PK3 & Friends with questionable topics of conversation - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-02-2010, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am at a complete loss as to how to handle a situation in my son's classroom.

Our home is free of profanity, vulgarity, violence and other situations that are not conducive to raising a young child. We have made a point to avoid people and situations that would introduce our son to negative influences.

Our son is 4 an attends an international school. He has many friends in the classroom, but his "best friend" uses language that I consider unacceptable for use by anyone. He often speaks of cutting or stabbing people or himself and his conversations are quite aggressive.

Everyday my son come home telling me of things that his friend tells the class. My son shares the conversations of all of his classmates, and nothing else is as shocking as the phrases that come from his best friend.

I don't know how to handle this situation, so if anyone has any advice, please share.

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Old 05-02-2010, 04:37 PM
 
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I'd start by having a meeting with his teachers. Keep in mind that 3 yo are often somewhat inaccurate about what they report.

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Old 05-02-2010, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is able to repeat a scenario with accuracy. He begins phrases with "____ said this" and "_____said that". At one time I did not lend much credibility to his daily reports, but I have learned from experience that DS is able to recreate his day in step by step detail.

At one time I wanted to dismiss his reports because children of this age often create wild storied, but I have learned when not to.

My husband is going to speak with the teachers, and I will send a note in his cahier, but I don't want to place blame on this one child.

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Old 05-02-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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Personally, I would take the other approach.

You can't control what other people do, only what you (and your son) do. So I would teach your son that those things aren't appropriate to say.

It only matters what you think is "appropriate" for your own family. I don't think you'll get very far trying to cast judgment on what other people do and let their kids say and do.
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Old 05-02-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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Most of my dd's friends had seen Spiderman, Star Wars, and many other action movies before they left preschool so she heard a lot of this kind of talk. I taught her that violence is wrong and what to do if her friend was scaring her with talk of violence. I realize it comes as a shock when kids start this at such a young age, but the only really effective thing you can do is counteract it in your home by talking about what is appropriate for your home and the reasons behind those rules.
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Old 05-02-2010, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Personally, I would take the other approach.

You can't control what other people do, only what you (and your son) do. So I would teach your son that those things aren't appropriate to say.

It only matters what you think is "appropriate" for your own family. I don't think you'll get very far trying to cast judgment on what other people do and let their kids say and do.
This is how I feel.

I like the boy and his mom, and I don't want to question or attack how they choose to parent their children. He is a lovely boy and a great friend to my son, but I just don't approve of everything that comes out of his mouth.

DH and I constantly remind DS that our family does not use those words, talk like that, etc, etc, but some days I feel like a broken record.

Is this type of behavior normal in three/four year old children or am I overreacting?

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Old 05-02-2010, 09:56 PM
 
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He often speaks of cutting or stabbing people or himself and his conversations are quite aggressive.
I don't think this sounds like the normal potty humor that so many small children engage in or even playing at shooting each other. The other child sounds like he may have a mental health problem.

I would go to the teacher, but not in a "keep Johny from saying violent things around my baby" way but rather "I'm concerned about Johny because he has talked about cutting himeself or others. I think someone needs to look into it."

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 05-02-2010, 09:59 PM
 
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I don't think this sounds like the normal potty humor that so many small children engage in or even playing at shooting each other. The other child sounds like he may have a mental health problem.

I would go to the teacher, but not in a "keeping Johny from saying violent things around my baby" way but rather "I'm concerned about Johny because he has talked about cutting himeself or others. I think someone needs to look into it."
I don't know about a mental health problem, but this is definitely the approach I'd use.
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:21 PM
 
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Our son is 4 an attends an international school. He has many friends in the classroom, but his "best friend" uses language that I consider unacceptable for use by anyone. He often speaks of cutting or stabbing people or himself and his conversations are quite aggressive.
I would also approach the teacher with this as disturbing topics especially given the age. Self-harming concepts are fairly rare in this age and I would be concerned as a parent if a child was repetedly showing an inclination towards self (or other) harm.

 

 

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Old 05-03-2010, 02:40 AM
 
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As a parent who also has experience in preschool-age classrooms (pre-kids) I would totally go to the teacher with this out of concern for the child.
I have heard kids play "hurt the bad guys" kind of games. They can get pretty detailed.

I have not, in *years* and a few classrooms, heard a child talk about cutting/hurting *themselves.* This isn't typical.

Again, I wouldn't approach it out of "I don't want my kid hearing this, it has to stop", I would approach it out of concern for this other kid.

