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7 year old son with school issues
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7 year old son with school issues

I am a single mother of a 7 year old boy, who is very shy, sweet, bright and my hero. We had a rocky first 3 years old his life. We lived with his extremely abusive father, who I was afraid to leave. I tried to take as much of the abused directed at my son myself, but that failed. Finally a week after his 3rd birthday his father beat him so badly that I fled with my son. After multiple court dates, cps visits, pages of things to complete per court order, a not guilty finding in the courts and cps banning his father from having any contact, I thought my son and I would be able to move on, heal together and try to forget as much as possible.(Which I do understand can never be fully erased from anyones memory). After many trying days and nights, my son kind of grew into the fatherless home I attempted to create (which sadly is the same home the abuse happened in). He entered elementary school and things just went down hill from there. Now, He is an wonderful kid 95% of the time at home. Of course we have our butting of heads but I honestly could not have asked for a better son. He helps when I ask, he loves asking for hugs/kisses, he is goofy and is just an over all good kid. But when he is in school, he doesn't listen most of the time. I get constant emails about him not behaving. Yelling out in class, goofing off, not following the rules and to top it off, he lies to me about it all. His test scores are above average, so he is not stupid by any means. I just don't understand what switch is flipped in his head from the time I drop him off to the second he enters his class room. How can I help him control himself? How do I get through his head that this is unacceptable behavior and it does not make me happy? I've sat down with him numerous times and talked to him about it. Asking him what I can do to help him, how can we work on it together and I get a blank stare and his famous words of " I can't control myself". It really drives me up a wall that he can be one kid outside of school and another kid while in school. I am at my wits end with this battle. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
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1791150_tn?1330132972
Hello there

I would get him tested.

He is either too clever for the work he is being set and is just really bored and not challenged enough mentally

or he might have something like ADHD ?   I am not sure about the second option as usually the child gets it at home too.

maybe he is dyslexic? This might account for the not concentrating thing but being clever??  There is a simple test for this too
Good luck


xx
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1791150_tn?1330132972
Hi there

The other option is for him to see a child psychaiatrist to talk through his problems and get him to draw pictures showing anything thats worrying him. It may be he needs to get the dad thing out of his system somehow

xxx
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Avatar_m_tn
     I agree.  After monitoring the ADHD site on this forum for years, I can say that it is possible that he "can't control himself".   ADHD or ADD is inherited.  And he certainly may have picked it up from your husband.  Anyway, it is something to check out.  You would wind up hating yourself if he was being punished for something he really can't control.
     I suggest that you buy,  "The ADD/ ADHD Answer book," by Susan Ashley.  Its under $10 on Amazon.  The book will help you decide if he has enough of the symptoms to go further, and then it will tell you what to do next.  And it also gives tons of advice for future years.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for the advice. I will check the book out. But if it is ADHD or ADD wouldn't he have the symptoms at home? He is a great kid at home (I am sure a lot of parents say that about their children), but i don't have any major issues with him.. anymore that is.. After the abuse from his father, from about 3yrs old to about 4, I would have to physically restrain him from biting, scratching, pinching me and himself, ect., he "calmed down". He doesn't show is anger at school, but I have seen him "black out" and sucker punched a boy who was in his face and would not leave him alone after my son had asked him to. I know that there are emotional damages done from his horrible past. He has seen child psychologists and development people, who all seemed to not find anything wrong. He is a smart kid so I am sure he has the ability to hide deep down issues he is facing. I try to re-enforce this ability to have open communication with me.. telling him he can talk to me about anything or if he wants to talk to someone I can arrange it. I even have a book for him to write down or draw in if he feels he can not express his feelings. I have looked into play therapy, but my insurance does not cover it and the rates are well out of my means of affording. I am in a great relationship with a man who has gone above and beyond any of my expectations of being an amazing father figure to him. (No I did not ask him to play this role, he took it on himself and announced that this was his choice). I know it does not replace the void he has for his father, but my boyfriend also re-enforces that my son can call him or sit down with him and talk to him about anything on his mind.
Are there any other suggestions or ideas that either of you may have to praise good behavior? I've tried charts, jars.. but they only seem to work for a short amount of time. I praise him with as much love and positive words as i can. Example. He is amazing in math and art. Homework for him takes 2 minutes, which he hands to me when complete and we go over it together. When I say "Your my little mathematician" he will say he is stupid. He is far from stupid. Low-self esteem, yes. How do you raise that? He is enrolled in after school tae kwon do, which he loves and is great at. But I am just at a loss for trying to raise his self-esteem and get him more focused on behaving at school.  
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1791150_tn?1330132972
Hi there

My first born child was extremely clever and very demanding of my time . He was just so inquisitive wanted to know everything . He is an A* student now and I am not surprised he did do well in his exams.

