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I think I might just be the Mother of to 'the naughty kid' :(

(61 Posts)
guttedmum Wed 03-Oct-12 17:50:42

The teacher pulled me to one side at pick up time today...basically told me that DS (4) has been having serious behavioural issues since starting Reception just 3 weeks's all come to a bit of a head today after he has hit a child and thrown sand at him and bitten somebody else.

The upshot is he's terrible at sharing, taking turns, etc....very "immature" and they plan on giving him some sort of behaviour chart as of tomorrow. She says he is a pleasant enough child and the sharing issues might be partly down to him being an only.

I'm absolutely gutted TBH. I had NO idea that anything like this was going on. He's a little smasher at home and very kind and generous...he loves making friends and he talks about how much fun he is having at school.

What hurt me the most is the teacher saying that other kids picking up on his behaviour don't want to be around DS has just told me that he only has one friend and I've been crying since I arrived home and started talking to him.

I have spoken very firmly and frankly to DS but also given him lots of cuddles as he can see how upset I am. He has been crying too...he said "I try my very best Mum, I know I am being a naughty boy but I can't stop sometimes..."

I don't really know where to go from here...when the teacher told me about him tonight it sounded like a different child entirely. I feel terrible for the kids he has hurt as well, no doubt the Mums will know DS is the culprit after talking to them and God knows what they will think.

Any advice is welcomed.

greenhill Wed 03-Oct-12 19:23:18

He's only little. He's finding it all a bit much and he has acknowledged that he shouldn't have done it. That is half the battle.

I too think the teacher said the 'only child' thing as a way of not accusing him of having a personality defect wink the teacher knows he'll grow out of it pretty quickly too.

Everyone dreads the "can I have a word?" conversation, a little bit of you shrivels up and dies. Budge up, I've got some Revels...

overmydeadbody Wed 03-Oct-12 19:24:33

Guttedmum don't worry about the teacher not liking him. It's highly unlikely. Good teachers rarely dislike any of their pupils, and certainly not just becuase they are 'naughty'!

Work with the school. Be firm but fair with your DS.

Loads of good advice already.

I was in your position once too. Turns out DS has Aspergers. Once the school realised this and put his behavioural issuea and difficulties down to his special needs they were increadibly supportive, working with DS and me to support him in school.

overmydeadbody Wed 03-Oct-12 19:26:15

At 4 yrsl old he is onyl little, he'll learn! Lots of love, support, praise, and reinforcing the good behaviour. I'm sure the teacher will be doing that too, not just with your DS but with all of the new reception kids.

It's hard for them to settle into school life.

scootle Wed 03-Oct-12 19:37:28

The thing I have observed from watching dds' classes is that the boys really need a lot more physical exertion than they get. I would take your boy for a run round the park before he even gets to school, so that he is physically a bit tired.

I would not minimise the biting - that is pretty awful behaviour, and will not be accepted by the school. Ask the teacher how they intend to deal with it, and how you can back her up at home.

DD has already told me who the naughty boys are in her class - one of them was moved there from another class to get him away from another child. I really like all three of the mums, including the one whose son attacked dd! In fact, I have found engaging with the boy has helped him be a bit nicer to dd and dd to understand that he is not all bad.

guttedmum Wed 03-Oct-12 20:13:57

Oh you're all too bloody lovely and reassuring!

I'm taking in all the advice and I definitely think DS having a few pal around for a play and something to eat would help immensely.

I'm feeling miles better now...OH is home and we've discussed it all quite thoroughly and rationally and agreed on a few things such as extra praise for good behaviour, more sharing games, talking about how you can hurt your friends feelings.

Anyway, time for that wine...

doublemuvver Wed 03-Oct-12 20:39:41

I sympathise! Having similar issues with my DS in reception. In class he's fine but outside he's quite aggressive and gets into squabbles. He says he has no friends though a number of little boys say hello to him and his twin sister (my spy) in the same class says he does play with other kids sometimes. I think he may be testing the boundaries and once he realises those boundaries aren't moving I hope he'll be OK, maybe the same for your DS? But I feel mortified and just hope it'll soon pass for both my DS and yours. Chin up.

MrsZebra Wed 03-Oct-12 21:02:15

Guttedmum. I was going to post a similar thread yesterday. I could have written this. If it's any reassurance, my DS has three brothers, close in age, so lots of opportunities for sharing! It's not because he's an only one. Hope you enjoyed that glass of wine and things get easier for both of you soon. X

guttedmum Fri 05-Oct-12 09:28:36

Just dropped DS off and asked his teacher if his behaviour had improved at all since our discussion.

"Hi there, how was yesterday?"

"In a word...difficult"

Why do I get the feeling that translates as "HE'S A LITTLE ARSEHOLE!"

She did ellaborate a bit and told me that his unkind behaviour stretches to spoling his classmates work and throwing things for the sheer hell of it. On a one-to-one basis he is very kind and co-operative.

At home (yesterday) he was utterly lovely...we played Peppa Pig Jumbolina and he gave me a pat on the back because I won. We played Jigsaws and did a Dr. Seuss workbook and everything was peachy creamy.

