DS being sent home from school - what to do?

(4 Posts)
Londonwriter Wed 07-Oct-20 16:07:49

My older DS is 3 years and 10 months. He started a private pre-school earlier this month.

He was okay for the first few days at kindergarten, but then started wetting himself. In addition, we were getting reports of behavioural problems - throwing things, hitting other children, not listening to the teacher and running away during PE. Eventually, my DH went into the school and we discovered that my DS was wetting himself because he was afraid of using the toilet because it didn't have an insert. The school said we couldn't bring in an insert due to COVID restrictions, and recommended that we taught him to pee standing up.

DH, I and my mother-in-law spent a week trying to do that, but - although he understood how to pee stood up - he got very distressed and anxious about the idea of doing it. Eventually, we agreed with the school that he could go in half a day until he could use the toilet without an insert. We also agreed that, if he began to misbehave, they would send him home. We would use behavioural charts with him and work with them on improving his behaviour.

We had three days last week where he managed until lunchtime. Then he got sent home due to throwing things. He was ill with a cold over the weekend. Monday, he got sent home for throwing things mid-morning. Tuesday, he was ill with the cold and I kept him off school. Today, he managed a hour before they called us and we had to take him home.

He behaves better at home, but seems to have problems with emotional regulation. When he gets frustrated or angry, he throws things, bursts into tears and runs away. He is also a consummate troll and takes great pleasure in deliberately misbehaving to annoy people. He will start doing something and, if he's told to stop, will instead laugh and do it more. When he is being told off, he laughs and pretends he isn't listening.

He does seem to be slower in some areas. We only managed to potty train him a month before he started school. By this point, me, my DH, my mum and my husband's mum had all tried potty training him - we had started at 2 1/2. We eventually managed to get him use a potty, and then the toilet with a training insert. DS was also slower to speak and we (briefly) saw a speech therapist on the advice of his nursery, and took him to the GP to test his hearing (it's fine). He started talking around 2 1/2.

Otherwise, he seems pretty smart. My mum taught him phonics before lockdown and he's subsequently (somehow) taught himself to read at Oxford Reading Tree Level 7. His teacher, when not sending him home, is pleased with his comprehension of the books he's reading. He also can do addition and subtraction with a number board.

The school said they don't believe in educational psychologists at his age because some children are slower to develop. The headmistress evidently wants to work with us. She says she's never dealt with a kid like him, has never had to exclude a child, and will see it as a personal failure if she has to chuck him out.

However, both DH and I are in despair. We aren't sure how to improve his behaviour. We try bribery, naughty step, and talking quietly about behaviour. He deliberately doesn't listen to us (i.e. he ignores us when we're telling him off, or talks over us and changes the subject, but if you say "are you an elephant?" he'll immediately shout "no!") Our mother-in-law trained as a social worker and specialised in bereaved children, and she hasn't made much more progress than us.

Both DH and I had problems at primary school. I was very disruptive and DH used to leave the school grounds and go home at lunchtime (crossing two roads). Neither of us followed instructions or listened to the teachers. This was part of why we sent him to a private primary with small class sizes and an academic focus.

Any advice? Someone on another thread suggested 1-2-3 Magic parenting, so I've ordered that, but I'm worried he may have issues that can't be fixed by parenting.

My younger DS (aged 8 months) is, incidentally, completely different from him. Much more affectionate, better fine motor control, and more engaged with people.

Sorry for the long post. Just unsure what to do, really. I don't want the poor little guy written off, aged 4.

OP’s posts: |
Londonwriter Wed 07-Oct-20 16:21:01

I should add. When I say "throws things", I don't mean he throws an object occasionally. Apparently, he systematically walks around the classroom hurling everything onto the floor. The teachers tell him off and he ignores them. As they pick the things up, he goes behind their back and does it again.

OP’s posts: |
parietal Wed 07-Oct-20 17:09:53

First of all, schools can't discriminate against children on the basis of toileting skills - they should support your child at the stage he is at.

The ERIC website provides a lot of support & advice on that.

In terms of behaviour, it is likely that something is stressing him out or triggering him. can the school identify what it is? He is very young to have perfect behaviour, and the school might be expecting too much.

Porcupineinwaiting Wed 14-Oct-20 22:08:53

Sounds like your ds is dealing with a lot of anxiety (whatever else may be going on). Are you sure this school is the right environment for him? They sound clueless and awful.

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