Attitude change after starting school? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 07-28-2013, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
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DD1, mostly easy going kid, just started kindergarten last week, and since the first day she's become difficult to talk to and uncooperative. we didn't do preschool and i was on the fence to homeschool, but DH wouldn't agree to it. so we found this great school with half days. it's less then 4 hours a day m-thr and less than 3hrs on fri. she loves school, from what i can get out of her. She asks "is it time to leave yet?!" about 20 times before we go. She's great at school and haven't received any negative feed back from her teacher, just say's she's doing great and has received a "super star" everyday so far.


when i ask her about her day, she says, "mom, i don't want to talk to you about it." i've checked with her and she said she's making friends and no one is picking on her (okay, great, because i was picked on a lot as a kid). she's usually so good about helping clean up or playing with dd2 so i can get dishes done, but she's refusing to help with anything or even feed the dog; which has been her responsibility for over 2 years now. dd2 (14 months) is not an easy baby by any means and has a very intense personality, so i know they need time away from each other. So, I don't expect DD1 to play with DD2 all the time.


The other thing since school started is now she's miss independent. we're not helicopter parent's but i do enforce safety. she is refusing to hold my hand while crossing streets and in parking lots, is going on the computer without asking, turning on the TV when ever she wants with no outside play (which is required to get screen time in our house), and keeps saying how i never let her do anything. She's lost any kind of manners, just "mom get me a drink. I want a drink right now!" i make her ask over again nicely. grrr... It's like she's just being mean at times!


I talked to her about her attitude this morning, and she says she doesn't seem to realize she's doing it. Since we've talked, she seems more like her self. The only other thing i can think of that could be bothering her is our park ranger is moving out of country and she adores him, and knows she has to say her goodbye soon.


Is it an age thing? just a phase along with adjusting to school?


With 2 intense kids, it's getting out of hand. I just want to work on DH's days off so i don't have to deal with the kids all day, and i don't normally look forward to working.

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#2 of 9 Old 07-28-2013, 04:51 PM
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Funny my daughter is 3.5 and started at a montessori summer camp this year. She got all independent and sort of mouthy too when she first started. I took it to mean she was feeling more independent. Now about 2 months later I don't notice any difference. I don't remember how long it took though.
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#3 of 9 Old 07-28-2013, 05:31 PM
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It sounds like she might be testing out other children's behavior that she sees in school. Once my older started school, he came home with all kinds of new phrases and behaviors to test out at home. She also may be tired. Although she is in a half day program, it takes a lot of energy at first to adjust to being in a new place with so many new people...

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#4 of 9 Old 07-28-2013, 06:52 PM
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I think its probably just an adjustment phase and will take time. She is learning so much right now and my guess is that her energy is zapped. If I started a new job and had to learn all the new routines, schedules, people, etc I would be extra tired too.

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#5 of 9 Old 07-29-2013, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by autumnvt View Post

It sounds like she might be testing out other children's behavior that she sees in school. Once my older started school, he came home with all kinds of new phrases and behaviors to test out at home. She also may be tired. Although she is in a half day program, it takes a lot of energy at first to adjust to being in a new place with so many new people...

This....My girl went to BeGindergarden this last year and the same thing happened with her...I was so frustrated..And to be honest we are still dealing with certain behaviors even today...I have used this summer to try to get her back to the way she was and for the most part it has worked...Still dealing with the mouthy attitude though..The public school I sent her to had way overcrowded classrooms(31 kids in her class this last year) and children with severe needs with no help...I was in my childs classroom one day and watched a youngster scream because the loudspeaker was hurting his ears...he ran out of the classroom after knocking over his desk and several chairs..Teacher tried to hold him but he punched at her and ran out..she had to call the office for help..I loved L's teacher but I could see that she was overworked and overextended..Their budget just didn't allow for this Autistic child to have an Aide..And I could tell the teacher was frustrated trying to teach all these little children..I make the decision to move L this year to a private school where she will attend Kindergarden in a room with only 20 children..And teacher has an Aide...I normally wouldn't be able to afford this but this particular school offers scholarships and L got one..I know a lot of private schools have tuition assistance but don't advertise it..


If you are happy with her school I would just keep enforsing your own rules and ways at home..If you do hopefully she will eventually stop trying to test other childrens attitudes at home...Remember she is hearing this at school for severeal hours a day..And kids mimic to fit in the crowd...I know how frustrating it is and hope it gets better for you soon...