His behaviour at school seems so at odds with his manner at home, which makes me feel bloody helpless to be honest.

mistlethrush Fri 05-Oct-12 09:51:26

I was the mother that people said 'Oh, you're X's mother!' blush. Ds was always just so full of energy and talk that everyone knew him (and probably had found out our full family history and what he'd been doing for the summer holidays and where he was going at the weekend).

I think the friends thing could well be brought over from nursery - how soon is his birthday? Can you invite any of the other children over or arrange to meet them for a play in the park or something at the weekend?

In terms of spoiling work or throwing things - he's clearly not engaged on the task that he's meant to be doing. That could be because he is still very young, but it could also be due to not being engaged by the teacher - or when he's starting to drift away, not being pulled back on-course soon enough. This is clearly difficult to manage in a large group of small children.

I also had the 'we see this often in only children' phrase. But as the child that they described to me at that particular meeting clearly wasn't the same one that I know from home and I have been told about by other parents who had helped out in class or who had had him over for playdates, I ignored the comment.

We did have a child join part way through reception who had very little English. He seemed to base his communication on hitting people. DS quite often placed himself between said boy and the girls in his class so the girls didn't get hit. However, that boy has now settled down and is not hitting (or not on the same regularity anyway).

I would talk to him about how he can communicate with classmates more effectively - and talk about what he would think about someone if they hit him or spoilt his work etc - and how it would be much nicer to have them as friends instead.

Things will improve!

BigFatLegsInWoolyTIghts Fri 05-Oct-12 09:55:18

Ah gutted how hard for you! is he particularly bright? Could he be needing more challenges in school?

Lizzylou Fri 05-Oct-12 10:01:36

*I was there too.
I dreaded it, "can i have a word Mrs cupcake" were the dreaded words for several weeks after my ds started school.

But the good news is that it soon settles, it really does. Just ride the storm for now.
Plus "whispers"..there will be other kids with worse behaviour, if not now...definitely to come. They all kind of take it in turns!*

Exactly what Cupcakes said. DS1 was a dream student, DS2, erm...not so much. It all works out.
Agree with the playdates and working with the school, he'll be fine no worries.

BobblyOrangeGoldGussets Fri 05-Oct-12 10:10:30

Sympathies OP. DS2 came home with an orange card in his second week for unprovoked hitting of another child because he wanted a toy. It really didn't sound like him, I was very surprised.

He has settled and so will yours.

I don't like that "only child" crap; it is lazy. All first children will be only children for some of the time. DS1 was an only child for five years. Meh.

BookieMonster Fri 05-Oct-12 10:12:57

Budge up, I have gin.
Some boys find the confines and expectations of formal education very difficult. I would imagine that things will settle down. One thing, it is up to the teacher to manage the behavior of students whilst in class. Venting at you achieves nothing. Perhaps you could push back a bit and ask her how she intends to manage his behavior in school. If he's well behaved with you and receptive to you talking about how he should be behaving in class, there's not actually a lot more you can do as you're not in the class with him.

beancurd Fri 05-Oct-12 10:17:51

Been there too, I think that it is normal for young children to struggle in this demanding semi formal environment. Actually it would take enormous energy for adults to negotiate such a change.

One of mine was a warm friendly delight at home but approached his peers like an angry bull. He had a number of children he liked and was great to them but was awful to some if the others.

Long term he just settled in and him and his next teacher loved each other. Not sure the first ever 'saw' him which didn't help.

rrbrigi Fri 05-Oct-12 10:22:53

What about if you reward him for being good and nice in the school (e.g.: with a chocolate or playing together or go to a place together what he likes a lot)? Lots of cuddle and love also help him to feel that you always will love him no matter what happens. Usually if my son does something wrong (e.g.: in the school or at home), when he calmed down we sit down and speak the situation through and at the end we have a conclusion what he should have done in that situation, so next time hopefully he will react in a different way.

Also I think you should book an emergency appointment with the teacher to discuss the behavior chart so you know what they would like to achieve with him in the school and you can support same behavior at home.

Children react differently when they start school, some won't even notice the difference between school and nursery, some will cry and will be upset for a while and some children will have bad behavior (I think most of the time when they do not want to do something what the teacher or other children ask from them). Also some children feel they are losing their privacy, their space. Imagine when 30 children all together in a classroom what is 3-4 times bigger than our living room (if we are lucky with the classroom); of course they feel a bit crowdie. And some children will be shocked by the lots of rules that they need to follow in the school. All of these things have an impact on their behavior. And I think that is why they behave differently in school and at home.

He only needs time (and lots of love) to get used to it. Do not worry he is so little and it will be better.

guttedmum Fri 05-Oct-12 10:45:04

It's very reassuring to hear of similar experiences and I welcome and take on board all the advice given so far.

I am already planning a small Halloween themed party for DS and some of his classmates. He is so animated and excitable when chatting about his new little friends so I do believe he is making progress on a social level.

I also spoke with a couple of the Mums yesterday on the way to the park so I think I'm making some progress too.

