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They're threatening to suspend BS5. Please help :(

tiredandfrustrated's picture

So my BS5 started Kindergarten this year. So exciting! Until his teacher started telling me everything he's been doing wrong in class. He's been punished several times for constantly touching other kids (not inappropriately, just playing), he "pretended" to bite another child while playing, and yesterday he was sent to the principal's office for poking another child with a stick. He says he is reacting to them hitting him, but I can't tell if he's being truthful. They are now threatening him with suspension if it doesn't stop. Also, his personality has changed dramatically since starting school. He was thick-skinned, stubborn and independent. Now he cries over every little thing and always asks if he's disppointing me. He also cries and says he doesn't want to go to school anymore.

So here's what we're doing...we've talked to him and his teacher several times, I've called to set up a meeting with the teacher and principal to figure out what's going on, we constantly remind him to keep his hands and feet to himself, and we "role play"-I say "Pretend I'm a kid in your class and I push/hit/kick you. What should you do?" and etc. We think he may have some emotional problems and we are considering counseling. A child psychologist suggested a year ago he may have ADD and/or ODD but he had improved so much we didn't see anymore problems in him until he started school. We are now considering ADD testing.

He is such a sweet kid. I want him to enjoy school and talk to me about things that are bothering him. But he shuts down and I don't know how to get him to talk to me.

What I'm wondering is...have any of you had these same problems? Is my kid really this bad when he's away from me? Or is the school the problem? Do any of you have any suggestions for things we haven't tried yet? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

tiredandfrustrated's picture

I have no illusions about my child being perfect. I've seen some of the things he's done and I know that he can be a nightmare when he wants to. What I'm curious about about is this-is it really ODD? Can a psychologist tell that much about a child at 4? And if it is, why isn't he displaying many of the other symptoms that I've read go along with that disorder? Isn't it possible he's just flat out misbehaving with no connections to a disorder?

tiredandfrustrated's picture

Thanks Foxie, that thought had crossed my mind too. I'll talk to the hubby about it this evening.

oneoffour's picture

My guess is he is having some trouble adjusting to the classroom environment. He needs to keep his hands and feet to himself. He needs to pay attenetion. HE needs to go to bed earlier until he adjusts, he may well just need more sleep.

Before you go the therapy route, think about this. When you were in school how many kids went to counsellors or therapists? How many kids were tested for possible conditions? Do you want a label so your child has a get out of jail free card? I remember watching a TV show about the human brain. They did a series of brain scans on children in a study. One girl was found to have only half a brain. She had undiagnosed hydrocephalis (watrer on the brain) BUT as it was undiagnosed her family never treated her any different way and she acted and tested slightly above average.

He has only been at kindergarten for a few weeks. Meet with his teacher and principal. Listen to them and explore ways to get your son on board with good behaviour. Make up rhymes for him.

tiredandfrustrated's picture

Thank you. I'm not sure it's really a disorder either. I just wanted to make sure we covered all the bases...the therapy thing came up because he's been through a lot the last 3 years. A LOT. We just thought it might help him with any anger problems he may be having, or anything he doesn't feel comfortable talking about with me. I don't know. I'm at a little bit of a loss here I guess.

PeanutandSons's picture

I think she was just clarifying that it wasn't like sexual touching..... Which would be a whole different problem.

tiredandfrustrated's picture

Yes, that's what I was doing. I'm not making light of anything, I just wanted everyone to understand that he isn't touching himself or anyone else sexually.

tiredandfrustrated's picture

He's been punished in so many different ways that I'm running out of ideas. So to answer your question, yes, he's been punished.

PeanutandSons's picture

Are you able to sit in at school for a day as a class room helper? Maybe it will help to see how he is interacting at school, and with the other kids.

My SS has add, and he also has issues keeping his hand to himself. It's worse at school (more stimulation and less supervision), but we do have the send issues at home. He also has very poor social skills and gets into confrontations a lot, but again also behavor we observe at home... Just worse at school.

