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15876915 tn?1443650213

Behavioral issues and lack of respect for authority

Hi everyone, I know it's only the first month of school, but my son is already exhibiting alarming behavioral issues in his classroom that he doesn't have at home. There's alot to explain, so this may be the easiest way to do it...Here is the last correspondence that I had with his teacher:

From teacher:
"I am writing to you in regards to Landon’s behavior. We have been having an immense amount of behavior problems within the classroom. Landon refuses to do work and is extremely defiant to myself and my assistant. When spoken to many times, Landon still does not make good choices, therefore, we ask his name to be moved down on our behavior chart. Immediately after, he will yell and scream at us. He usually says “We are meanies”, “He hates this school” and he is never coming back.

The last week or so, we have been using my neighbor classroom as a “calm break”. This is where Landon takes time to cool down and get back on track.

Today, Landon refused to do his handwriting work and was being silly. When asked why, he said he wanted to go to his buddy room and he was intentionally acting silly to go there. He was asked to move his name down and he started to yell. I told him to come with me and we started walking towards the office. Within 10 seconds, Landon started screaming in the hallway and running away from me. Another teacher had to stop him while I grabbed the principal. Mr. ******* had to come into the hallway and take Landon to the behavior room. Landon was written up as a major behavior.

As said in other e-mails, there are things you can do at home; discussing good choices and poor choices, having his behavior from school carry over into home time and having family discussions. From Landon, it sounds like there are many of these strategies happening on home. He often yells “Nana is going to be mad at me”."

From me:
"I am extremely disappointed to hear all of this about Landon's behavior in school. I knew he was being defiant, but it sounds like it's less of a problem with getting used to the way school works and more of an issue with following rules and classroom etiquette in general. I'm a little at a loss of what steps to take now, because we've been having consequences at home for bad behavior at school and discussions every day on what appropriate behavior is and being respectful in school. For example, on the nice days, if he comes home with a bad color, he doesn't get to go outside with his friends and brother. Tonight when he got home, I made him practice his handwriting and do extra "homework". His father and I have had lengthy conversations with him about his behavior, and his Nana, of whom he is closest to, has done the same (which probably explains the "My nana will be mad at me" outbursts).
I have no idea where this complete lack of respect for authority came from, because at home he always has consequences for the types of behavior he is demonstrating at school and over the past year before he started school, his outbursts and issues (most stemming from his toddler years) have drastically diminished at home. It is incredibly disheartening to me that he was being bad today specifically to go into the other classroom instead of yours. I know it isn't because he doesn't like being in your class, or you as his teacher, because he tells me all the time how much he likes you. Also, today I specifically asked him if that was the reason and he denied it. The only thing I can possibly think of is that he went from spending all day, every day at home with me and is now lashing out because he is no longer the center of attention. Its not an excuse for his behavior, but I'm trying to understand where this is all coming from. If I can find the problem, I'm hoping I can nip it before it gets any worse. The last thing I want is for him to be the child causing problems in his classroom. Any suggestions or ideas on how to tackle this would be extremely helpful. I want to work with you in this matter and get it solved as quickly as possible because I know how good he can be and what his potential is. I also know that every outburst he has takes away from the other children learning, and that is completely unacceptable."

Last one from his teacher:
"Thank you so much for your e-mail back. Landon had to be removed by the principal a second time today. He was not doing his math homework and scribbled all over the page. We redirected him many times and he refused to work. Then, when asked to come with me, he refused and that is why Mr. ******* had to come down.

At the end of the day, he yelled at me a few times. He often says how much he hates it here and will not come back.

I am happy to hear that you all are supporting us at school.  I want Landon to be successful and enjoy school. Before he left on the bus, we talked about when at school, if we make good choices, school can be really fun. If we make bad choices, school is going to be hard. Then, he told me ways he can make good choices (doing work, walking in hall, etc). We pinky promised that tomorrow will be better and hugged.

I would like set up a meeting with you, his father, myself and the principal after school. This will be a good time to further discuss the behavior and put a plan into action so Landon can be successful in Kindergarten.

Please let me know what days work for you and times."

Like I stated in the emails, he shows none of this defiance at home and I have taken every step that I know of to work with the teacher and to let him know that this behavior is unacceptable. We set up a meeting next week to work on it some more, but I was hoping for some advice from parents that may have been in a situation like this. What steps can I take at home to help solve the behavior problems at school???

My son is incredibly smart for his age, and I don't want to see him get left behind or labelled as a bad child because of this. He's never been diagnosed for anything, let alone tested for anything, nor has there ever been a need to do so. I'm confused and at a loss...all I want is for my son to excel and it breaks my heart that he's having behavioral issues that he's never had before.I just want to find the root of the problem and solve it so kindergarten can be as fun as it should be for him. Please, any help would be greatly appreciated!
12 Responses
15439126 tn?1444446763
You mention kindergarten so I've a sense he's a 5 or 6 year old.  Perhaps this is his first institutional (away from home and amongst many strangers) experience (a really big thing socially for him).