If you get him tested like an ability test  mensa or something like that and he does turn out to be very able then he may be put up a year in school and he might change his behaviour.

Does he do a lot of puzzles at home (maths) ?
Crosswords and the like too?

I think its good he has a father figure now and that will help immensly hope that works out for you both.

If he is an only child then he should have friends around to plays a lot and do board games hide and seek fun things only kids  enjoy.

my children love to be told well done if they have done something really good at school and are happy with a huge hug and a kiss from me.  They do know I am proud of there drawings when I hang them up on the kitchen cupboards for everyone to see who visits.

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1006035_tn?1391310794
I'm so glad your new boyfriend is really nice and tries to help out with your son. It sounds like your son does need some more therapy. There could be several things going on here from what you've said. If he's really smart then the class may be boring to him. We all know a bored kid is not a good thing. Have him tested to see if he is gifted.

As much praise and encouragement you are giving him at home, if he's not getting it at school then it won't help him much there. I've dealt with a bad school before that focused on the negative and the mistakes my DD made. It can't be all bad and if the school is saying that it is perhaps it's time to look for a different one.

It sounds like you really care about your son and are trying to help him as much as possible. It may be rocky for a while, but I'm sure he'll be ok in the end as long as he has you!
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973741_tn?1342346373
Hi there.  Well, I can tell you one thing I read loud and clear in your post and that is how much you love and adore your son.  That is wonderful.

So, in thinking about some of the things you have written-------  I am wondering how your son's socialization goes outside of school.  Do you have play dates with him and his peers?  How do they go?  Does he become anxious at things like a birthday party or a crowded place like a shopping mall?  Also, how is your son's handwriting?

I ask because my own boy who is seven has a difficult time in some situations.  At home, he is 'in control' or comfortable with his enviroment but at school, he obviously is not.  My son has sensory integration disorder which involves things like how a person relates to their environment.  If overwhelmed, excited, or nervous----  my son can lose his ability to maintain his behavior properly.  We really struggled with it until we understood it was his nervous system not functioning properly.  

Sensory can look a lot like add/adhd but with add/adhd ----  you usually have more problems at home than you do with sensory kids.  Both involve the nervous system though and it can be confusing telling which is which.

My son is like yours, quite bright.  But when you can't focus and maintain your behavior, it is hard to learn.  And it will eventually impact you socially.

What we have done is really worked directly on my boy's nervous system.  We do a lot of physical activity.  This helps 'regulate' him so that when he is at school, he can stay calm.  Things like swimming are idea., going to a park and running, jumping, climbing, skipping, rolling down a hill, swinging, etc. all really impact the nervous system.  I have about a million ideas of games and things you can play at home to help calm the nervous system.  We have done occupational therapy with our son which has helped tremendously.

I agree that it can be very difficult for children to control their impulses at times and even when they know the rules, the literally can't help themselves.  My son can be this way.  We keep him regulated with the above type of activity which helps so very much.  And then at school, we've taught him to kind of moniter how he is feeling.  He doesn't like to get in trouble-----  so when he feels himself getting amped up, he has things he can do to calm himself back down.  He can carry some books across the room, erase dry erase or chalk boards, he can do a chair push up, etc.  Maybe your son needs occational movement breaks.  