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Old 05-03-2010, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the advice! I sent the email below to the mom, and I will send a similar not to the school today and speak with his teachers tomorrow morning.

Quote:
XXXX,
Have you noticed "your son" using violent language at home? "My son" has begun to say things that are not in line with our family values. I am concerned and wanted to know if "Your son" is exhibiting similar behavior since the boys play together at school.

Me

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Old 05-03-2010, 07:31 PM
 
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Thank you for the advice! I sent the email below to the mom, and I will send a similar not to the school today and speak with his teachers tomorrow morning.
Huh. I'll be interested to hear how she responds. To be honest, if I were that mother, I would translate that email as "your kid is teaching my kid bad words."

I still think the best suggestion is to go to the teacher out of concern for what this boy is talking about doing to himself.
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:44 AM
 
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So, what happened when you talked to the teacher?

Why is your son so drawn to that energy that they are best friends when he has other kids to play with? I had a consult about "undesirable behavior" and "energy" and that is what they asked me about. How do we acknowledge the need or desire for that type of energy in a healthy way?

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Old 05-06-2010, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So, what happened when you talked to the teacher?
The Teachers have not heard the language in the classroom, but believe that the conversations occur on the playground and during the after school hours.

The lead teacher changed the format of recess to include more structured playground activities, and the after school staff was alerted to the behaviors.

The mother of the child in question was not offended in any way and glad that I contacted her. She believes that parents want what is best for their children, and as parents we must have open lines of communication with the parents of our children's friends. I agree! She has not noticed the behavior at home, but planned to speak with her son about his school conversations.

As for my son, I decided to get tough with him. One afternoon as we drove home from having appetizers at a Mexican Restaurant he said something of which I did not approve. I told him (for the millionth time) that we do not use those words in our family. I then told DS that he was going to his room to bed as soon as we arrived home to think about his choices of conversation. No bath, no dinner with mom (dad was working), no stories, no songs. Just bed. I made a almond butter butter and jelly sandwich and poured him a cup of water and sent him to the room (ALONE) for the night. This was Sunday, and as of today we have had only one slip up. I reminded DS of Sunday and he quickly changed the conversation.

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Why is your son so drawn to that energy that they are best friends when he has other kids to play with? I had a consult about "undesirable behavior" and "energy" and that is what they asked me about. How do we acknowledge the need or desire for that type of energy in a healthy way?
My son is the child that everyone wants to befriend. I had no idea of this until the other mothers informed me that their children wanted to on to his inner circle. DS is friendly with everyone, and the child, according to his teachers, who will respond to a classmate in distress.

The three children with whom he plays the most share similar characteristics and are the "leaders" of the class.

My son is empathetic and altruistic, but also loves to engage in rough play. I don't understand it. My gentle loving boy who will wipe someones tears away and kiss their cheek loves to sword fight and pretend to shoot people, and prefers to play with similar people. DS thinks that the children who cry and whine, or cling to the teachers are babies.

I do know that he is apt to engage in this type of play when he is bored or engaged in unstructured activities. The playground and portions of the after school program allow time for free play.

So to answer one of your questions, and the answer did not come to me until I typed the bold sentence above, DS requires a level of structure to prevent boredom behaviors.

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Old 05-07-2010, 10:45 AM
 
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maybe keep in mind that he may be repeating these conversations and words with you in order to process them? Punishing him means he won't discuss it with you, but he may still be thinking it and be worried about it. Just a thought.
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:07 AM
 
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That is a very severe punishment for *words.* I would expect that kind of punishment for a much older child for actually DOING something violent. Please reconsider, your actions speak louder than words. It means nothing to say "we don't use violent language" if it's coupled with an extreme show of force. If anything this will teach him how powerful these words are to piss people off and he will use them when you're not around.

In your shoes (and I teach K so I am very used to dealing with this type of behavior) being a broken record of "Those words are not kind words and we only use kind words here." or "We can't talk right now if you are going to use words that are not kind. Please come back to me when you are ready." Coupled perhaps with taking a calm down "break" to remove everyone from the situation if my words don't stop it immediately. But a break is a few minutes, and it involves doing sensory activities so we can talk easier (I find with 4-5 year olds they can have better conversations if their hands are occupied). An hours long time-out is entirely developmentally innappropriate, while experimenting with words and their power IS entirely appropriate for your son.
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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maybe keep in mind that he may be repeating these conversations and words with you in order to process them? Punishing him means he won't discuss it with you, but he may still be thinking it and be worried about it. Just a thought.
I thought about this after I sent him to bed early and I made it clear to DS the next morning that he is not allowed to engage in violent play/conversations at home or school. He is welcome to talk to me about what is on his mind, and to share the conversations that he has with his friends, but not to use the words in an aggressive manner. He understands the difference.

