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Dreadful behaviour at school but not at home

(67 Posts)
chloworm Wed 08-Feb-17 14:19:26

Please, please can someone offer me some advice? I feel so helpless and anxious. My little boy (5 years, July born) is really struggling with his behaviour in Year 1. I've just had the school on the phone for the upteenth time telling me he is hitting, punching, refusing to work and saying really unkind things. This has happened on and off since December. The school have put a lot of things in place for him, which worked for a while but not now. They have given him a safe space, downtime, personal timetable, reward systems and generally a lot of support. He is academically able and does not struggle with the work, when he does any! My concern is that he never once had an issue with his behaviour in Reception class. At home he is kind, gentle, happy, eager and generally a pleasure to be around. It's like he's a different child at school. Everyone he has ever been with, family, childminder, preschool, Reception class etc. all said how lovely and kind and well-behaved he was. I feel powerless as I can't be there at school to deal with this. At home we talk about feelings, read lots of stories about friendship and also have a reward system. But I can't do an awful lot else because he is so good at home and I can't punish him for something that happened hours ago at school. Should I push the school to have him assessed? I wonder what for? I never once thought my kind, happy child would be in this situation. Do you think it's to do with 'too much too soon' for a summer-born boy? I'm seriously considering asking to flexi-school (school in morning, home in afternoon). Do you think the school would go for that? I would love to home-school him but have to work p/t to put food on the table, and I love my job! Advice welcome from others in similar situation, teachers, ed psychs etc. Thanks so much in advance.

frazzled3ds Wed 08-Feb-17 14:26:24

It sounds a little to me as though he may be having some issues with the 'regime' or rigour of school? I have a Y1 boy, turned 6 in December (youngest of 3) who when he was heading towards going up from reception had a couple of moments where he was a bit of a nuisance at school, although admittedly not to the extent that your LO seems to be - he wasn't a fan of sitting down and doing the work being asked of him, wouldn't get involved etc. He's now doing absolutely fine, and very settled and happy.

Has there been a change of teacher or teaching assistant, or some new children in the class that's upset his familiar routine? If he's good at home, then it may be something or someone at school that's bugging him and he's responding to this through his outbursts. Probably worth a good chat with his teacher about what's going on, what activities they're doing when this happens, who he is with etc. It may be that's he struggling with an aspect of school work and is getting frustrated, or it may just be a bit of a phase he's going through. I doubt the school would look to go down the ed-psych or assessment track unless they've got significant concerns, and it does sound as though they're being really proactive and supportive in trying to help him.

Good luck!

Stiddleficks Wed 08-Feb-17 14:31:42

Op I could have written your post myself about my just turned 6yr old Dd. No problems before but this year has been terrible. In fact I've had a message from school today saying she has had a red card for hurting another child today. It doesn't make sense to me there's no rhyme or reason for it.
So I don't have any advice but your not on your own flowers

abeandhalo Wed 08-Feb-17 14:33:22

It sounds like there's something v specific in this class that is upsetting him. You could try a bit of play therapy at home?

E.g. Play 'schools' with him toys & in that 3rd person environment he may give you an insight in to what it is that he is struggling with.

If it doesn't work you could always get him a few sessions with a Play Therapist & see if they uncover anything. If he is always calm & kind in all other contexts, it does sound like an external factor!

chloworm Wed 08-Feb-17 14:40:14

Thanks so much for your advice frazzled3ds. I have indeed had a lengthy meeting with the teacher, senco and headteacher, all of whom were very supportive. We tried to work out triggers but just couldn't. It is random, however it does seem to escalate and he finds it hard to calm down. They do have a nurture room he can calm down in, but they don't often have the staff to take him. It's a small school, so often he ends up in the corridor or headteacher's office. There is a new student teacher and 1 new girl but the behaviour started before they did. Stiddleficks, I'm sorry this is happening to you too. I'm considering taking him to the doctors for a quick check-up, although surely if he was ill the behaviour would occur at home? The school is very academic, although they have taken off the pressure for the time being. Have the school put things in place for your daughter?

chloworm Wed 08-Feb-17 14:42:43

Thanks abeandhalo. I contacted all the play therapists in the area and none had spaces. Do you think I could do it myself then? I asked the school but they said they wouldn't get someone in unless the child had past trauma.

steppemum Wed 08-Feb-17 14:47:22

The new NC is quite academic and pressured on younger children I think. He may be finding this too muc, especially as he is younger.

It is worth checking things like hearing and eyes to see if it is physical and he is frustrated.

How is he getting on with the work? is he reading and writing? Is he finding it really hard?

You can use social stories to help him work out what to do if her is upset.

Noteventhebestdrummer Wed 08-Feb-17 14:54:50

Why can't you punish him for bad behaviour at school? He's not too young to understand. Better than letting him get away with there being no consequence from you.

fuzzyfozzy Wed 08-Feb-17 14:57:38

Keep communicating with the school.
In the past I've created a reward chart for a child. (Each lesson/play had a face which was coloured in if was a good one). The chart went home and the parent put a timed reward in place to support this.
E.g. 5 smileys meant 1/2 hour of (insert treat)
Not a punishment because child would do something else quite happily but it gave parents something positive to talk about each day.

chloworm Wed 08-Feb-17 15:05:32

Thank you for your useful advice fuzzyfozzy. He does have a chart like that from school I could use. Noteventhebest drummer the school have told me specifically not to punish him at home because he is too young to link the punishment with the 'crime' in a meaningful way when they both happen in separate places. Steppemum he can read very well and can write, although the physical aspect tires him as they expect the children to write cursive which he finds hard. I have had his hearing tested but not sight, so that is something to try thank you.

steppemum Wed 08-Feb-17 15:22:30

If he is reading and writing well, it is less likely to be academic.
On th eyes front, my dcs were all tested in reception and were fine. We were a bit lack about it, when dd1 went to be tested in year 2 she needs to wear glasses all the time So their eyes do change.

