Hello. I am a newlywed and a new stepmom of an 8 year old boy. His parents have been divorced for about 6 1/2 years and his mom has legal custody of him but decided about 1 1/2 years ago that she wanted to let my husband try to raise him. There are better schools where we live and a much nicer community to raise children in. He is only in 2nd grade this year because his mother unsuccesfully home schooled him for first grade and he was unable to pass the testing so he had to take first grade over when he came to live with his dad.He was 50+ lbs overweight when he came here. He did well in school throughout first grade and had very few discipline problems.Since he began second grade he regularly gets in trouble, usually 3 or 4 days out of the week. He has even received corporal punishment already this year. He gets in trouble routinely for being mean to other kids, not doing his work, lying to us and the teacher, and disruptive behavior. We have tried everything and been consistent with taking his television and games away for periods of time. None of these have been successful. His mother has free visitation rights and is able to see him whenever she wants. She is now married to her third husband, cannot hold down a job, and doesn't have a car so she only gets to see him about once a month for two days due to the 6 hr distance between us. We offer to bring him down more often but she always declines or sets up a time and cancels at the last minute for one reason or another. I am desperate to make this child be a pleasant and well mannered child. Any suggestions?
If you read this Forum on any regular basis, you will likely predict what I am going to say. When a child has been behaving well, then rather suddenly takes a protracted downturn, usually some changes in the environment are instrumental. So take a look at what changed between first and second grade, and this might help to locate the source of the stress. Now, regardless of external stressors, you've got to respond to the behavior. I'd guide you away from corporal punishment, simply because it has limited value. Instead, use a sytematic reward/punishment system that is organized in 24-hour blocks. Each day should start anew. If you haven't already done so, establish a daily reporting system (it needn't involve detailed information) from the school, so you always know how things have gone. Make privileges such as outdoor play, TV, video games, etc. contingent on following the rules - i.e., he 'earns' these privileges each day, depending on his performance. You might take a look at Lynn Clar's SOS: Help for Parents - it is a practical guide for the sort of behavior management I'm advocating.
Yes, it sounds like your step-son and my grandson have the same problem. My daughter has put him in ti-kwan-do and hopefully this will help. I have found out that he does not like his reading teacher, but likes his home room teacher. All the problems has happend in his reading class. He is a very good reader. I do know that the teacher put him in the back row so he does not disrupt the other students, he is not the only one back there, there are 2 other kids and 1 outside the class room. The teacher told my daughter that she puts the kids that are disruptive in the back and outside, for sitting in the front of the class was a privledge. When I was in school, sitting in the front was not a privledge, it was so the teacher could keep and eye on you. I feel the teacher has no control of her class. He does pretty good at home. He has come up with forgetting a lot. If he doesn't want to tell you something or bring his homework home etc. he says "I forgot".
Hoepfully we all can come up with what is bothering the boys', I don't know about your step son but this is just not like my grandson to be doing this, he has always been a pleaser and very loving.
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