If this is legitimately behavor that you don't ever see at home, I would be concerned. Nothing a teacher has ever told me "suprised" me as being out of charecter for the child in question. Even the fee times that my bioson has gotten in trouble at school, I can see exactly what happened in my mind. If s teacher told me my son did something totally off the wall for him, I would be very concerned as to why he was acting out of the ordinary and what pushed him to that point.

You need to objectively think about this and decideif this behavior is truly out of your sons charecter,or is this an escalation of a part of him that's already there.

StickAFork's picture

I would attend a day or two in class as a parent helper and see for yourself what is going on.

I do agree with the other posters, though. Has this child actually been disciplined for his choices, or just "talked to?"

tiredandfrustrated's picture

He's been punished. A LOT. And nothing's working so far. I thought about sitting in, but won't he behave differently because I'm there? He probably wouldn't try the things he does when he's away from me...

PeanutandSons's picture

If he's able to hold it together and behave while you are there, then that's an important piece of information to have. Then you know that it is poor choices on his part, and not something phychological out of his control. If he can behave with you there, then he can behave when you aren't.

But if he is still having these issues with you there, then you know that something about the school environment is setting him off.

If you go I would make sure that you stay back and observe as much as possible. Don't try to parent or control him while you are there. Try to observe him objectively. My sisters kindergarten has a two way mirror for parents to observe their kids without their kids knowing it, and I think that's ingenious. I wish my kids preschool had one, lol.

tiredandfrustrated's picture

I didn't think about it like that. Sitting in is a great idea when you put it that way. Thank you, I'll talk to the hubby about it.

tiredandfrustrated's picture

Some of it we've seen and some of it is new. The biting and poking people with things, etc. is new. The touching isn't. He's very affectionate with me, dad and his brothers. And he has a thing about being the center of attention. So I can see him doing that stuff.

dontcallmestepmom's picture

Did he go to preschool before this/has he been in a classroom setting before this?

I don't like that his personality has changed so dramatically.

Sounds to me like something about school itself is bugging him.

tiredandfrustrated's picture

He went to preschool at a daycare but it was a very different "setting". All play based, no expectations, the teachers were a little too leniant I think. So this is a very different experience for him. And the personality changes are what is worrying me most too.

PeanutandSons's picture

That doesn't concern me as much as the rest. A lot of kids have that same response when they have a major change in theory life. They have lost their security and are feeling less self assured.

My son (3) was a kid that never cried, even when hurt. He never threw tantrums and was a little man. His baby brother was born 4 months ago. Let me tell you....those first two months were rough with my 3 year old. Everything caused him to break down in tears. He cried constantly and threw tantrums over the smallest thing. Once he realized that he was still safe and loved, his old personality started coming back. He's pretty much back to his normal happy go-lucky self now. A bit whiney still, but a vast improvement from where we were three months ago.

The key is to be understanding, but firm. You can't let them get away with it or they won't ever adjust.

Lalena75's picture

My SO's unsocialized wild animal of a son started kindergarten this year and he's been in trouble everyday. BM tried to blame SO except he pointed out her keeping the kids since the first day of school! Now SO has them for a week to undo all the behavior like standing on sinks rolling on the floor yelling etc. So he's going to spend evening number 2for for another bad day at school sitting in time out no tv or games all night. His sis had a good day for a change ahe gets tv and 1tell game. We're hoping he sees his sis getting privlidges and changes his attitude at school or he'll sit in time out and get no tv or fun time all week.

hismineandours's picture

A diagnosis is just an opinion-even if one psychologist met with him once and diagnosed him with odd-I wouldnt necessarily put much stock into that. Lots of kids are defiant at some point or another. Heck, I would venture to say almost all of them. My ss14 is diagnosed with ODD-and trust me every single symptom fits him like a snug coat. Is this a free pass? Well, hell no, there are no biological underpinnings to ODD-it's not a chemical imbalance-in fact I just like to refer to it as "assholism". (and I'm a therapist). Usually, when kids are defiant there is something driving that. Such as anxiety. Such as depression. Such as poor parenting in general.