BigFatLegs - I do believe that he is bright but don't we all? He is a silly, typical 4YO of course but also very enthusiastic and knowledgable about music and films (...on a level that seems beyond his years). In the morning he selects music to dress to...his favourite at the moment is Nilsson Schmilsson by Harry Nilsson and he sings all the words as he dresses himself. He keeps the door closed because he likes to dance wildly and becomes very self-conscious if he sees us watching him.
He often asks me quite challenging questions and had a bit of a meltdown last week after learning that he would one day become an old person sad...I made an off-the-cuff remark because he said that he was going to do something before he was 102. It led to a very emotional conversation and him ruminating (read: sobbing) about death. He kept asking me if there was any way he could not become a very old man and asked me if I will love him just the same even when he is not "a cute boy". It was bloody horrible and I tried to be as delicate as possible...and naturally I filled his head with little white lies.
He may or may not be exceptionally bright but I think he is sensitive and has a strong artistic streak.

guttedmum Fri 05-Oct-12 10:50:48

Bookiemonster - You talk a lot of sense...and you have gin.

Beancurd - thanks

rrbrigi - I am really going to town with the praise and the cuddles at the moment...and I do think that is the best approach for both of us. Thanks for the advice and reassurance (again).

BigFatLegsInWoolyTIghts Fri 05-Oct-12 11:11:36

He does sound sensitive. My oldest has a fear of aging too! I suggest that you work with the teacher as much as possible...keep her informed and perhaps ask for a comment in his diary about his you don't have to keep asking her in person...then you can read it with DS and discuss it at home.

BigFatLegsInWoolyTIghts Fri 05-Oct-12 11:11:56

Have to say I love the idea of his wild morning dance in private! grin

YesAnastasia Fri 05-Oct-12 11:26:06

Wow, he sounds ace and what a character. He does sound super sensitive though (not that it's a bad thing) this might be causing his challenging behaviour because the others aren't on his wavelength and it's frustrating maybe?

I'm the mum who has to wait until all the other children have gone so they can tell me something, there's always something! It can get you down but it doesn't last forever.

Lavenderhoney Fri 05-Oct-12 11:40:52

Oh dear, is there room on the bench for me? My ds who is fabulous at home is engaging in some behaviour issues at school. He loves being at home and is comfy there, so i assume he is still getting used to the school environment.

Sharing- I am firm snatching a toy and saying you have to share is not sharing! Just ask if he is the one snatching or refusing to hand over when he has finished with it.

My ds gets bored v v quickly and is very quick to learn. He gets bored with repetitive work as he has done it wants to move on. He starts to mess which is unfair in children who enjoy repeating books over again. He says if he is naughty he gets left out of an activity he hates, so f course works this. The teacher is great but unfortunately ds is realising those who make most fuss gets the mot praise over and above these good little souls who don't cause problems.

I also hate the little wave and can I have a word, my heart sinks as he is such a great boy, very sensitive to emotions, artistic and perhaps is unfortunate not to be a personality that fits the school environment of rules etc. some kids are like that, and have to find a way as its going to be a long time til they leave! Sorry for long post but it's a lonely walk from class to the gatesmile but now i know I am not alone...

Lizzylou Fri 05-Oct-12 11:44:44

guttedmum, your DS sounds utterly fantastic, a real character.

A Halloween party would be fab.

Honestly, a few months from now and you will be amazed you even worried about him.

guttedmum Fri 05-Oct-12 12:04:07

I do think his sensitivity might be a factor in this but I didn't want to get in to it too much with his teacher as I thought I might come across as though I was excusing his behaviour and being overly defensive. It seemed as though he was experiencing A LOT of rejection from the other children during his first couple of weeks with regards to striking up friendships ("A said he doesn't want to be my friend because B is his best friend", "I tried to play with C but he told me to stop following him", "D asked me to move away from his at lunch because he wanted to sit next to E"). A fair few of the kids are already friends from Nursery and he's the sort who becomes rather besotted with certain children, usually the loudest, funniest characters and I can just imagine him trying to tag along and probably coming across as a needy wee thing.

I've reassured him...told him to be kind to the other children, take turns etc. and the friendships will come naturally. God I hope so.

The ritual morning 'rock out' is very lovely and hearing him sing and leap about upstairs thinking he might come through the ceiling at any moment does make me smile. A couple of weeks back we were getting The White Stripes - Elephant at full pelt from around 7.30am in the morning...the baseline from Seven Nation Army and his gravelly White-esque caterwaul was uh...a wake up call like no other.

(disclaimer: our neighbour leaves the house at around 6am every morning!)

guttedmum Fri 05-Oct-12 12:10:30

Lavenderhoney - Sounds just like DS...artistic and emotional, I'm already dreading the teenage years. I definitely need to (wo)man up to get through this school shit. wine for all.

orangeberries Fri 05-Oct-12 14:35:04

Did your DS attend nursery or preschool and if so how was he there?
It sounds to me that it is difficult to discipline if this behaviour is to do with a school type setting. Did he have a settling in period?

My DS2 (third child, just to reassure you and one of 4!) had a terrible time when he started pre-school aged 2 and a half; he had never been in a setting and was just like your son,ncluding the biting. He settled down after 3 months or so as he got used to the structures and routines.

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