One aggressive kid in ds's class - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 10-07-2010, 12:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds is 5 going on 6 as is most of his class. There is one boy in his Kindergarten class (of 5 boys/2 girls) that is generally mean and aggressive. I'll call him "Fred." Each day when I pick ds up, his behavior is way more aggressive than his normal behavior.

I try to casually ask him if anyone was mean or pushed/hit him and inevitably he says that Fred did. I ask if he (ds) was mean or pushed/hit anyone, and he says he did after Fred did it to him. I've asked him if he ever is mean or pushes/hits first and he says he has once or twice.

Ds is an only child, has been in preschool for two years and now is in Kindergarten (at a different school with different kids). The past two years this behavior did not occur. The teacher this year seems to have a "wait and see" attitude in regard to this aggressive behavior. She wants them to "figure it out on their own." She reminds them to keep their bodies to themselves/hands to themselves but that's pretty much it.

I don't have a clue why Fred is so aggressive. I know nothing about him or his family. I have once talked with the teacher, and she said what I mentioned above and that all the boys do that.... I plan to talk with the teacher again, along with DH, but what I am trying to work on is how I can teach MY child to not partake of this hurtful behavior.

I have said things like, if someone is being mean to you, you don't have to be mean back, you can just walk away. If someone pushes/hits you, you don't have to do it back, you can walk away - and if they are really bothering you, let the teacher know. While I am honestly glad that he stands up for himself and pushes back, I also recognize that this isn't how I want him to behave, and then I also recognize that he is 5 and doesn't have a whole lotta skills in dealing with this. There are days when ds and Fred seem to have no issues and work together, etc., but there are more days when there are issues. Apparently Fred is mean/pushes other kids as well, so it isn't just my ds.

Since I can't do anything about Fred's behavior (and in truth I get hostile when I see him, wondering what he will do/has done today), I want to be able to guide MY son and help him be non-violent if that is possible.

Oh - there is one day a week that Fred is not in school (don't know why), but that one day is the one day each week when my son is his usual sweet self....

Thoughts?

Mama to DS born 11/21/04
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#2 of 7 Old 10-07-2010, 01:23 AM
 
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Well, I'm not there but my first thought is that you are giving Fred way too much "power".

My DD is a spirited handful, but after 3 years in daycare and preschool I never had problems with her being physical. In the two weeks that she's been in kindy she has hit someone and scratched someone else! Those are totally unacceptable and totally OUT OF THE BLUE behaviors for her. She's intense, but more likely to call someone a stupid poopy than to try to hit or scratch.

I say all this because of this part in your post:

"I have once talked with the teacher, and she said what I mentioned above and that all the boys do that.... "So it sounds like it's just not Fred that's the issue?

In my case, I was really annoyed that the teacher hadn't contacted me immediately. Then she reassured me that all the kids are going through an adjustment period--basically, they are all acting out in different ways. I would rather have known first thing that DD wasn't acclimating as well as I thought. She's happy when she comes home, but it seems like she's inserting herself into others disagreements--both instances were DD sticking up for her "friends" when someone took their place in line or in a seat. We need to work that out. There is apparently a lot of injustice in the kindy classroom that my DD feels she should correct.

Maybe Fred is a meanie. Maybe he misses his mom. Maybe he just needs a few more months to mature. Maybe being scheduled is hard for him and he loses his temper easily. Maybe hes's a stinker and he'll only get worse. But I'm not sure that any of what your son has described makes him a bully.

Also, in reading your post, it seems you need to draw the details out from your son--he doesn't seem traumatized by Fred's behavior? Or is he, and I am not getting it from your post?

I just think there is a lot of different behavior issues going on in the first weeks of school. My DD has her issues, and then she tells me about "Jonny" who apparently has screaming fits that he "Doesn't want any friends!!!!!!!!!" she says he basically melts down that he doesn't want to make friends and has to leave the class once a day and go to the office to calm down. I look forward to finding out what is actually happening with that at parent-teacher conf in November. But when she tells me about it at dinner, similar to you, it gives me pause and I am now looking at little Jonny like he needs some counseling. And I'm sure he's a lovely little boy, but...I'm not there to make my own opinion!

For my DD, I have told her that if there is a problem she needs to get the teacher and not try to handle it herself with hitting or scratching.

