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Chronic low-level misbehaviour at school: how should we respond

(17 Posts)
Number42 Wed 19-Mar-14 14:42:22

Our dd (13) is prone to various low-level misdemeanours in school: chatting in class, texting in class, not doing homework, arguing with teachers, "forgetting" a detention so gets a worse one etc. School give appropriate punishments (if anything they are on the trigger-happy side). Our instinct would be to leave it at that - as she said in the past when we piled extra things on top (eg confiscating phone for too many detentions) "Why are you punishing me for being punished?". The problem is that lately it doesn't seem to bother her that much getting these punishments. And we feel (perhaps wrongly) that this sort of behaviour raises moral issues - arrogance (silly rules don't apply to me), inconsiderateness (I can disrupt the class if I feel like it) and harm to herself (school is for messing around in not learning), and that it's our parental role to send a message that this sort of behaviour is not OK. Should we do something, and if so, what?

adeucalione Wed 19-Mar-14 16:30:36

I think you do need to do something in order to enforce the school's message and show that you are in full agreement. Leaving it to the school, because that makes for a slightly easier home life, would be lazy parenting IMO.

I wouldn't suggest punishing for every misdemeanor, but maybe a privilege withdrawn on the weekend if she's had a detention during the week?

FernieB Wed 19-Mar-14 18:46:24

I would definitely punish at home as well. If she complains that she's already punished at school just tell her that she needs to realise her actions have consequences. If she misbehaves at school from now on she will be punished at home too. If she doesn't like it she can behave herself.

JohnnyUtah Wed 19-Mar-14 18:53:56

If it were me I would go in and talk to the school. They are used to lots of silly teenagers and may have a good idea what will work with your daughter.

Travelledtheworld Wed 19-Mar-14 19:43:03

Take away the phone ?
But also can you come up with a reward for when she has a day when she is not disruptive ?
Even if it is just praise !

Do the school put the really distuptive kids into exclusion ?

meerschweinchen Wed 19-Mar-14 19:52:21

Chatting in class and forgetting homework are low-level misdemeanors. Arguing with the teachers (rudeness) and not bothering to turn up to detentions are more serious in my book, and I would definitely punish her for those.

However, as a pp said, you need some positive reinforcement too. You need to make it clear that you support the school in their punishments etc, and that you are disappointed when she does something which merits a punishment.

Could you turn in around and reward her for good behaviour - treat at the weekend perhaps if she's had a good week. If school are fed up too, could she go on a behaviour report? Each teacher signs it at the end of each lesson to show that she's worked well, any homework has been handed in etc, or they write a comment if that's not the case. You could then reward her at the end of a good week, or remove her phone etc if it's been a bad week.

Wolfiefan Wed 19-Mar-14 20:04:09

So you think this is "low level" and school are "trigger happy"? No wonder she doesn't take it seriously.
You are not punishing her for being punished. She causes the negative consequences by behaving badly. She will soon be at college/work and they will soon send her packing if she acts like this. In the meantime she is messing up the education of every child in her class
She has to earn privilege. Eg phone, screen time and social stuff etc.

HolidayCriminal Wed 19-Mar-14 20:08:27

You have to figure out what you know she cares about as a punishment.

adeucalione Thu 20-Mar-14 12:23:08

I wish I had £1 for every parent who has minimised their child's low level disruption in Y8 (not suggesting you are doing this OP). They are singing a different tune when they're child is cocking up his/her GCSEs, or when we say we don't want them back for sixth form. At that point, they suddenly realise that they should've been taking this seriously for years, and that people won't bend over backwards for their little darling forever.

Number42 Thu 20-Mar-14 16:47:52

Thanks. There is something strange going on bc she did badly on this for the first term; we read the riot act and things improved a lot and then suddenly in the last week there has been a flurry of problems. Wondering if there is something else going on - she was v worried about Yr 10 options. We are going to have a talk along the lines of meerschweinchen. Other posters - she is a complicated creature and hard to capture everything about her. What I didn't mention is that a) almost all her teachers are extremely fond of her b) she is genuinely scatty and forgetful. Think Luna Lovegood. Hence our wariness about coming down too hard. Understand the importance of boundaries but it's about finding ways that will work for her.