At home he needs to be held accountable and his parents need to behave consistently.  From what you say that seems to be happening, else inconsistent handling would contribute to the teachers' burden of unlearning his having adapted to that.

He's in a new setting, he may like many incredibly smart children either be so confident or so unsettled that he feels a desire to prove himself through acting out and being uncooperative.  After all, it's such a contrast -- until he arrived there, the world revolved around him (or at least that may have been pretty much his impression).

I think the teachers are expecting a bit much by reasoning with him in any detail beyond plainly remarking, either:  do it (as the rest of the children are expected to do), or there'll be this or that consequence (then, consistently follow through, without apology or displaying distress).

(not a parent, but my suggestion is:  that Landon attend your and your husband's meeting or at least part of the meeting, with the teacher)
13167 tn?1327197724
I'm a little bit at a loss.  You certainly sound reasonable,  and cooperative,  and socially graceful.  I can only imagine your husband is also,  and "Nana" is also cooperative.

So it's not a situation like kids who are raised who have no idea how to behave civilly.  He's certainly seen civility in your home.

You do have a statement that caught my eye.  "I have no idea where this complete lack of respect for authority came from, because at home he always has consequences for the types of behavior he is demonstrating at school and over the past year before he started school, his outbursts and issues (most stemming from his toddler years) have drastically diminished at home".  To me,  when I read that with an open mind,  you are saying "he was like this before but recently he got a lot better and now he's back to his prior behavior".  So this behavior of defiance and back-chat to authority were behaviors of his,  but in the last year he exhibited less of it,  likely due to consequences?  

So.  I think he may be having a hard time getting VERY CLEAR feedback to stop it,  because all his instruction is couched in "making poor choices",  "moving his name", "calm room".  He's simply not getting at the core issue,  which is "shut your mouth right now.  Shut it.  Not one more word".

And that's a skill he needs to learn.  You see adults who end up in terrible situations because they have no ability to just shut up when backtalking authority.  They end up jailed,  fired,  detained in airports,  etc.,  because they don't have the skill to close their mouth.

I don't like the idea of him bringing home a bad report,  and then having to do extra academics as punishment.   I think the teacher should maybe just email you,  at the end of the day,  a quick "color" email "he did green",  "he's in yellow",  just so you know,  and that should be that without extended consequences.

I suspect he will end up diagnosed with some kind of attention deficit.  He's sitting there,  not doing his math and doodling.  He may be absolutely bored to distraction,  he can't stand sitting there any longer,  and the teacher comes and escalates the situation.  It was she who escalated it,  and backed him into a corner.  If instead,  he had been allowed to scribble and the paper was sent home with a "this is what he did in math.  Please have him do half the page at home".  

One of the best first grade teachers I've ever seen had a little exercise trampoline in a corner of her classroom.  Kids who were distracted were able to "jump out their sillies" on the trampoline when sent there.  She's just say,  "Jason,  30 jumps on the trampoline and then come back and try again".  

Best wishes.  I think he may need a different teacher,  who has more tools in her kit than just escalating with him until he's screaming.  And he does need to stop the screaming.  
15439126 tn?1444446763
If he's 9 years old (is he?  I see you've another topic posted), then there seems likely a diagnosed condition he's contending with (to be in kindergarten at that age).  