Also, I'm volunteering during the kindy library time once a week--and that's been a good way to get a birds eye view of DD, Kindy, and the other kids, and her teacher!
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#3 of 7 Old 10-07-2010, 02:00 AM
 
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My 7 year old son (grade 2) has experienced similar issues since entering school at age 4. My thoughts are continue working with your DS discussing non-violent conflict resolution (obviously in an age appropriate fashion LOL). I am assuming that your school has as a zero tolerance non-bullying policy in place? If the behaviour becomes an issue, make sure the policy is enforced and behaviour is not tolerated.

That said, pushing and aggressiveness occurs on the playground. I've watched carefully every day for the last few years and seen many many children of both genders push, argue, fight, punch, hurl mean words etc. Just when I think it's only "my son" or another specific child, I see other children exhibit similar behaviours. Not all children do this sort of thing of course and not all children are targeted by other children. But, of course, we adults need to teach the proper behavior which is what you are doing.

I've seen aggressive children act out against my son when he is 5. And he had aggressive behaviour in response. Then the next year - things change and improve. But now another issue surfaces and its a different child or children. It's all a work in progress. The Fred that is bothering your child (and you) this term may be your son's best friend next year or the following year and your son may have other people that trigger these responses in him.

So perhaps don't focus on this particular child (Fred) ; instead, see this issue as part of the politics of growing up. I'd definitely keep an eye on the behaviour though and ensure the school doesn't tolerate aggressive bullying.
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#4 of 7 Old 10-07-2010, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Madskye and Tuesday for reading my post and taking the time to reply. I appreciate your objective perspectives.

It is hard, as the mama, to watch my ds be pushed, whispered about, called something mean, etc. The Mama Bear in me comes out and it is really hard to be calm and rational. It seems that just about every day at drop-off/ pick up I witness with my own eyes the boys in his group (not just "Fred") being genuinely mean to each other.

Ds happens to have some social issues so there are times when he is literally oblivious to the mean-ness and I am grateful for that. I, however, am not.

Perhaps what I need to figure out first and foremost is how I can better deal with this. It makes me very hot, very quickly, and I have zero tolerance for this behavior.

What concerns me is that, aside from having the boys "use their words" to tell each other what they didn't like, etc., there doesn't seem to be any emphasis on respect for each other, and, as far as I can see, there don't appear to be any consequenses (natural or other) for their actions. My ds is not an innocent victim in this, but it genuinely is not his nature to do something mean with the intention of hurting someone else. The whispering and smirking and lying (Fred pushed ds - I saw this from a distance - and then tells the teacher that ds pushed him.) Grrrr...

Any thoughts on what I can do to help myself, and to help ds?

Thank you!

Mama to DS born 11/21/04
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#5 of 7 Old 10-07-2010, 02:19 PM
 
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If you are available I would see if you can volunteer in the classroom. That way you can see whether the behavior is just playing type aggression or actual just out of the blue stuff. What would you want to see as consequences for this type of behavior and would you want your son to receive them too? I think kids for the most part do not mean to hurt someone when they're pushing/having hands on each other etc, I think they just get caught up in the moment and I generally see boys do it more often than girls. Sometimes it really does just take time for kids to get used to each other in the beginning of the year.

Cathy mom to 13 y/o DD, 10 y/o DD, 7 y/o DS

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#6 of 7 Old 10-08-2010, 08:29 AM
 
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I have the Mama Bear feelings too. What helps me is realizing that today my son is on the receiving end of these behaviours but perhaps next time - it will be my child causing the issue, acting out aggressively, etc. I'm not saying your child will ever be aggressive but it's quite likely one time or another your son will do something that will raise another mom's ire. So, I try to keep this thought in back of my head.
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#7 of 7 Old 10-08-2010, 03:09 PM
 
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I would focus your discussion with the teacher on the observable changes in behavior that you've seen in your son, and the patterns that you're seeing (when 'Fred' isn't there, your son seems happier; that your son seems to be having trouble knowing how to react to 'Fred'; that your son is reporting being pushed and hit by Fred).

The teacher must focus on your issues with your child. Due to privacy laws, she can't tell you what they're doing with/for the other child.

Remember too that 5 year olds aren't the greatest reporters and so you're only getting one 5 year old's side of the story.

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