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#6 of 9 Old 08-01-2013, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for replying all! We have been getting better this week. Monday was a bit rocky but today and yesterday she was great after school. It is a lot of adjusting for her. DH and I have pulled back on the questions of "what did you do at school?...." and letting her talk about what/when she wants to, not right wen she gets into the car. She even asked me to come into her classroom to help out today! which she was telling me she didn't want me to help out a few days ago.

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#7 of 9 Old 08-02-2013, 09:38 AM
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I was going to suggest stop asking :)  My kids never have an answer more than "fine" if I ask them how school was until hours later.  I think at the end of the day they are still processing their day, sorting through what happened all day and they are TIRED.  K takes a lot out of them.  It was funny when dd started school because the girl LOVES to argue, black is white, all day long.  But school took all that fight out of her.

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#8 of 9 Old 08-02-2013, 01:31 PM
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also remember you will see this same behaviour for a number of years at the start of school. it is part of the change - usually from K to maybe 3rd grade. 


also another thing. this is also a huge learning curve for you. its time to change your parenting. its the age thing too of asserting independence. we all want the best for our kids - but sometimes our own fear holds our kids back. 


so the thing about holding hands when crossing the road. here is how i have handled that. i would let dd do it, but will lots of rules and boundaries i'd set her. if she followed them then she could cross without holding hands in a safe manner then your child is growing up. 


you have to understand for her its like going for your first job as a teen. she wants some autonomy. what i did was give dd lots of responsibility so she wouldnt feel like asserting in other areas. i mean real responsibilities so she actually felt like she was contributing to our family. like doing every aspect of laundry except folding coz she hates that. i'd let her go to a specific grocery isle and pick up what i need. so we'd split the shopping list. when you give her independent stuff like that to do then they dont go so much straight to the tv or computer. 


however tv and computer she could be independent too. you could define the times. choose what shows she wants to watch and let her turn the tv on at the right time. set a time on the computer so she doesnt always have to ask you. 


adjusting these little things in parenting go a huge way in helping our children feel proud of themselves, that they CAN acheive things. cleaning their room is so boring. but helping mama with a chore that contributes to the family is much more interesting. gosh at 5 dd was so proud of herself that i would no longer mop the kitchen floor because she did it (of course that meant we had to get different kinds of mops that she wanted to try out :) was a lot of fun i have to say). 

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#9 of 9 Old 08-10-2013, 10:42 AM
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I learned about this same behavior each time my daughter did a stretch in preschool. She is the same age as yours. It is universal; neither she or you has gone astray. It repeats anytime she begins a new kid program, so I now anticipate it. To be specific: I clear our calendar of obligations, even fun ones, for a month. I say no to all playdates for a month. I reduce my expectations of her at home - lightening up on eat-your-broccoli/read-to-your-brother type normal expectations. I feed her a large heavy breakfast and watch with a microscope what she ate (or didn't) at school to make sure food is plentiful. I am rigid about 7:30 bedtime. I am extra firm about long-held rules like brushing teeth, no snacks in living room, etc. (it somehow helps). When she gets home, I pull out a basket of fresh library books and let her be alone mulling them over for an hour. I give her water work of some kind or an extra long bath. On weekends, I get her to a pool or farm or beach to work out her complicated week, and I have a firm rest time after lunch in bed in a dim room with books to look at so she falls asleep.

The social complexities of group settings are draining.

Finding out about your kid's day is a fine, fine art. I've evolved my strategy: I drive to get her, take the long way home, and casually after a few blocks ask 'what games did you play at recess today?' or 'what did Kid X have for lunch today?' or 'what song did you sing/book was read?'. Eventually the cork gets dislodged after a couple mild questions and she'll start to ramble and I'll just listen very quietly. Something about the car - no face-to-face, calm - makes this conversation flow. If she flips out and doesn't want to talk at my question, I know something occurred and I bring it up at bedtime - 'I feel like you seem a little squished today, tell me if about the part of school that was hard today'.

About holding hands, I get that exact thing. And I choose to tell her she is getting big, but there are some rules that we are going to keep following, and this is one. And I had to be a bear about it a couple times.

Make sure she's pooing too! Many kids dodge it at school. I specifically coach my daughter before we arrive to make a point of visualizing herself stopping her play, walking to the potty, and going poo before lunch. Food and poo, two things there is often not enough of in a kindergartner's day!

So voila. Without preschool, you're getting all the lessons right now! You're both normal, honor the heavy lifting she's succeeding at, and in about two months it will stabilize. If she's still a wreck by December, there is a kid, a teacher, or an activity that is really not working for her and you need to turn on your full antenna. But sounds like all is well!
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