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Please Help - 5 year old behavioural problems

(4 Posts)
cathpalmer Wed 03-Oct-12 19:32:03

Please help me! I've been in tears for most of the day and I'm at my whits end.
My Son is 5 and a half and in year one in school.
Last year in reception he had a bad year - he was disruptive and unsettled in class and at playtime he was aggressive - hitting, biting, kicking spitting etc. We had never had any problems with him before and certainly no violence issues at all so when the teachers began reporting this to be a problem we were mortified and immediately defended him saying that this didn't sound like him at all. By easter there seemed to be less issues, but it turned out that the teachers had just stopped telling us when he had been naughty so we had assumed he was improving. The SEN co-ordinator got involved and said that he was behind academically and his aggression was an issue.
This year (year 1) had started but this year his class has two teachers, one of the teachers is the SEN coordinator mentioned above. We were under the impression that he was doing well as no issues were being discussed and we had worked really hard over summer to get him up academically to the class level. Each time we have picked him up we have asked the teacher (not the SENCO one) how he's been and she said - yes he's been fine, occasionally silly, but nothing serious. We were really pleased. Then last week my husband went up after school and asked how he's getting on and his other teacher (SEN) said that he's been really naughty as he had a temper tantrum and that - in her words she would "need to see us with her SEN hat on". We went away confused as this was the first we'd heard of any issues, so the next day we spoke to his other teacher. She said that she didn't feel there was enough of an issue to warrant any SENCO intervention.
Then on Friday we got a letter home asking us to attend a one to one SENCO meeting today to discuss his behaviour etc. We were shocked - totally mixed messages between the two teachers. So we went today and was greeted by his SEN teacher who said - "Sorry it's come to this but his behaviour really is a problem". We asked why and she said he'd been pulling peoples hair, head butting and spitting. We asked why we hadn't been told and her response is that she's telling us now. My husband then said to her that his other teacher didn't seem to think there was a problem and she said: "If you ask her now and tell her you've spoken to me, I think you'll find we're singing from the same hymn sheet". What's that supposed to mean? She's told her what to say?
Then we got taken into a meeting with a man who apparently is a child counsellor and will be seeing my son once a week from now on. I haven't given permission for this and I'm upset that they seem to think that he has emotional problems. We weren't informed that this person was even going to be involved.
Meanwhile my son is coming out of school every day and the first thing he says is "I've been good today" which worries us for 2 reasons. 1. It's obviously not true, 2. he's not excitedly telling me about his day like all the other children so it's obviously playing on his mind.
We never see aggressiveness from him at home but today (of all days) he decided to push his 3 year old sister over in the playground when I was picking him up. I think he was trying to impress his friends but he knew it was wrong and still did it. Everyone saw and it completely destroys my argument that he's fine at home.
What the heck do I do with him. We love him so much but we can't go on like this it's making us all (him included) miserable.
We are thinking of changing schools?
Any ideas?

DeWe Wed 03-Oct-12 19:59:56

It's difficult to tell without knowing the child but a couple of things stand out to me.

Firstly, when they first told you about issues in year R you "we were mortified and immediately defended him". Does this mean you didn't believe them or believed that the school was causing it?
My ds played up last year in school like this. He doesn't do it at home. There's two reasons behind this, one ebing I know him pretty well and can often pre-empt issues by distraction, or similar. at school he doesn't have an adult to butt in to do this always. Secondly he has hearing issues and the whole noisy set up gets to the point he can't cope.

The other thing is that all children don't come out excitingly telling what they did that day. Look through old posts, the number of "I can't get anything out of my child about school". Dd2 would come out and say "I've been good". That didn't mean that it was preying on her mind-she usually was, just she liked to tell me. If you've asked him a couple of times then that's probably stuck in his mind that he should tell you that.

What really helped my ds was a behaviour book. They would write in good/bad parts of the day. That meant I knew what sort of day he'd had, and could talk through bad bits about how he could have done it better, and praise up the good bits. Also it meant identifying flashpoints was easy. Mostly lunch times for him as the noise got to him. Then we dealt with the flash points.

Unless you are certain that the problem is entirely in the school's mind, then I don't think moving school will help. If there is something where he needs help it really is better sooner rather than later. If you move school and it's still an issue he'll be further away from getting any help he needs.

cathpalmer Wed 03-Oct-12 20:20:18

I don't think the school are making it up no, I just don't understand why there is a difference of opinion between 2 teachers and also why he's never been like this before. What is it about the school environment that makes him this way?
I'm also upset with the lack of communication from the school.
I see what you mean about getting the help he needs and moving schools may not be an issue.
I know it's easy to act in an emotional way because he's my son, but it feels like they have made their mind up about him regardless

DeWe Wed 03-Oct-12 21:24:54

Different teachers do have different ways of dealing with children.

It could be that the "nice" teacher takes him at times when he is fine, the other teacher having to do things he finds hard to control himself during (eg "nice" taking mornings only and he gets worse as the day goes on) I found ds got worst on Thursdays, so that teacher had the brunt in year R (job share).

It could be the nice teacher is better at dealing with him, or he relates better to them. Doesn't necessarily equate to the teacher he likes better.

It could be a personality clash and their personalities rub up the wrong way so as soon as she asks him to do something he acts up because it's her.

It could be that she's telling it as it is, and the other teacher tends to avoid confrontation. I discovered at preschool that they weren't always telling me when ds'd played up because they could see it was stressing me out. Very kind, but not helpful in the long term. This year's teacher I know tells me as it is, so when she said to me "he's improving rapidly" I know he is and could have kissed her which is actually a great thing to be confident she's able to say that.

It could be that they have a policy of not discussing such things "at the door" so to speak, and wouldn't tell you until they had a meeting planned. Not necessarily helpful, but some parents would get very upset if they thought things like that were discussed at the door where others can hear.

It could be that one of the teachers is more experienced (could be either) and they can see the way it's going (either way) where the other one can't.

It could be the SEN teacher, because that's what she does, spots SEN in all sorts of children. If you look for it, you can see it iyswim.

It could be that they thought he was doing low level behavioural issues, and had improved, and then something during the temper made them think "actually that's not right".

Or it could be that the "nasty" teacher just doesn't like him and has taken against him and will always see him as a problem.
I doubt that's the case, because she would then be saying he's naughty etc. not he needs help from SENCO.

Go to the meeting with an open mind. Don't come at everything they say with an excuse or "he doesn't do that for me". Listen to what they say. If you're still concerned at the end, speak to the other teacher, last year's teacher, and possibly the head. See if you can get a picture all round.

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