Is he very physical? ds was incredible physical and I know sitting still in school was always hard. he woudl come home and run round the garden playing football even in winter.

If he is, it may be worth getting to the playground 10 minutes early and getting him to run around, get rid of energy. One dad in our street plays football with a group of 4 boys every morning before school. It really helps them to get rid of excess energy and wake up to the day.
An outside chance but if it helps...

Don't punish him at home.

chloworm Wed 08-Feb-17 15:53:57

He is physical steppemum, so maybe running around a bit before school would help him. I can do it 3 days a week when I'm home. The other 2 days he's at breakfast club. I got him home from school today and he just cried and cried. He was obviously traumatised by a very bad day at school. I just held him tight and now he is playing upstairs with his dad. It breaks my heart, it really does.

bojorojo Wed 08-Feb-17 16:12:56

Are his days too long? What hours of work does his Dad do? You are lucky the school is supporting you. Also, all schools teach the same academics in the same years. It is the national curriculum. Your school just may have lots of forward children that make it look academic!

How well does he sleep? Is his behaviour a cry for individual attention? You give it, your husband gives it - the teacher and TAs do not. Could this be a problem? How does he play with other children after school? What is he like in general when he is not the centre of attention? How often is this not the case?

I think he will settle down. Could he go into school at the normal time so his day is shorter?

chloworm Wed 08-Feb-17 17:39:20

Thanks Bojorojo. He goes to school normal hours Mon-Wed and 8am-4.30pm Thur and Fri when I am at work. We don't have any family that will help with the school runs, so this is non-negotiable. You're right, I do think it might be a cry for attention as when he is told off he gets worse and the problem escalates.He plays fine with other children in the park after school. His Reception class only had 14 children and his Year 1 class is double that, and being only 5 he is probably still quite egocentric. Hopefully he will grow out of it but it's clearly not working at the moment, hence my thinking that flexi-schooling might help. Have heard that not many schools like that though as it affects attendance figures.

steppemum Wed 08-Feb-17 17:46:58

flexi schooling (as far as I know) is not an official thing. It is a school workign with a parent and doing something a bit off beat.
If he is registered with the school, and is away every afternoon, then he would be marked absent for every afternoon, which is a disaster for the school.

jamdonut Wed 08-Feb-17 23:05:48

Some children find the jump from Reception to Year 1 a huge step, as in Year 1 there is not the time to play as there was in Reception, and by Year 2 it has all but disappeared. There is just no time for having 'playing' time any more, with the work that has to be fitted in sad

It can be a bit of a shock to the system for some of them, when they used to 'browse' activities, but now have to do what is put before them.

Could this have something to to do with it?

SingaSong12 Wed 08-Feb-17 23:16:07

Have they looked at whether he might be being bullied or teased?

bojorojo Wed 08-Feb-17 23:53:53

My DD is 24 and other DD is 21. They never had playing time in Y1 or Y2. When was this mythical golden age? They did art, music, and PE in the afternoons and started geography and history. None of it was play.

Your longer days are not too long - you have a fairly early pick up time. As you said your DH was playing with him after school I wondered if his hours were flexible.

I would be hopeful this will improve with maturity. I think the jump from 14 to 28 won't help particularly but 28 is normal. My DD was in a hen and chickens style classroom with 66 children (before the 30 rule) in YR with 2 teachers at age 4 (August birthday). Amazingly it was brilliant. I think a few children did play in the corner but most didn't and no-one in Y1.

I do not think I would negotiate for time out at home . I cannot see how this would help in the long run. If he acts up, he gets time at home. Could result in a lot of acting up! Work with the school and keep your chin up. When he gets friends and joins clubs he may improve too.

Crumbs1 Thu 09-Feb-17 00:08:11

Does home life revolve around what he wants? Does he have to follow rules and do as he is told without argument? I wonder if it's simply a conflict between a child centric home life where his wishes are paramount battling against a situation where community needs come first and where you are required to do what you don't necessarily want to do.

Noteventhebestdrummer Thu 09-Feb-17 06:39:52

Fuzzyfozzy that's such a good idea!

OP, could you do some relaxation/yoga with him at home so he develops his internal control that way? It might help other directions and would be happy new stuff for you to do together too?

LilacPeony Thu 09-Feb-17 06:55:01

My DD is 24 and other DD is 21. They never had playing time in Y1 or Y2. When was this mythical golden age?

In the 70s? We played every afternoon until the end of year 2 when I was at infant school in the 70s.

Notagain2017 Thu 09-Feb-17 07:04:07

Agree with crumbs. My dc struggled more at school than at home at that age as at school they had to conform and home was more relaxed. They hated the routines in school eg sit on the carpet, off to assembly, back to class, read when told, write when told, eat what they were given, everything was difficult for them. I used to get reports about their behaviour at school but couldn't see it at home at the time.

einalem1984 Thu 09-Feb-17 07:05:24

Year 1 can be a big change for some children as its more structured that reception so maybe he's struggling with that?

smellyboot Thu 09-Feb-17 07:20:08

You say that the school is very adacemic. In yr1 our school is still very creative and explorative. They go out lots just to burn off steam and dont sit still for long periods.
They started cursive writing in yr1 but only really saw it much in year 2. Is is quite pushy with the DC? Maybe he really is not enjoying it. Is is a private or state school as its very small? To me it read like there are very high expectations being placed on a very small child.

LilacPeony Thu 09-Feb-17 07:40:51

Do you mean academic as in selective private school?

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