allmycats Thu 20-Mar-14 16:53:43

I think you need to read her the riot act, from your posting it appears that she is actually a pain in the arse in class and the other kids do not deserve to have their education disrupted by her, also the teacher should be more respected by your daughter - what would you do if she behaved in a similar manner at home when you were talking to her or asking her to do things. I would take away from her the things she most
wants, i.e. mobile phone (which she should not have in class anyway) - screen time etc and would sit her down to do her homework and physically sit at the side of her until she had done it.

specialsubject Thu 20-Mar-14 17:23:20

wasting education is disgusting, so is disrupting other people's. She needs a serious arse-kicking - although as it is 2014, not a literal one.

having checked for any underlying issues, remove all privileges - that is everything apart from food, shelter, clothing, love and that education. It include taxi service, internet except supervised for homework and mobile phone. She's at school and doesn't need one.

privileges restored when behaviour improves and remains that way.

cory Thu 20-Mar-14 18:09:45

When ds was in Yr 7 and 8 he could have been described in some of the terms you used "scatty" "forgetful", and there were complaints about him being inattentive in class. What worked well for us was a concerted push (supported by us) from the school: he was put on report so that he could see after every single lesson exactly how he had come across to the teacher and that report card had to be taken home at the end of every week and signed by us.

Texting in class could not have happened (at least not more than once) as mobiles are banned in the school and have to be handed in to reception at the start of the day.

He is much better behaved now he is in Yr 9. He has admitted that part of his silliness in class was about being afraid of not fitting in or being bullied (though he admits that this did not actually happen), his self esteem was very low and there were some issues at home.

Knowing that other people are on the case has helped.

Knowing that school and home sing from the same hymns sheet has helped.

And seeing how much more pleasant life is, and how well he can perform, if he is giving of his best has definitely helped.

fishfingereaters Fri 21-Mar-14 07:48:15

We had this. We worked with the school, told them we took it very seriously and would follow through on any punishments handed out in school. They emailed through any comments on his behaviour during the day (good and bad). If we got a negative comment, he had no computer that evening - no questions asked. If it was a positive, we rewarded. The wheels turned slowly but he gradually left that behaviour behind. It was hard, because he had to leave behind his only group of friends because they always messed around in class. Talk to her teachers about the friends she is messing around with, they may be able to separate them. In our case DS actually asked us to do this. He is now doing very well (at a new school) and behaves pretty much perfectly.

Orangeanddemons Fri 21-Mar-14 07:54:02

I don't think texting in class is low level. As a teacher it drives me insane. I take phone away straight away.

chocoluvva Tue 25-Mar-14 09:54:23

Ooh I sympathise. It's tricky when they're scatterbrained. DS (15) is extremely disorganised and forgetful/easily distracted. He has slight ASD. And the ASD predisposes him to get very annoyed about minor injustices (such as having to wear a blazer at all times in school).

I doubt that punishments will help with forgetting things. But chatting in class is surely easy to avoid - just don't do it OP's DD.

I've tried explaining to DS that teachers have to do what's best for the class - which isn't necessarily what will suit him as an individual. And that they have a difficult job and aren't perfect - like everybody else - so there will be times when they react in a way that doesn't suit him and he'll just have to deal with it.

Recently he's been getting annoyed with himself for forgetting things - and now packs his bag in the evening without being told to. major success Hopefully your DD will get more organised as she matures.

This is just my experience OP. I try not to go on and on about school with DS the way I did with his older DS so that he doesn't feel pressurised. On the other hand he has already paid the price for not doing homework by underperforming in English and is now in a poor English class. A cautionary tale.

I'm in Scotland so not quite the same as the English system - but I get the impression that it's not the same as when I were a lass and could get by on madly cramming before exams so that I could trot out my reading of the previous evening - and forget it a week later.

Sorry I'm rambling now...

sandyballs Tue 25-Mar-14 11:02:14

I could have written your post about my DD, same age, year 8. Any detentions or phone calls home from school now involve a 24 hour ban on her ipad and phone. It slowly seems to be working.

I think it's peer pressure - the two subjects that she is streamed in, she is doing extremely well, but when she's with a certain group she wants to fit in and impress and basically arse about. So frustrating, I know how you feel.

I had a meeting with her learning coach last week, with DD, and the teacher emphasised the importance of this year with a view to choosing options in year 9. This school have three different option paths and DD was told she that academically she should be in the top path but she is borderline at the moment between the top and middle. I think this shocked DD and brought home how important this is all getting. Could something like that help with your DD.

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