD to respond....shouting NO loudly....and saying "Go away! or "I will tell the teacher now!

It worked DD really enjoyed being ableto act it out and lauggh about it...I wonder if seeing Mummy getting pushed about took the pain away a little....but things stopped soon after.

I DID tell her to hit back and she said "NO Mummy...then I will be in trouble too"" blush

His teachers need a keen eye on the offendor at lunch time....not on your son...but on the other will smooth out soon...a lot of kids fid it hard at first....he my not have behavioural troubles...could just be a horror!

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