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debs40 Tue 09-Sep-08 10:40:23

Hi all,

I hope you don’t mind me asking for help. You ladies always give such good, practical advice.

My son is 5 and started school last year. He has just started Year 1. Before he went to school, he always seemed a quiet, gentle lad. He is small for his age and mixed well. My son enjoys school but he has had problems whilst playing with others and I’m worried about how to manage it.

The boys at school are always playing ‘battle’ games – star wars/pirates/knights etc. This has meant that they are always play fighting at break time. It is not something I like and I do try and re-direct his play so at least he doesn’t want to act out fights but I can’t control what happens in the playground and this is frustrating as it has caused problems.

Last year, he got time out on a few occasions for play fights. Nothing major and never in the classroom; always games in the playground that went too far. He wasn’t the only one, but of course I was not happy. It is not what you want to hear about your precious son!

I have tried to encourage him to play other games. I’ve explained about real and imaginary games/stories. I’ve warned him that even if he is hit, he should not hit back. Other boys are quick to dish it out but also quick to complain. I spoke to his reception teacher last year who wasn’t very helpful as he was always stressed and wasn’t bothered as long as it was happening outside his classroom.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my ds is a bit immature (I know boys often are and continue to be so!) and that he finds managing his response to playfights difficult. For example, I’ve seen his best friend kick him (he thinks he’s a power ranger!) which I stop although my son never responds or complains. However,when asked later my ds will say he doesn’t like it, but that he doesn’t want to stop the game. He then hits back when he’s had enough.

For the start of this year, I’ve adopted the strategy of telling him that he is not to be involved in hitting games and that I don’t care who started what, he is just not to get involved. He has a new teacher and new class.

However, this has continued. He and his friend come out of class each day, chasing each other and playfighting. I’ve told my son very firmly that he is to try and stop these games as his friend is still kung-fuing all over the place. However, today, I picked both of them up from school and his friend told me that my ds had been given 'time out' for hitting him in the class. My ds says it was because of something that happened early but I don’t care why he hit him just that he did. The teacher didn’t say anything on collection today so I don't want to over react but how do you get this silly hitting to stop?

Is it just boys being boys? I've been loathe to accept that conclusion about boys behaviour. But there is a little group of boys always playfighting so how do I get my ds to move away from this and get some control over his own behaviour? He is so young and sometimes seems less mature than the others. He gets way too engrossed in these games

We’ve had a long talk tonight and he was very upset. Should I talk to the teacher or assume that if she isn't saying anything to me, there isn't a real problem?

I felt I was becoming a bit of a fuss pot last year and don't want to repeat the same this year.

What would you do?? He’s only 5 and learning to ge on with others but I don’t want him to get into trouble.

Thanks for any advice you can offer


NikkiH Tue 09-Sep-08 11:58:26

Games which involve playfighting like pirates and power rangers etc seem to be a phase that a lot of boys go through especially in Reception / Year 1 but they do come out of it.

If you haven't already done so, you could try explaining to him that behaviour and games that are acceptable in the playground to a certain extent are not tolerated in the classroom.

It may be that he's only playing these games because his 'friends' do. If he doesn't want to play them are there any other children who don't play the games that you could encourage him to play with instead? Also is he interested in football or running or something else which could be played at break time. Each class at my boys' school has a football and they graduated from power rangers to football towards the end of Year 1.

Seeline Tue 09-Sep-08 12:03:44

My DS has played such games through reception and year 1 - like you I'm hoping things will calm down in year 2. The school are very clear though that 'play' fighting is unacceptable in the playground ( and obviously the classromm!) as it inevitably leads to the real thing as children react. It sounds as though the supervision in the playground isn't strong enough or clear enough for the children to appreciate this difference. It does appear to be something that all boys go through though.

pudding25 Tue 09-Sep-08 12:07:31

Afraid to say it is bog standard at the age. Every year in my yr 1 class, we go through this. It drives me mad to be honest. I have chats with the kids about how to behave in the playground etc etc We get the playground staff to keep an eye on it to check it does not get out of hand but boys will be boys! They usually grow out of it around yr 2! Just keep on at him that if he is playing these games, it is make believe so they should not actually hit but they can pretend. Show him what pretend play fighting looks like.
Sorry, not too helpful but I bet you half the boys in the class are getting time outs for this!

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