Well, good luck.  It sounds like you are doing a fine job of helping your boy stay on track.  
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Avatar_f_tn
My son is fairly shy. When talking about his day at school he will mention other kids as "friends" but will suddenly change it to "a kid in my class". He has never really made that connection with other kids or asked for play dates, which has concerned me. When we go to the playground and other kids are around he makes no effort to play with them, introduce himself or anything. It is pretty sad to see him content playing by himself. I have 2 younger nieces, who he plays extremely well with. He loves 'teaching" them how things work or how to play a game. it has to be a comfort level as it being family, as stated in the above post. He has never really liked puzzles or many board games. He loves to draw (which his kindergarten and 1st grade teacher, who were the same person, always expressed her disappointment in him wanting to draw on the back of his work after being finished). He seems to be highly influenced by other kids. Almost as if he is wanting to follow in their footsteps, even though he knows it is a wrong choice at times. Today I found out that another child in his tae kwon do class and him drew a picture together, the mother of that child came back to show them that my son had wrote the F word on it. Of course I was beyond upset and disappointed in him for doing so, which he finally admitted to after lying about it. He had told me the other child "dared" him to do it and threaten to kill him. I wanted to flip my top when I heard that and as most mother's say.. the "if so and so jumped off a bridge would you do it as well" came out. He responded with a "NO" and we got into a discussion about how he can not listen to other children when he knows it will lead to him being in trouble. I do not want my son medicated at all. And am fearful if i take him to a doctor they are just going to want to do so.
I really do appreciate all the input. I am definitely looking into everything!
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535822_tn?1389452880
may I ask where he heard the F' word  they dont make it up he also knew how to spell it ?...I agree with you about medication so many times we hear of parents thinking children have disorders when in fact it is ordinary child behavior ..
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Avatar_m_tn
    First, let me reassure you that even if a doctor wanted to medicate your son, it is always your choice.  The reason you want to see a doctor is to find out what is going on so that you will know the proper technique to help him.  However, finding the right doctor can be a problem.  This is not something that you want a pediatrician to deal with in my opinion.  That leaves either a pediatric psychologist or psychiatrist.
   Also, you are correct in that he needs to show symptoms at home and school.  However, ADD is something that does not easily show up at home.   The hyper child gets the attention and unfortunately many web sites deal only with the ADHD child.  This site is not too bad, so I think it will be helpful to you.   I should also mention that you said his test scores are above average.  However, if he is a sharp kid, its possible that he should be doing much better.  I would ask his teacher if she thinks that he is testing at the level of his intelligence.  Particularly, ask how he does with new material.  And, of course, he may not have ADD.  But whenever I see a bright child showing signs of frustration, I get concerned.
       http://helpguide.org/mental/adhd_add_signs_symptoms.htm
    There are also books aimed at the 4 to 7 year old child that might be helpful.  I would buy one and see how it goes as he might be just out of the age range.  "Know and follow the rules," would probably be a good starting point.  You can find it here - http://www.amazon.com/Follow-Rules-Cheri-Meiners-M-Ed/dp/1575421305/ref=pd_sim_b_4            and if you scroll down you will find other helpful suggestions.  
    
