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Old 09-01-2013, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My eldest son who is 5.5yrs old seems to be having trouble at school, he loves it there but his teacher pulled me aside this morning and asked if he was ok, she said on friday last week he had gotten really frustrated with another child and pretended to hit him, thankfully he didnt but she removed him from the class to calm down. He doesnt seem to have any friends, he's been there 7months and its a wonderful school. But socially things are getting him down. At this point I think he is upset his efforts to befriend and play with other children are being shot down and i think its where his frustration stems from. He is a happy loveable kid who is well mannered and kind, the other kids just seem to be very cliquey and hes quite sensitive and wont play some of the nasty games they get involved in. I was so upset this morning after chatting with his teacher, to then see him wondering around all alone. And now I just dont know what to do or what to think?

Any advice?

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Old 09-01-2013, 08:26 PM
 
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It's heartbreaking to see your child left out of groups of other children. I can empathize. :Hug

 

You may want to talk to the teacher as she sees him in the context of the group and may have some insight as to why things are not working well.

 

I did have a concern: you said the other children played "nasty games" and he.... didn't join or was it that he wasn't allowed to join?  What kind of "nasty games" do the children play?

 

If these games are inappropriate (things like sex games or racial slurs being used or games that intentionally leave out children to hurt them) then I would certainly talk to the teacher again about this.

 

On the other hand, many children, boys and girls, often will play games that seem odd to adults to help them work out tension and anxiety. Games that include "putting people in jail" (kids are just learning ethics and many see these games as helpful) games where some of the children play "bad guys" or those that include a lot of "cops and robbers" type activity are often normal in large groups of children. I found that when I tried to censor the games my children played because of things, just by mentioning that I wasn't fond of these types of games,  like this, it did not go well for my children. I also had to learn to not talk about other children in my children's class or the neighborhood, as my child might accidentally think there was something wrong with these kids and it would cause problems with my child getting to know otherwise very nice children.

 

Also, I had to learn to be careful what I said about the kids in my child's school and neighborhood. I never wanted my prejudices to interfere with the friends my children wanted to make.  (and we all have some prejudices, most are not related to race or religion, but often to the way people dress, the way they raise their children, dress their children or even things like whether they recycle or not can cause some parents to speak critically about other people and children are often listening and may act on a random comment like, "Mrs. S is throwing out all those pop cans again. I can't imagine how much sugar and sweeteners her children eat!" could be seen by a small impressionable child as an outright indictment of the entire family and cause the child to perhaps treat the children in this family in a way that we never intended him or her to do.

 

Maybe you could also talk to your son about why he thinks the social aspect of school isn't working out well. Often children have surprising insights that are accurate and to the point. Children are very perceptive little people and asking them what they think about these kinds of situations could be the key to the problem.

 

I hope things improve for your child.


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Old 09-01-2013, 08:39 PM
 
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Did he have friends before he got to this school or has he always struggled? Some children have a harder time making friends. There are delicate social skills, such as learning how to join in play, or how to initiate a conversation, that just come harder to some. Children with any impulsive behavior can also be rejected by their peers.

 

Still it is painful to watch! :Hug


 
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To top today's worries off while waiting for ds after school, everyone was talking about a birthday party of a boy in ds's class, lots of kids are going but ds hasnt been invited, which is absolutely fine except one of the mums whose daughter is going has expressed her daughter doesnt even know the boy so was surprised to be invited.

 

Ds has never really had trouble making friends in the past, when at kindy he always had plenty of kids to play with. School has been a completely different kettle of fish, thankfully one of my closest friends daughters is in his class and they get along really well, but as most 5yr old girls at school she is more interested in playing with the other girls at recess.

Lauren I really think your right, i think a lot of it has to do with being unsure of how to initiate conversation and play with someone of the same age. I have noticed all the kids he tries to befriend are very materialistic and only allow you to be part of the "group" if you have particular things. Its so upsetting, these children are 5yrs old.

