DS6 HATES school, deteriorating behaviour - how do I help him?(15 Posts)
Ds has just started year 2. He's August born so only just 6. He was fine in preschool and reception and the early part of year 1 but towards the end of the last school year he began to tell me he hated school. I thought he might just need a break over summer but since term started he just hates it even more.
When I talk to him about it he can't really articulate why he hates it, aside from that:
- he wants to play all the time (I explained that he has lots of time to play before/after school and at break/lunch time),
- he doesn't like learning because it's boring (I said that sometimes it can be hard to learn new things but it's really important to keep trying),
- he wants to stay with me (he couldn't, because I have to study and go to school (uni) myself)
- if he didn't go to school he could watch tv all day (definitely not going to happen).
Last week I was called in to see his teacher because of his appalling behaviour (disruptive, being silly, being mean to other children) which is out of character for him. He has had his moments when he would be easily distracted but he's never been outright naughty before.
He struggles a little with friendships - he doesn't miss his friends during holidays, and if you heard him talk about his friends then you would wonder why he plays with them at all because of how much he doesn't seem to like them, but he still plays with them each day. There are no bullying issues as far as I am aware.
He doesn't seem to struggle with the work at all. He hates reading and writing but he is very good at it. He's been a free reader since the last term of year 1, he is good at spelling, he is good at maths (his favourite subject) but he has a massive fear of failing or getting things wrong. Which leads to an "I can't do it" attitude, so I am constantly promoting a more "let's just have a go" outlook.
We had tears at the gate again this morning and I just really want to help him. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Definitely worth a good chat with the teacher. Is he bored do you think? Does he do any activities out of school to develop his social side such as team work, challenges and give him another focus etc ?
Does he see any of his friends outside of school too? Does he have issues around not having a best group of friends to hang out with etc?
Does he get left out of games or anything. Sounds a bit like he might think he's not quite fitting in there so wants to get out of it
He doesn't see his friends outside of school, he's never asked for nor been invited to a playdate and he doesn't seem bothered about friends when he's at home.
He has just started Beavers which he likes but complains that he just wants to play when he has to work towards the badges, the only other activity he does is swimming which he loves but that's not exactly team oriented.
I'm not sure about getting left out, I'll ask and see what he says. Definitely going to arrange a meeting with the teacher. I did mention his attempts at school dodging when I had to go in about his behaviour but the teacher didn't say much about it in response.
So there were no issues at preschool? Could he be clashing with a new teacher? How does he cope with you enforcing boundaries at home? I know my ds would skip eating and toilet visits if it meant he could keep playing!
The only issues at preschool were social skills related which we were told were normal and had been improving over the last couple of years. I'll bear in mind possible teacher issues.
He also has a habit of eating as little as possible at lunch and avoiding the toilet at school so he has more time to play. He eats his lunch on the way home from school and runs to the loo as soon as we get home.
At home he has been rather challenging lately. Since around the summer holidays, he's started acting like a mini Kevin the teenager ("it's so unfair") and regressed to toddler style tantrums.
What kind of social skill related issues did they mention? Anything else unusual with milestones etc? Any family history of asd...?
Apologies for all the questions!
Maybe ask to chat with the senco and parent support advisor and discuss your concerns. It could be that the expectations and workload ramped up midway through year 1 and he's struggling with not being so free play focused. Does he get homework, and will he do it? Also make sure he gets plenty of time to burn off excess energy through physical activity. Does he have siblings? Any change in relating to them if so?
My dd is currently in this year and her sister the year above. My 6 yr old has asd but she too finds the work boring and doesn't want to do it. My older dd lost her love of learning in this year. Probably I think due to pressure as the curriculum changed and it got harder and there was less play.
Year 2 is now all work, the children rarely ' just play' and some of the children find that really hard.
They'll say work is ' boring' because they just don't want to do it, not because it is boring, just that they would rather be doing something else.
We were talking about this in the staffroom today, saying how sad it is that there is no time for them to have a play anymore. Trouble is, the Year Ones do still get some playing time, and they find that hard to see.
We experienced similar with ds2. With the benefit of hindsight the deterioration in behaviour was due to high anxiety and social communication difficulties (he was subsequently diagnosed with AS). At the time school's strategy was to treat it as attention seeking and naughty behaviour but by them doing this it made the situation worse. What helped for ds2 was to put in support to reduce his anxiety and for the teachers to make use of things he was interested in to get him motivated to do work. Due to the length of time it took us all to work out what was going wrong he did become very depressed and withdrawn and with the benefit of hindsight I probably should either have withdrawn him from school or pushed more quickly for extra support with friendship issues etc. He is now home educated and slowly (very slowly) regaining his love of learning and interest in the world. Definitely ask for a meeting with the class teacher and SENCO to try and work out what is going wrong and how they can support him better. P.S. Have vivid memory of ds2 in the playground one morning refusing to go into class and all he could say was that it was boring. There were masses of other reasons too but he just did not have the skills to articulate them then.
Contact his teacher with your concerns. Perhaps they can put in place some minor interventions which could help him interact better with others and enjoy school more.
I'd also talk to other parents. It might be that he's not alone and it would make you both feel better to know that.
There's very little play time for Year 2 these days. At my school I think it's 75 minutes in total, and that's including time to eat lunch, and assuming they are not being kept in to finish work or as a punishment.
One of my boys begged me to home educate , I didn't because of work etc, but with hindsight wish I had found a way to do it. He vwas unhappy for his whole time at school, was constantly in trouble for refusing to work. He's grown up now, and is fine now he gets to manage his own time and projects.He is a summer baby too, and I think that school was just too much for him and his artistic soul! He bunked off school a lot and is mainly self educated. School is not for every one, despite what they tell you!
Part of the problem is that primary schools often ARE boring in y2/3, imo, you are stuck in the same classroom with the same teacher for most of the day.
My DS was a lot like yours, his teacher was lively though and even though I dreaded school pick up ("mrs Ganoush! Can I have a wird with you?") she did tell me DS was just a typical year 1 boy. It is not uncommon for 6 year old boys to struggle to sit still and write fir most of the day.
Like most kids, he'd much rather be outside to play and explore.
It is normal.
With hindsight, I oftdn think of him at that age:" he was so little, abd I expected so much of him"
So talk to yoyr DS and listen to him, and maybe take him to a park/field straight after school every day so he can run around and play.
Kids need to run around and play, the school system at this age is a bit crap IMO. Too much formal learning whilst sitting inside.
In my dream world, half the school day would be spent outside exploring/building huts/playing, forrest school style.
The social skill issues in preschool and reception were centred around sharing and taking turns, and preferring to play alone, however the teachers didn't seem too concerned as he is August born and had also never attended nursery/Childminder before he started school.
No family history of asd and he met all his milestones (he didn't really talk until 2 and a half but he never shuts up now!) He's always been very active.
Having thought about the situation this week, I do think it is mostly an issue with the step up from y1 to y2 and the lack of play time. He barely eats his lunch because he wants to get out and play. And the favourite game he and his friends like to play has been banned because it descends into more of a contact game than the school would like.
He was put on a red this week because he was messing around with his friends when they were supposed to be lining up. Quite frustrating because aside from that he has been trying so hard this week. He is really demoralised to have been punished for (as he sees it) playing with his friends.
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