    Also, kids do need to be taught how to handle their anger.  There are a couple sets of books aimed at this age group.  One is, " How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger" (Laugh And Learn). That and several more are found here - http://www.amazon.com/Take-Grrrr-Anger-Laugh-Learn/dp/1575421178/ref=pd_sim_b_7
          Another good set is the," Don't Rant and Rave on Wednesdays!" The Children's Anger-Control Book. That and others in the set are found here - http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Rant-Rave-Wednesdays-Anger-Control/dp/0933849540/ref=pd_sim_b_1
     Finally, I do think it would be worth your time to take a day off and go observe him at school and at play.  There could be things going on that are also causing some of these problems.
     Oh, and I do agree with specialmom that SIDS is worth looking into.  It is something that medication will not help, so meds are not given.  But there are many, many things that can be done to help the child.
     Best wishes.
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Avatar_f_tn
I know I have slipped the F bomb around him.. I will admit to that. But I am not cursing like a sailor around him. He had told me an older boy who was in the room with them told him how to spell it and the boy he was drawing with is the one that used the word. But knowing my son, he more than likely joined in using the word. If it was common for him to use language like this I am sure he would have slipped saying them around me, which he has yet to do & hopefully will not ever do.
As far has him being bright. He goes to a math and science focus school. He loves math and science, especially when drawing, diagrams and problem solving is involved (he is one of those kids who can get a box of legos and be done in 10 minutes without looking at the instructions). He breezes through homework like it is nothing. Of course I review it with him to make sure it is correct and he understands what he was doing. I have a conference with his teacher coming up, and have my list going of questions and concerns I would like to review then. And I do have the ability to go to his school to observe him in his school setting. My mom has often gone there also to watch him (mainly when he was in 1st grade), she is a former elementary school teacher and I trust her expertise judgement . The only thing with that, is when he knows I am there or my mom he acts correctly. No outbursts, drifting off into his own world.. just good behavior. And it is often difficult to "spy" for a few moments because some child spots me and says "Your mom is here!". My cover is blown there.
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Avatar_m_tn
     Actually, I was more curious about the teacher and how she works with the class.  Is she inexperienced?  Does the class get a bit out of control?  What are the class dynamics like?  Are there a lot more boys then girls (or the opposite) in the class?  How many kids in the class?  Things like that.  And has your mom visited the new teacher this year?
    By the way - and I should have asked this sooner.  Did he have these problems last year?
    And by the way, here is an interesting post by an obviously intelligent lady who went through all of the school system and was not diagnosed.  ADD is hard to diagnose.    The post is http://www.medhelp.org/posts/ADD---ADHD/Do-I-have-ADD-ADHD/show/1620752#post_7373112
  Look for the replies by Joanne44.  
   And I am not saying that he has ADD, but it is posts like hers that always make me suspicious.
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Avatar_f_tn
Actually this year he has a male teacher. The female teacher he had was something else. He had left a vm on the home phone one day last year, not sure why he didn't call my cell b/c he knew i was working.. but I could hear her yelling at the kids and my son. I informed the school, allowed them to listen to it and was told that teacher has never raised her voice at any of her kids & the vm must have been from after school. I really wanted to go off on them for that. People raved about her.. me I don't see anything positive about her. Instead of dealing with the kids, she would just send them to another class. My son got sent out a ton last year and would go to his teacher this years class.
There are slightly more girls than boys in the class of 21. His teacher is fairly new from my understanding (3 years that i know of him being there), but he seems to have a positive way of re-enforcing good behavior in the class which my son was extremely excited about for the first month. With my son being fairly shy, I was shocked when his interim came home and said that he likes to take charge in certain situations and be a leader.
My mom has not been to his class this year. I am planning on sitting down with them today, with my son, to go over things.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Hi.  Well, man we hate it when our kids do the wrong thing.  I always say when it comes to kids-----  there is always a little truth in what they say and some made up stuff as well.  It doesn't matter if the other boy told him to or not, he wrote that profane word.  Rats!!  He has to know and I'm sure he does now that this is NEVER okay.  And kids who hear it at home will occassionally let it fly with friends.  Kind of a natural progression.  Now, don't think this is horribly unusual for 7 year old boys.  Had a boy at our house just last week that has an older brother and he took the wolverine claw thing (mom's of little boys know what I am talking about here)---  and put the two on the end down and the one in the middle up to look like he was giving the finger.  Ugh.  And then he said it means to F word.  And then he wanted to tell my younger son what that meant (my 7 year old knew already sadly).  Now, I run a tight ship.  That kind of talk and knowledge is not uncommon with that age of boys if they have either a parent that talks it or older siblings that have told them or heck, even ride the bus with older kids.  And once one kid knows, they tell the others.  

I hear what you are saying about your son and being a 'loner'.  This actually can be a response to lack of natural social skills.  I am shy but have friends.  I like to be alone but enjoy others as well.  What I would do is make sure you provide him with opportunity to be around other kids and force the issue of an occasional play date.  Yes, it requires some effort on your part----  you'll have to plan it and help your boy along.  In occupational therapy, they always talked about the other kids in my son's class as "his friends" and helped him do what he could 'to be a good friend'.  Pick someone and plan something fun to do with them at your house.  Foster friendships.  Help him with what to say to others if he doesn't know.

I actually would NOT sit down with school people AND your son.  That is a grown up discussion and kids shouldn't be there.  I would encourage you to remain open minded to what they say and share how you feel honestly.  