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Old 09-01-2013, 09:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DanielleNZ View Post
 

I have noticed all the kids he tries to befriend are very materialistic and only allow you to be part of the "group" if you have particular things. Its so upsetting, these children are 5yrs old.

 

I think you may be reading warped values (materialism) into something that's more about building social bridges. Kids use playthings as indicators of commonality and starting points for social interactions. The "things" could be as simple as marbles (whenI was little) or jacks (when my dad was little) or slingshots (when my grandpa was little) but they've always been a part of schoolyard play. When kids get a little older they often use their interest in TV shows or novel series in the same way -- though this requires a bit of exploratory conversation to discover the common interests, so it's a more sophisticated approach. With younger kids it's the visual articles that are a way of scaffolding social interactions. Instead of talking about sophisticated things like ideas, experiences and feelings and finding commonality there, kids find commonality through their playthings and possessions. 

 

If you have a kid who is struggling with social approach skills, much though it pains you it might be worth finding him one or two of those articles of commonality, whatever they are these days. I'm sorry to hear that he's struggling. Hope things start to turn around. I would suggest role-playing social approach skills with him to give him more skills and confidence.

 

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Old 09-01-2013, 11:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really appciate your reply Miranda, your certainly right I hadn't thought that they were using these play things as ways to bridge their communication barriers. I guess I am also struggling with the fact that once your child enters mainstream education the option to "vet" their social interactions becomes limited. I intend to find care for my youngest son and head into school and help out in his class for the morning and see first hand what we really have on our hands. In terms of these possessions I can't keep up with what the other kids are "into" it changes so frequently. Ds loves to build Lego, read and draw. Other things I've seen at school are these odd plastic trash pack things, beyblades. Ds also has the tendency to loose things... Ah well I guess caring for those kinds of things could become more of a priority if they are the in thing with his buddies.
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Old 09-02-2013, 01:40 AM
 
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*sigh* i have an almost 11 year old in middle school.

 

we have gotten those very beyblades that dd's friends were into. what you need to do depends totally on how your son views life.

 

for my dd she was tired of being the odd one out. she tried her best to fit in. so i bought her a few things just to find that commonality with kids. but it was her protest that pulled me out of 'that is crap' place.

 

i discovered there are a few 'crap' things dd wanted to discover their 'crap quality' for herself. 

 

i think its fantastic that you will be able to volunteer in the class. THAT is key. 

 

but honestly if you have a child like mine who doesnt make friends that easily (and yet is very social) she didnt really make very good friends till 5th grade. 

 

the thing that concerns me is his rage. almost hitting another child. do you know the details? was the child teasing him? was he irritating him when he asked him to stop? what exactly is going on there? 

 

what is going on in school that is making your son angry? boredom? lots of free time? or the opposite?


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Old 09-02-2013, 01:49 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
 

If you have a kid who is struggling with social approach skills, much though it pains you it might be worth finding him one or two of those articles of commonality, whatever they are these days. I'm sorry to hear that he's struggling. Hope things start to turn around. I would suggest role-playing social approach skills with him to give him more skills and confidence.

 

yes. What Miranda said above.

 

My boy isn't naturally gifted when it comes to making friends too. Part of it is the awkwardness and part of it is also that he, for the most part, prefers to play by himself.

School starts  in August around here and it wasn't til February or March of his kindergarten year did he make a friend. Now these 2 boys are really close and have been in the same class for 3 years but even now (they're in 2nd grade now), my boy prefers to play by himself half the time.

 

What really helped with him moving around and playing with other boys is what Miranda mentioned above... finding commonality. Prior to kindergarten, he really wasn't exposed much to the typical things kids were into. As the years progressed I take one or two things of the current kid climate that I find acceptable and introduce that in our home. This year it's Skylanders. It's a video game. Even though it is still used sparingly and not as often as some other kids may be playing, it serves as a jump off point.