It's not like your kid sounds "out of control"-these behaviors in fact sound very manageable. My ds who is now 13 had some trouble in both kindergarten and first grade. In kindergarten he was just stubborn. He'd sit there stubbornly and not answer the teacher when she asked him a question. She finally called me in for a conference because she thought he wasnt learning and didnt know the answers and wasnt comprehending a thing. Imagine her surprise when she actually had him do some work and he acheieved at a higher level than anyone else in the class? He did not go to preschool, was not used to be in a classroom setting-I just think it was intimidating for him to speak in front of a room full of people-to this day he doesnt like to draw attention to himself. In 1st grade he also had some different sorts of issues. He accidentally hit a kid with a soft lunch box in the head (he was being rowdy but did not mean to hit him he was swinging it around). Well, that was it. The teacher labeled him at that point as a big old bully which had me and dh literally laughing. This kid is soooo not an aggressive bully. Goofy, silly, a little spastic, yes-but bully no. He got in trouble for roughhousing with his best friend (teacher felt he was picking on her-they played together every day she lives across the street from us). he got in trouble for tagging a girl out during a game of kickball-the girl did not want to be out so she cried and said she was "hit". Just one ridiculous thing after another. Finally my dh (who god bless has some anger management issues) talked to the principal on the phone, dh and I requested a parent meeting, and what ended up happening is the teacher and principal apologized all over themselves for suggesting their was a problem. To this day, I wonder what my dh said to create that response. LOL!

Anywho, my long winded point, is that it could be anything. My ds is now in 8th grade, has a 4.0 and has never even had a detention or anything of the sort to mark his whole school career. He literally has not got into any sort of trouble since 1st grade. He still shudders when he thinks back to that teacher. He really disliked her and she evidently felt that she knew what he was all about-but she did not.

I think your school talking about suspension at this point is ridiculous. It's likely he is havign some trouble adjusting to the new year. I would continue to work with him at home with proper behaviors, there are even little books you can get on how to make a friend, and social skills that you can read him and then. And yes, if he hits someone at school I would give him some sort of consequence at him so he knows its serious business.

tiredandfrustrated's picture

Thank you so much. We will keep working with him at home. Now, what do I do if they suspend him anyway? I was a little surprised they were already talking about suspension too. And guess what? I've left 2 messages now about meeting with the teacher and principal and nobody wants to call me back. I'm starting to feel like this is a little one-sided...

tiredandfrustrated's picture

We might still look into testing, I don't know for sure yet. That's where we are now btw...I hate that the first thing we say to him is "How was school today?" and his response is almost always "I got in trouble." We don't ever start out asking if he got in trouble first thing, but it almost always moves into that conversation because he fesses up pretty quickly. It sucks that the day ends that way.

tiredandfrustrated's picture

We are only considering the testing to make sure we've covered everything. If he has it, we can explore our options there. If he doesn't, no loss. We will know that's not the issue and it's strictly a behavior problem. Younger, he had a lot of problems. But his problems started right after a lot of things at home happened. He was appearing to adjust and grow out of a lot of his issues. And the doc said he "may" have, not did have. Either way, I'm not assuming he does or doesn't have ADD without proper testing. And we aren't automatically going to pull him. We would like to keep him in school if we can.

simifan's picture

SD had a lot of these issues when she went to kindergarten. She wasn't ready. The school talked DH & BM into making her sped instead of repeating kindergarten. Since they agreed & it happened so rarely I backed off. I wish I hadn't; it followed her through out school - she was always playing catch up.