I really agree that something is going on here.  A teacher with even three years experience knows when it is the same child over and over again that is falling outside of what the other kids are doing/acting.  Finding out exactly why as best you can is the absolute best way to help him.  It was a teacher that told me of my son's issues and at first, I was so upset.  But by accepting it, understanding it and working on it-------  we have helped our boy overcome it.  He's doing great now.  So, I'm a big fan of identifying a problem and getting to work on it.  It stretches our emotions to do so when we are talking about our children-----  but I know you want what is best for your child.  And medication isn't prescribed just because a problem is identified.  Don't be afraid of that.  My son hasn't taken medication at all.  Sometimes it is part of the strategy that helps a child but that is down the road after you figure out exactly what is going on.

good luck
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Avatar_f_tn
Well I had a conference with his teacher. His teacher just kept repeating what a brilliant kid he is, he is well past everyone in reading and above state requirement levels for math, science and social studies. He is going to move him away from 2 kids who have the gift of gab to see if that helps improve his behavior. I am just please he has an extremely involved teacher this year, unlike kindergarten and 1st grade with the same horrid teacher.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Yes, that is great.  A good teacher can make all the difference in the world!  Let us know how it goes.  Good luck
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535822_tn?1389452880
Its good he has a teacher who is seeing the reality this is good news for you good luck
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973741_tn?1342346373
She sounds like she may know something about the cause of his behavior issues that may include above average intelligence along with whatever other concerns you and she have been having.  Try to remain open minded as they attempt to get to the root causes for issues.  Having a teacher you trust and feel cares about your child is so beneficial and I hope all works out for you and your son.  
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1006035_tn?1391310794
It is so nice to hear the good things that our kids do at school, instead of only where they fall short. No one is perfect and most schools don't expect the students to be so. But, they need to address the problems that do arise so that they do not get out of control. While writing the F-word out on paper is not something he should be doing, it's pretty tame in the broad spectrum of things he could have done to misbehave.

My DD has issues relating to her classmates. Every morning before school I ask her to try and participate with the class. And, when she does do a good job with it she gets rewarded at home. Sometimes I bring a little can of Sprite in the car for her or a piece of candy. I also tell her that if someone is annoying her or that she doesn't want to play with them she should remain calm and just walk away. Even though she has a speech delay and doesn't always say much back to me we always talk about her day. I talk to her like I expect her to understand and that I know she is listening. These talks help her so much. I listen to what the teachers say she needs work on and I discuss them with her at her level. Little by little we see improvement and praise even the smallest effort on her part.

Bridging that gap between school and home can be hard. It requires that all the adults remain calm and communicate well. And then it requires that issues are dealt with at home and at school. But, when everyone gets on the same page it can work so well!

Also, if your doctor does push medication you can always find another one. If you accidentally pick a doctor that won't work with you, just fire them and find another one. Sometimes it takes a bit of shopping and experience to find people that can work with you and your child to get everyone where they need to be.
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1890145_tn?1321061652
GLAD 2 READ YOUR REMARKS BECAUSE WHAT U DESCRIBED SOUNDS LIKE MY 6 YEAR OLD GODSON WHOM IS BRIGHT AND VERY MUCH OUT OF CONTROL ONLY @ SCHOOL I WROTE DOWN THE SENSORY INTEGRATION DISORDER & AM  GOING 2 LOOK IN2 THIS WITH HIS MOTHER. HIS MOTHER THOUGHT THAT HE MAY HAVE AD,D BUT I DISAGREE, BECAUSE ITS NOT NORMAL THAT HIS BEHAVIORS IS TERRIBLE ONLY WHEN HE'S IN A SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for all your support! It has really helped and means a ton. Since my last post everything has been well. Small improvements, which I'll gladly take. There have been some tiny issues, but his teacher has set up a system which does help redirect him back into what he should be doing. They had a book fair recently and since he had shown improvement my reward was a few books (this was last week). He picked out 2 and I picked out 2. He has finished the Whimpy Kid Dog Days Book and is in love with a book called The Trouble with Chickens (I recommend it, it is pretty darn funny).
But again, Thank you for all your support, advice and encouragement!!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
OH, and we also spend a Saturday afternoon rearranging his room. =) He was allowed to have say in where he wanted things. He also donated a ton of toys that he has out grown or was no longer interested in. I have to admit, I was a little nervous about it, but it was a great bonding exercise & I let his creativity run with him. "New" room for a fresh start!
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