 

Albeit it's easier for us because toys are not allowed to be brought to school so there's none of that who's got the cool toy at the moment going on. But they can still play pretend skylanders or something in the playground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Old 09-02-2013, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Meemee - I have spoken with his teacher again, definitely no rage and it was him pretending to hit the other child she didn't like, she also said she could tell he was tired and frustrated and forcing him to play in pairs with a very bossy child probably wasn't the best for Friday afternoon. He is also under the weather which can't have helped.
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:33 PM
 
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Can the teacher try to pair him with a boy that she thinks would work out better? Sometimes teachers are willing to facilitate connections a little bit more. It's a bit of work for them, but makes their job easier down the road. You also could invite a boy over --whomever your son would most like to get to know. Getting to know each other outside class usually helps get 'something' going!


 
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:21 PM
 
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aaah that's good news that there is an explanation. even the teacher realises that. THAT is even better news. 


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Old 09-02-2013, 09:54 PM
 
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My DD had a hard time relating to kids in the school setting for a long time. She had occasional friends that constantly changed and played alone a lot until the second half of second grade when she met a friend who was very similar in temperament, loved books, and was also a talker. She had a lot of friends outside of school, in every extracurricular activity we did, and in every new setting we went to she would make a friend but school was just different. I think it is mostly because school friendships get very dramatic, like sibling relationships in a way, and she didn't have any clue how to go about solving a problem with an irrational child. She is going into fifth grade this year and the relationships are much easier now because a lot of conflict is talked out at this age.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And the story deepens.... Ds was given a warning yesterday afternoon that he would be sent to another class if he didnt stop blowing raspberries. My friends daughter told me and I had to ask ds about it as he hadnt mentioned it, he said hes bored, something i hadnt thought about, he has now come home for the past 5 nights with the same reading book because the teacher "hasnt had time" to sort him a new one. This seems to be a multi faceted issue. The teacher is very young, in her first job out of university and started a few months ago when ds's teacher went on maternity leave 6months in to the year. We also have a fair bit going on at home, we've just moved house, im 35wks pregnant and my husband works insanely long hours 6days a week. gahhhhhh life! Slow down! 

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Old 09-03-2013, 01:32 AM
 
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And the story deepens.... Ds was given a warning yesterday afternoon that he would be sent to another class if he didnt stop blowing raspberries. My friends daughter told me and I had to ask ds about it as he hadnt mentioned it, he said hes bored, something i hadnt thought about, he has now come home for the past 5 nights with the same reading book because the teacher "hasnt had time" to sort him a new one. This seems to be a multi faceted issue. The teacher is very young, in her first job out of university and started a few months ago when ds's teacher went on maternity leave 6months in to the year. We also have a fair bit going on at home, we've just moved house, im 35wks pregnant and my husband works insanely long hours 6days a week. gahhhhhh life! Slow down! 

In the wrong place at the wrong time. A lot of upheavals in his life all at one time may be making it more difficult than normal. It does not seem like that class is a good fit for your son. A move to another class may be a blessing. Or another school, to give him a fresh start. If he is being ostracized by the other kids then he needs to get out before he decides that something is wrong with him and he deserves it. If you don't have the very strong backing of the teacher and some of the parents, then it is a lot harder (impossible) to change the whole class to accept your child, than it is to find a safer, better environment for your child. I would say stay if you had a more experienced teacher who was really working on the issue and you saw results. And if you could talk to several parents and arrange play dates with your child and theirs after school. Doing this a few times will get him into the groups. 

 

It seems to me that this is not happening, so a switch may be what is needed.

 

In both of my kids schools, if one child is left out, sometimes the adults intervene and get another one or two kids to invite that child into play. This helps develop friendships. Also at that age there is no way our schools allow you to be clique about birthdays. Either all boys, all girls or whole class. OK, it isn't technically the school, technically it is the parents group, but you can bet that the school backs them up. What kind of parents only invite some kids when they are so young?