She just wasn't ready. She was one of the youngest & they push young kids so hard now; she never really had a school environment because mom kept moving her all over without any stability.

tiredandfrustrated's picture

That's what we're trying to figure out. Is it just a problem that can be fixed? Or is he not ready? So hard to figure out...

omgsaveme's picture

LOL, that is just a boy being a boy. Trust me, I have 3. It amazes me how the world wants to medicate everyone if they do ANYTHING they don't deem as normal. My YDS is 5, he does the same thing, he plays, he's in a new school with new kids, and they do silly things. Just like not all adults are exactly the same children don't either. I would NOT let them just slap him on medication because he is playing around with other kids. Does he actually need this or does he just need time to learn appropriate touching. Yeesh, schools make me want to slap the crap out of them anymore.

A child rarely ever misbehaves anymore or does things out of turn, it's always immediate diagnosis of ADD or ADHD or ODD or EPP or STD lol everything. Therefore, the parent finds some schmuck of a doc who misdiagnoses this child and slaps him on some medication, then from that day on EVERY time the child does something wrong the parents uses the childs disorder as an excuse. Oh he didn't take his medication today, he has ADHD. Unless the kid isn't sitting there like a deaf mute, and barely moving they think something's wrong.

Ugh ! Forgive me for the rant, I just can't stand this crap. Stand your ground with your son, research symptoms and how other kids that actually have those disorders interact. Sit in his class one day, watch the other children and what they do. Does the teacher just focus on your BS's behavior more than the other kids ? Are other kids taunting him and he responds back to him. Are they all different kids, or the same kids that he's having these "issues" with. Good luck and hope this helps.

tiredandfrustrated's picture

We were only open to the testing to rule everything out-we wouldn't have immediately slapped him with meds, there are other options. It was mainly just to make sure there wasn't anything underlying his behavior problems. But I really do feel like the schools are part of the problem. How do you tell a 5yo to stop acting like a 5yo? And the school wants to suspend him for it. I just found out that almost all of these instances started with other children. They hit, he hits back. They poke, he pokes back. The only thing he did without anyone else doing it first was being affectionate-hugging, etc (no kissing, thank god). It doesn't make it okay for him to hit back, but at least it makes more sense...he's not being mean just to be mean.

reallifedrama's picture

It is VERY common that a child's behavior: 1. changes when they enter kindergarten 2. some children are still immature and not emotionally ready for kindergarten (is he a young kindergartner?) 3. the environment may not be one your child has been exposed to, he therefore does not know how to behave in it (ex. any other children in your home? has he gone to preschool? do you have strict, structured routine he has had to follow? has he had experiences to play with lots of children with different dispositions, races etc?} and finally, I'm sure I will get reamed for this one, but maybe this is a new teacher and s/he has a style of discipline MUCH different than your own and he has not yet adjusted to it yet?

I'm thrilled to hear you have set up a meeting with the teacher and principal.
Sit with the teacher and find out exactly when the behaviors occur, does he stay focused during lessons, is he being hit or picked on by other children as he stated (this is important to know, because he will need to be protected as well as learn how to appropriately respond if so), how exactly does the teacher handle him when he does inappropriate things, and how can you possibly work together on this. These things are important. Keep talking to your child as well and take whatever is going on seriously. DO NOT HIT YOUR CHILD to teach him not to hit, either!

I'm not trying to minimize his behaviors with my questions, but everything happens for a reason and it is important to get to the bottom of the WHY. You also stated your child "shuts down" so maybe he really does not know how to appropriately express himself. You could request the school have him tested by their psychologist. Do it sooner, rather than later. It could be minor, but if not, you want to know early on, and besides that, they may be able to suggest ways to help him improve his behaviors. Much luck to you and your little boy!

omgsaveme's picture

LOL see, I tell my children they have every right to defend themselves if someone does something to them. I sat in my sons class several times and saw other kids just being kids and poking him, pushing him, and he would respond and play back. However my son is a big strong kid for his age, and not gentle in the least bit. I think it's apalling they are talking about suspending him. Maybe switching him to a different class my help with a different teacher, who better understands.