I guess that my meaning was not clear.

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Old 05-07-2010, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That is a very severe punishment for *words.* I would expect that kind of punishment for a much older child for actually DOING something violent. Please reconsider, your actions speak louder than words. It means nothing to say "we don't use violent language" if it's coupled with an extreme show of force. If anything this will teach him how powerful these words are to piss people off and he will use them when you're not around.

In your shoes (and I teach K so I am very used to dealing with this type of behavior) being a broken record of "Those words are not kind words and we only use kind words here." or "We can't talk right now if you are going to use words that are not kind. Please come back to me when you are ready." Coupled perhaps with taking a calm down "break" to remove everyone from the situation if my words don't stop it immediately. But a break is a few minutes, and it involves doing sensory activities so we can talk easier (I find with 4-5 year olds they can have better conversations if their hands are occupied). An hours long time-out is entirely developmentally innappropriate, while experimenting with words and their power IS entirely appropriate for your son.
I don't believe that going to bed an hour early is an extreme show of force, and I am calm parent, so I did not need a break. We communicate in our home quite well, and raised voices are rarely heard in our home. Time outs hardly occur and we they do, they never last longer than 4 minutes.

I don't understand why it is bad for me to share with other adults that I am tired of repeating myself and feel like a broken record. That is how I feel, not a sentiment that I expressed to my son.

I believe that violent words are just as serious as physical violence, and we will not tolerate either in our home or family. Violent expressions and violent behaviors are both punishable my law. Even if they were not, this type of behavior serves no use to a young child...or an adult.

I chose the punishment, because I know that DS knew that his words were inappropriate, and he wanted a reaction, similar to when he says pee, butt, or fart because he knows that those we don't use those words and that they are not allowed in our home.

Thank you for the suggestion to integrate sensory activities to conversation. I will make sure to use this approach!

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Old 05-07-2010, 02:44 PM
 
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Hmm, as a mom of 3 boys I have heard my share of wild tales. If you are concerned about this child, I would definitely talk to the teacher.

Sensational talk is very attractive, both because it receives a reaction and is taboo. I would help my child process what he heard and why he repeated it to help him gain power over it. Help him understand that because these words cause shock and awe, they are not the right way to gain attention, express feelings or have a conversation. Then give him examples of what to say.

They are 4 and will make LOTS of mistakes.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:00 PM
 
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My son is empathetic and altruistic, but also loves to engage in rough play. I don't understand it. My gentle loving boy who will wipe someones tears away and kiss their cheek loves to sword fight and pretend to shoot people, and prefers to play with similar people. DS thinks that the children who cry and whine, or cling to the teachers are babies.
He sounds like a normal little boy. He isn't a grown up, and he isn't a female. He's a little boy.

<< I then told DS that he was going to his room to bed as soon as we arrived home to think about his choices of conversation. No bath, no dinner with mom (dad was working), no stories, no songs. Just bed. I made a almond butter butter and jelly sandwich and poured him a cup of water and sent him to the room (ALONE) for the night. >>

I don't think that how you treated your very young child was in line with gentle discipline at all. I'm sure he got the message, but at what cost?

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 05-07-2010, 09:30 PM
 
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:00 PM
 
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I think having a skimpy dinner and being sent to bed an hour early without any kind of interaction with family is a very harsh punishment for telling you about a conversation he had with a friend. My mother was a hitter, but I don't remember much of that. I do remember the one time she sent me to bed early with only a bowl of cereal and I still think it was way to harsh. Your son trusted you to help him process something that he is working through and you shut him down and cut him out of the family life. That is a very hard thing to have to deal with as a child. Time out I could understand if it is a long term thing, but shutting him away from the family and removing your affection and comforting routines is not the same thing as a five minute time out.
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:16 PM
 
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Your son trusted you to help him process something that he is working through and you shut him down and cut him out of the family life. That is a very hard thing to have to deal with as a child. Time out I could understand if it is a long term thing, but shutting him away from the family and removing your affection and comforting routines is not the same thing as a five minute time out.


I'm still shaking my head at this thread.

I think you're being quite harsh on your son. He's a little boy. I'm not suggesting that all things typical of little boys are appropriate and should be allowed, but that such a strong reaction isn't warranted. I hate to see what the concequences will be for worse offenses in the future if he's being sent to bed without dinner or affection over some inappropriate talk that he heard at school.