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Old 09-03-2013, 03:10 AM
 
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the birthdays thing is actually a real bugbear of mine. I think you invite the class, or all boys/girls, or you do something very small with one or two friends. What you don't do is end up excluding a few kids. I actually am strict enough about this that we don't do parties unless they are prepared to invite everyone, or else treat it as an enhanced playdate and not call it a party. 

 

I think its very hard. My kids are now actually homeschooled but you can have similar issues in that community. My kids tend not to get on especially well with certain hs groups because, tbh, they are cliquey. Its not the end of the world and they do have friends who go, but we are talking hser that are quite actively excluding newcomers from quite young kids (say 5 or so) and parents not having any problems with that-seeing as a sign of the strength of the group even.  tbh doesn't mesh too well with my parenting style and I'm not really keen to expose my kids to this side of our community.For all their faults, my kids are not cliquey and I don't want them to become so. The thing is my kids do enough outside HS circles and have enough friends within HS that I know that they don't struggle to make friends, keep friends, significantly struggle in groups etc. They are not perfect but they are not socially unusually poor or anything, its just that these groups, with their strong, existing friendships and an unwillingness to welcome newcomers, are really just too much work in some ways. So what I've effectively done is to take them out of the situation. I don't think it serves to teach them too much. I'd persist if it were our only option but its not. 

 

So what I'm saying is, if you can be confident that its not your kid but a bad match with the kids in school, I would consider moving him. It doesn't really sound like a situation where he's getting to learn about interaction because he's not being interacted with. I think boys in particular can struggle because they do hit more often and then they get intro trouble, and we don't always look for deeper reasons if someone has hit someone else, so nothing really gets resolved.

 

OTOH if you think there is a chance its him, I'd try working on that first. Have you tried encouraging him to make one friend? And then doing the stuff you're meant to do-smiling, asking how they are, making sure he knows their name (my ds used to be terrible for this.). Actually with my son, when he was about 8, I printed out a set of 5 things to remember to do when he was with people he wanted to make friends with and that really helped. Also rehearsing questions to ask. 

 

Re the stuff buying. Ok I have to be honest here, I've always been very anti buying stuff, especially to help a kid be accepted. And I have noticed that over the years, there have been times that this has made their life a bit harder. I've pushed them to try to be accepted without stuff. Its the control and ownership of stuff in a group situation that I take issue with. Thinking on it, its only been an issue for my son, never my daughters. OTOH, what I have allowed is more access to media than I'd like. The kids do watch Dr Who (not all episodes for the youngest), and the older ones have seen Star Wars and Star Trek so on and that helps a lot. I will buy them branded stuff to a small extent, if the price differential is small, eg a Tardis bag (Dr Who really is massive here) or a Toy Story or Star Wars wallet. They get the comics. Having that interest, but also ways to signal that interest, helps a lot now they are slightly older.

 

I am assuming you have tried both talking to the teacher about buddying him up with someone? Do you know any of the parents in the class? Might you be able to explain to them that your son is struggling, he doesn't know the kids, and ask for help to ease him in?


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Old 09-03-2013, 05:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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After today finding out that he was again having another issue, and talking to another mom, I think part of it could be the teacher, she's been thrown in the deep end, she's coming in after a teacher who had been at the school 8yrs who ran a very tight ship and now they class is sort of just getting by on the bare minimum, my son thrives on structure and from what I've seen lately he's not getting that from her. The class is a new entrant class but is made up of children who started late in the piece last year, many of whom formed tight knit groups then.
I am at a bit of loss still about how to move forward, I of course will try and support him as much as humanly possible, there are only three weeks until we break for a fortnights holiday at which point I'll be giving birth which potentially opens a whole other can of worms but it also allows my husband the fortnight off work. I think ds needs some down time, some time to settle with the new house and the baby. I want to try and schedule a parent teacher meeting too though, how I go about that is a different story as I am basically critiquing this new teacher for not giving my son what he needs & quietly wishing his old teacher was still here as he adored her & didn't have a single issue while she was leading his education.

Complicated much!
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