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Worried my son is getting labelled and will become unmotivated - help!

(14 Posts)
SmethwickBelle Tue 06-Nov-12 09:33:42

Son Yr 1 (5) frequently seems to be in the naughty behaviour area - two times a week at least. It's because he doesn't listen in class and is easily distractable.

He IS one of the types of children who can't walk in a straight line, he has to jive but this is depressing me as at home he's perfectly manageable, and so lovely. He always tackles his homework enthusiastically, can read his reading books in one sitting, reads and spells well, his writings OK and can concentrate on various things just fine.

I'm worried sick that he's getting a rep as a "naughty child" and I just don't recognise him as this at all. He's being punished so frequently for something that is almost unconsciously done. I suspect it's strongly connected to the class size but there's naff all I, he or the school can do about that.

So frustrated and anxious that he will become unhappy and unmotivated, am sure I have a touch of the PFBs but honestly don't know what to do - any advice?

SmethwickBelle Tue 06-Nov-12 11:00:31

I've got his parent's evening this week so there is an opportunity to talk to the teachers about this...

tiggytape Tue 06-Nov-12 11:59:57

I suspect you are right about the class size and his behaviour at home being better (where he can have more 1:1 attention) whereas at at school he is one of a large group.

Do you know the specifics of why he is in the naughty area? Is it always the same thing (talking when he shouldn't be for example) or is it a range of things to do with generally getting disctrcted?

Maybe at parents' evening you and the teacher can agree on one or two areas he can try to improve eg staying seated until told to move or not talking when the teacher is talking and then emphasise these at home and reward success with these at school.
The naughty area has its place - afterall his behaviour will be affecting others - if he is disctracted it is likely he is also a distraction - but there needs to be some carrot as well as stick and some proper targets in place so he knows what to aim for to avoid being in trouble.

ponyprincess Tue 06-Nov-12 13:21:19

Maybe this is just part of getting used to rules of Year 1? I would imagine that it is not massively unusual for 5-year-old boys to be in the naughty area (or equivalent), and that your son is not the only one. The behaviour you describe seems typical for many of the 5-year-old boys I know (including my own!), in terms of not listening, being dstracted, etc.when in a group.

anothercuppaplease Tue 06-Nov-12 13:59:08

I depends what you mean by naughty. Does he hit other children? Is he disruptive to the class?

I don't think any school in their right mind would ever label a child as 'naughty', it's not a term used in schools sorry to state the obvious. But if your child has a challenging behaviour the school should speak to you about a way of managing this behaviour and try to help your child improve his behaviour. If the school ignores it it wont go away, and your DS's learning might be affected by his poor behaviour, that is if the school doesn't find a constructive way of dealing with it ie encourage good behaviour. THey have to work with the parents on this, not on their own. The label will not hinder your child's development, but bad behaviour could.

GooseyLoosey Tue 06-Nov-12 14:09:02

I feel your concerns - they were mine too when ds was the same age and, I think they had some foundation. The problem was not what happened from the school's perspective - they grew to value ds and what he brought to the class. The problem lay in the fact that other children, and hence their parents, grew to see him in a particular way.

Ds was only ever in trouble for talking when he should have been listening. Eventually I discussed with the school that putting his name on the "black cloud" was counter productive. It was clearly not influencing ds's behaviour for the better and more often than not, he had no clear idea of what he had done. The teacher took this on board and started a positive incentive scheme for ds. He had a sticker book that only he and the teacher knew about - if he got though a whole morning/afternoon without speaking out of turn he got a sticker. 10 stickers and a marble got added to the class golden time jar (when they got so many, the whole class got a treat).

This made the class see ds in a better light and gave him a much stronger incentive for better behaviour.

I would deffinitely talk over options with the teacher.

SmethwickBelle Tue 06-Nov-12 14:10:06

There's a coloured behaviour chart and he's in the red when he's had a bad day. They don't use the word naughty. I say "Why was DS in the red today?" Teacher says whilst looking at DS "You weren't listening were you?" And that's about as much info as I get. There's always a crush of children and parents trying to get the teacher's attention at these times and it's so embarrassing to have the discussion on the doorstep anyway.

He's never hit anyone in his life, certainly not that sort of disruption. From what I can tell t's like he gets overexcited and just isn't hearing/registering requests to calm down or be quiet. I imagine it is bloody annoying for the teacher and the other children but all the good things he is doing are getting overlooked.

I am hopeful we can work together with the school and hope they have some ideas this week.