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Old 05-08-2010, 01:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He sounds like a normal little boy. He isn't a grown up, and he isn't a female. He's a little boy.

<< I then told DS that he was going to his room to bed as soon as we arrived home to think about his choices of conversation. No bath, no dinner with mom (dad was working), no stories, no songs. Just bed. I made a almond butter butter and jelly sandwich and poured him a cup of water and sent him to the room (ALONE) for the night. >>

I don't think that how you treated your very young child was in line with gentle discipline at all. I'm sure he got the message, but at what cost?
I don't recall posting in the gentle discipline forum.

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Old 05-08-2010, 01:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think having a skimpy dinner and being sent to bed an hour early without any kind of interaction with family is a very harsh punishment for telling you about a conversation he had with a friend. My mother was a hitter, but I don't remember much of that. I do remember the one time she sent me to bed early with only a bowl of cereal and I still think it was way to harsh. Your son trusted you to help him process something that he is working through and you shut him down and cut him out of the family life. That is a very hard thing to have to deal with as a child. Time out I could understand if it is a long term thing, but shutting him away from the family and removing your affection and comforting routines is not the same thing as a five minute time out.
Skimpy dinner...... after Tex-Mex appetizers, one does not require much dinner. One night without a bath, dinner and bedtime stories will not force us into therapy. Maybe if I sent him kicking and screaming into the bedroom while yelling and swearing, but none of that occurred.

I would think that I know the difference between sensational behavior and the need for therapeutic conversation from my son.

Why should I wait and allow this behavior to become a "long term thing"? I would hate for my son to feel isolated and alone because other parents were hesitant to have him around their children because of his repeating what he learned from another child.

I don't remember writing that I withheld affection or sent him to be without hugs and kisses. Going to be alone does not imply that DS was treated with hostility or anger.

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Old 05-08-2010, 01:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm still shaking my head at this thread.

I think you're being quite harsh on your son. He's a little boy. I'm not suggesting that all things typical of little boys are appropriate and should be allowed, but that such a strong reaction isn't warranted. I hate to see what the concequences will be for worse offenses in the future if he's being sent to bed without dinner or affection over some inappropriate talk that he heard at school.
Interestingly enough, I can't think of too many offenses that would warrant swift attention. Rude, mean, petty behavior and violence are where I draw the line.

You are right, he is a little boy, and little boys should not speak of killing anything or cutting anything but paper.

If you are concerned, call CPS. I can forward you their #

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Old 05-08-2010, 02:07 AM
 
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You are right, he is a little boy, and little boys should not speak of killing anything or cutting anything but paper.
Why not?
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Old 05-08-2010, 02:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Why not?
It is brutal and inhumane. Life is sacred, and childhood is short. He has a lifetime to learn of the evils of the world. There is nothing wrong with choosing to foster and protect the innocence of a child.

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Old 05-08-2010, 02:22 AM
 
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It is brutal and inhumane. Life is sacred, and childhood is short. He has a lifetime to learn of the evils of the world. There is nothing wrong with choosing to foster and protect the innocence of a child.
Killing things is part of life. My DD1 is 3.5yo and knows about the concept. She knows that the meat she eat came from a live animal which was killed so that she and us could eat it.

The fact that he's talking about it, and I'm assuming you're talking about killing people, is that he doesn't understand it.

Forcing him to stop talking about it with you is the opposite of the point of attachment parenting. It's just going to drive him underground. Even mainstream parenting experts say to be open to helping your children talk through whatever they are struggling with.
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Old 05-08-2010, 02:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Killing things is part of life. My DD1 is 3.5yo and knows about the concept. She knows that the meat she eat came from a live animal which was killed so that she and us could eat it.

The fact that he's talking about it, and I'm assuming you're talking about killing people, is that he doesn't understand it.

Forcing him to stop talking about it with you is the opposite of the point of attachment parenting. It's just going to drive him underground. Even mainstream parenting experts say to be open to helping your children talk through whatever they are struggling with.
I don't have a problem with DS sharing what is on his mind, but I am concerned that he thinks that it is acceptable to integrate these situations into play and everyday life. We can talk all day about what is on his mind, but I will not allow him to pretend violent play. I have not turned a cold shoulder to my son, or forced him into silence.

If DS witnessed a violent incident or watched graphic shows on television that frightened him, I would respond differently to his behavior. I truly believe that my son is parroting the conversation of another child or children who were exposed to something that they shared at school.

Even though he is four, my son understands the concept of death, and after many conversations he knows that when people are killed they are dead.

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