Is there a diagnosed condition for your son?
13167 tn?1327197724
ScalpMassager,  I think you might be confusing this poster with another.  
15439126 tn?1444446763
Yes, you're correct.  Sorry about that.
13167 tn?1327197724
;D  I've done that.  
15876915 tn?1443650213
Thank you all for the responses.
In our home we've found reasoning with him in any sense just was not working. I'm of the mindset that reasoning with a 5 year old is like reasoning with a wall haha. I plan on bringing that point up to the teacher when we meet. I wish they could "put the fear" into him, like when I was a kid, but sadly, teachers don't have that freedom anymore. We are a family that firmly believes in accountability though, in ourselves as parents and in our boys. I do believe a major part of his misbehaving is attributed to the world not revolving around him anymore since this is his first experience in a school setting. He's always been good with kids his age, I don't think the other children are a distraction or anything, but I think he may have a problem with showing the teacher the respect she deserves. I thought I had taught him to respect all adults, whether you're happy with what they say or do, or not, but somewhere along the line he seems to have forgotten that.
To address the question about his previous behavior, it was similar, but not this extreme. And I also chalked it up to him being a toddler (he was 3 at the time and he's 5 now). It was handled then, but it's easier to fix in a younger child in my experience. He's always been kind of a loud little boy, but only when excited and never screaming at people when he's unhappy.
I am completely against him being medicated just for the sake of being medicated. I have an older stepson in the house with ADHD that went through that at his age because his mother pushed for it, and the results are terrifying. If he were to get diagnosed, there are more than enough natural remedies to help relieve the symptoms. Getting the school to implement these procedures would be an uphill battle though. But honestly, he shows none of the signs. And his pediatrician has been monitoring it (I voiced concerns when pregnant because of his older brother's issues) and has also not seen any of the warning signs.
15876915 tn?1443650213
I just want to be able to successfully work with the school to fix these problems, while keeping the accountability on my son where it belongs. I don't want him to grow up as one of those people who doesn't believe consequences effect them because mom and dad were always there to save them. I'm always supportive of my boys, but if they mess up, they know it's on them.
134578 tn?1546634665
Get his eyes checked, not for the ability to see per se, but for convergence issues (a diagnostic optician or other person specializing in this can see if he has this problem).  It sounds like he is breaking it up when he has to do written work.  If a kid sees everyone around him doing something easily that he cannot do at all, he will scribble, or daydream, or act out.
134578 tn?1546634665
In short, you are interpreting this as a lack of respect for authority, but there might be a physical issue going on.
189897 tn?1441130118
   Hi,  sorry I came on to this post so late, but we are on vacation and internet is not always available.
   My first thought is that perhaps some of the things you do at home are back firing on you.  I always reminded my K teachers that at this age to discipline a child effectively - it has to be immediate.  To ask parents to give consequences hours after something has been done - just will not work.  All the child remembers is that home will not be nice because of whatever he did at school- and he reacts to that.   Has his behavior gotten worse at school since you started punishing him at home?
   If you want to help him at home, you need to know exactly what he is doing wrong at school and then work on changing those behaviors through practice at home.  For instance, there is a great set of books called the "best behavior series" that are aimed at 4 to 7 year olds.  They are to be read to the child at night (many times) and then practiced.  Due to the colorful illustrations and examples they are a great starting point for learning new, better behaviors.  "Voices are not for yelling" might be a good starting point.  You can find it here along with other books in the same series like "Know and follow rules", or "hands are not for hitting", etc.  The link (with reviews of the books) is http://www.amazon.com/Voices-Are-Yelling-Best-Behavior/dp/1575425017/ref=pd_sim_14_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1BQ13P4VXBH1WNDKX746&dpID=61wlkMw50PL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_
     But, to pick the best books you need to know what is going on - pick one behavior and work on that.  Actually "cool down and work through anger"  http://www.amazon.com/Cool-Through-Anger-Learning-Along%C2%AE/dp/1575423464/ref=pd_sim_14_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=1X3Q6DF8MTNWPZ2B933N&dpID=61THXST3JGL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_
     Might be another good choice.  
    Something is going on that is more then just him wanting to be the center of attention.   His behavior is getting worse, when it should be getting better.  And from what you have posted - it seems like his teacher is doing a pretty good job.   So I really think that it is important to listen to her and find out what is really going on.  You might even want to visit the school and watch him.
   Finally, I am also the CL here - http://www.medhelp.org/forums/ADD---ADHD/show/175.  ; And I can say that there is a right way and a wrong way to deal with ADHD.  I have answered so many posts that I know many doctors, teachers and parents have no clue on how to help a child with ADHD.   One thing that will help is to take a look at this link on how teachers can work with a child with ADHD.  These are very good practical suggestions that will help whether your son has ADHD or not.   http://www.medhelp.org/forums/ADD---ADHD/show/175.  ; If you have any questions about any of these feel free to repost here or if on the ADHD site.
    So to sum up.  check out the books I mentioned.  Stop punishing him at home for what he does in school.  Practice instead ways to avoid getting into trouble.  Make home a happy place and it will carry over.  Best wishes.
Avatar universal
This may not help the "problem" because I strongly suspect the issue is not with your son, but is instead with a school that is not developmentally appropriate. 5 year old children learn through play, not by doing worksheets. They learn by investigating the world around them, becoming curious in it, and wanting to learn more. We as a society have decided to ignore the millions of pounds of research that prove this and insist on treating 5 year olds as if they learn like adults. Children learn to read by being read to, not by filling in worksheets. They learn to add by playing with toys with a teacher who points out quantity and asks them questions, not through flash cards. Sadly, this is not a problem only at your son's school.  It is a societal crisis.  We continue to insist on treating children like computers or calculators  spewing out facts  and sitting quietly, waiting patiently for the next querry. It sounds like your son is not disrespectful, just frustrated and is begging to be treated like who he is, a five-year-old child. Unfortunately you probably cannot convince the school to act in a developmentally appropriate manner. What you can do is give your son every opportunity to play at home. He'll learn more and be better for it.
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189897 tn?1441130118
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