Avatar universal

Kindergartner's behavior at school is horrible

Our 5.5 year old son started kindergarten just under a month ago.  Prior to that he was in a daycare full time that was set up like a school (pre-school once you hit 3).  He's very smart, probably too smart for his own good I'm beginning to wonder.  He is our oldest, we have a younger son, who is 4, and at the same daycare our older one just graduated from.  

Our 5.5 YO had issues from the first day in K.  His teacher called me to ask what I did to correct him when he was home.  He refused to use the restroom when she was making the class take a restroom break.  It has escalated since then.  He has a "helper teacher" that stays with him all day now, redirecting him to stay on task.  He hasn't sat through the entire day once, in his classroom.  He is being removed by his helper teacher, or the principal daily.  

They started a plan, with our blessing, to reinforce positive behavior by giving him a smiley face everytime they saw him doing something good.  Once he reached 10 smilies - he was given a 'reward break'.  That worked for about a week.  They gave him a time out card that he was allowed to use when he felt himself getting upset - so that he could leave the room before he exploded.  It no longer works.  This week has been the worst.  He has been sent home early every single day because the school feared he was a danger to himself.  He would hit his head on the filing cabinets in the social workers room.  One day it took 3 adults to restrain him because he was so worked up.  

We had our first visit with the child psychiatrist last night and I felt relief after speaking to her with him and my husband.  She obviously couldn't give us a diagnosis in 45 minutes but felt that she did think he could be helped.  She has asked us to work on helping him understand other emotions - he uses 'frustrated' and 'angry' when he's exploding, but that's about it.  

He blames everyone for things that happen to him, he doesn't seem to understand/accept that accidents happen.  He will say everyone hates him, they're mean to him, they're picking on him.  He will take on the parent roll when he feels he's been slighted and demand and 'sincere' apology from us (myself and husband) and refuses to do anything we ask of him until we apologize.  Which we don't if we've done nothing wrong.  

We have taken away all of his privileges, his toys.  This week we grounded him to his room and have removed everything from it besides his books.  Today we received a call AGAIN that we had to pick him up because of his behavior.  The school has just finished up an evaluation of him to get an IEP for him - which I think may be his only saving grace from being expelled at this point.  We're meeting on Monday to go over it.  

My husband actually went to school with him on Wednesday and that was the first time he managed to make it through the entire day without a time out - by choice or by teacher request.  Then the next day it was back to 'business as usual' with the defiant attitude and refusal to do any work or do anything requested of him at all.  

Once someone shows up to pick him up from school - he does a 180 and is happy again.  He doesn't seem to care that he's in his room with nothing to do.  He will be quiet and do his time.  We've talked and talked and talked to him.  He promises to do better, he says he's sorry, he writes apology letters.  

It's like school is his trigger - he's more or less - a very happy, sweet, kind, funny, smart kid otherwise.  I believe he has a hard time with transitions and that is something that sets him off as well.  

I'm just at the end of my rope here - I feel like the past month has been out of a nightmare, I'm so stressed out and losing my mind.  I'm angry and frustrated with him, but trying to be understanding and loving.  I don't know what I should be doing or acting with him.  Am I being too hard on him?  Too easy on him?  I'm throwing my hands up every day and crying all the time.  
4 Responses
134578 tn?1614729226
What do the people at his old preschool say?

My cousin's child is like this, he has been in others' care 8 hours a day since he was 2, since she is a single mother with a demanding job.  I once asked her if he got enough time with her (because he was very frustrated) and she said, "We have good time when we are together."  I think her son will always be frustrated because he was sent away from her for so long per day, so early in his life.  

I am not saying this is what is bothering your son, he sounds like he does need a professional's diagnosis. But it occured to me when I read what you write that this is a kid who has just realized that when daycare ended he didn't get to come home and be with you, he is now facing many more years of being somewhere else, where he has to do what someone else tells him to do all the time.  It is possible he was not expecting this.
189897 tn?1441126518
    Yes, something is definitely going on.  It might be ADHD or maybe sensory processing disorder, or something on the autism spectrum.   What I can definitely tell you is that to punish him for what he is doing at school (hours after he has done something) will not work and in fact will make things worse.  Kids at this age cannot draw the link between punishment and something they did hours earlier.  Your psyc will back this up.  So stop it.
    See if you can find out from the school what his "triggers" are.  Or, go and observe so you can see.
   Here are some of the better links I have on these three problems:
    autism - http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/10236.html
    Sensory - http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/793.html
     ADHD - http://www.helpguide.org/articles/add-adhd/attention-deficit-disorder-adhd-in-children.htm

   I think your psyc is on the right track.   This link I think would reinforce that - http://www.additudemag.com/slideshow/42/slide-1.html?utm_source=eletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=December
   And to answer your final question (without knowing a lot more)  What you want to do is, "to be understanding and loving."

  Oh, and Annie has a very good question about his old preschool.  
Avatar universal
His K teachers spoke to his PS teachers yesterday.  They said that he had issues paying attention, staying on track, being disruptive, sitting still.  But that he did not have the physical and verbal outbursts that he's now having since starting K.  So he's escalating.  

I have been reading everything I can get my hands on and I feel like he could possibly fall into a few different areas, but so many symptoms mirror each other.  I feel like ADHD, ODD are two likely diagnosis, but wonder if a thyroid issue isn't out of the question either.  

I'd love a crystal ball right about now!  Anyone have one of those?  
No crystal ball, but I am also the CL on the ADHD forum - http://www.medhelp.org/forums/ADD---ADHD/show/175 - and a consistent theme I have noticed over the years is that kids try to please (even when they can't) and sooner or later they just tend to give up.   That giving up can express itself in defiance, anxiety, depression, etc.   The sooner the problem can be identified, the sooner it can be fixed.
   This post just came out and until you can get a more specific cause of his problems.   These steps are worth following.
13167 tn?1327194124
I agree with the others,  and have a few other thoughts to add.  His first "issue" in Kinder seems very odd to me - I've never heard of a teacher forcing a child to use the restroom and then punishing them if they don't.  Especially on the first day of school - it isn't as if he's had a long history of wetting himself in school.  Teachers usually tell children "anyone who needs to use the restroom it's time now before lunch",  etc.  Secondly,  he probably does feel like everyone is mean to him - he has no more toys, and he's forced to spend afternoons in his room with nothing at all to do and it's likely his teacher doesn't treat him with a lot of affection.  It's the school's job to educate your child,  and not call you when they're tired of putting up with him.  He's missing out on a lot of instruction and socialization by being picked up in the afternoons after he's reached a certain level of misbehavior.  Do you have a parent advocate at your school - or in your district?  Honestly,  they don't seem to have the tools necessary - or the desire - to help him succeed in school.  Honestly,  it took 3 adults to restrain a 5 year old?   I have sat in on  504s for children in foster care,  and you can tell when the school is just checking off the things they need to do before they are able to expel a child, and when they are dedicated to helping the child succeed.  And it sounds like this school is just checking off the requirements.  It's only October of his kindergarten year.  You haven't mentioned anything about harming other children,  attacking a teacher,  etc., which would be areas for real concern.  I think you need more help in knowing what your options and rights are under law with this public school.  Oh wait - it s a public school, and not a private one?
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189897 tn?1441126518
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