SmethwickBelle Tue 06-Nov-12 14:12:03

My heart breaks every time I see his little name in the bloody red and EVERY other child in the Amber or green. It's so rarely anyone else.

clam Tue 06-Nov-12 19:47:24

What's his view of things? Can he tell you precisely what it is he's done to end up in red, or is he a bit vague about it?

radicalsubstitution Tue 06-Nov-12 20:10:04

SmethwickBelle I feel your pain - DS is exactly the same. He had the most horrendous year in Reception - for exactly the reasons you described. It was nothing major - just bouncing around on the carpet or making silly noises.

The school has a 'golden time' system that simply doesn't work for DS. You start at the top of the chart at the beginning of the week and lose golden time for behaviour issues. No way to earn it back. DS would usually be half-way down the chart by Wednesday. The problem was that it was no deterrent for him - he is just too impulsive. Three minutes of time on Friday means nothing on Monday morning when you can be bouncing around and singing rather than listening.

Unfrotunately, his teacher just would not accept that there was any other 'tools' available to her other than the implementation of a rigid school behaviour policy. Behaviour did not improve one iota over the year and DS came to see himself as naughty (his words).

What used to really upset me was that, when meeting up with friends and their children, DS' behaviour was usually as goood as or better than his peers. His EYFS scores were also low compared to what I know he was capable of based on the fact that he just didn't bother to engage in activities at school.

Anyway, Year 1 started in exactly the same pattern. Fortunately, his teacher this year is excellent (in my opinion). She is strict and with a no-nonsense approach and very quickly identified that the school's behaviour system was not working in changing his behaviour. She quickly identified the key 'problem' times for DS - usually transition between one activity and another. She has found strategies for dealing with this that work. Having broken the 'naughty boy' cycle, DS is working really hard in school and his written work has visibly improved over a very short period of time - as has his self-esteem. His last levels were really good, and a much better reflection of what he is capable of.

The key thing I would urge you to do is to put pressure on the school/teacher to find out what they are doing to change/manage his behaviour rather than creating a negative spiral. If you don't feel you are getting anywhere with his teacher then escalate the matter to the KS1 manager. I was urged to do this last year by another member of staff at the school but didn't (and I regret this).

The other thing I would recommend is that, if you feel he is being treated harshly, don't follow punishments at school with further punishments at home (eg withdrawel of treats). I always wanted to feel like I was supporting the school, but as the year progressed I felt that they should have been doing more to manage the situations. It was the only way I coud help to build up his self-esteem again.

Lastly, lack of sleep definitely did not help in his behaviour. When I see behaviour/concentration starting to deteriorate at home/swimming, bedtime immediately comes forward by 30 minutes. It makes a hell of a difference.

Good luck with the parents' evening.

crazygracieuk Tue 06-Nov-12 20:16:08

My son was in y1 last year. He's an August born and quite immature in the sitting still and listening stakes.

He wasn't the only one like this and the school helped him overcome this rather than punish it as it wasn't intentional.

The teacher had a cue card that she would hold up when some children were getting wiggly and distracted. It was some diamond pattern and meant "Sit still and concentrate please". It stopped the negative cycle of the teacher having to constantly say "Stop wiggling" which is annoying for the teacher and embarrassing if told off and it doesn't stop the flow of the lesson. (Carpet time is apparently when he wiggled, lost focus most)

If he's in the class of 30, I'd be surprised if it was just him. My son is in a class of 20 and the teacher said that he's not the only fidgety one.

Is your son's hearing and vision ok? Is he able to ask for help if he doesn't understand the instructions? Does your son change his behaviour if warned? Luckily my son is the type to be mortified if warned so will comply immediately.

crazygracieuk Tue 06-Nov-12 20:18:36

Who does your son sit with? Is it possible that sitting next to someone else will help? My dd is a chatterbox and had her carpet time position and listening partner changed and it worked well.

SmethwickBelle Tue 06-Nov-12 20:25:27

Thanks for all the input I'm going to write some bullet points based on all your helpful suggestions.

He's sad when he's been told off or reminded about / asked to recall what happened, but is often quite vague about what happened. I think I would like to ask them if there is another strategy they could try because clearly what they're doing at the mo isn't really working. We had spits and spots of this in Reception year but this year's been much worse which is puzzling as the others seem to settle a wee bit more.

Fortunately he seems to enjoy school and every night when I ask him what the "best thing" of the day was he comes up with something from school. I try not to let my anxiety about it show too much.

SmethwickBelle Tue 06-Nov-12 20:28:05

I think the kids he plays with is definitely a factor, that's an interesting point...

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